Ghana will require $7 billion in the next two decades to implement the 20-year Forestry Sector Master Plan aimed at halting the country’s dwindling forest resources.
The Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper who disclosed this in a speech read on his behalf, at the Environment and Natural Resource Sector Review Summit in Accra appealed to the private sector and development partners to help raise resources to implement the plan.
The summit attended by representatives from civil society organisations, development partners and officials from the Ministries, Department and Agencies was on the theme, ‘A retrospective view of the environment and natural resources: Lessons learnt and way forward.”
Mr Terkper said the Forestry Master Plan formed part of policies and programmes to revamp the forestry sector to contribute to the country’s development.
He said the government over the past years had demonstrated its commitment towards taking practical steps to ensure issues of the environment and natural resources were mainstreamed as part of the budget process and national economy.
“To this effect, the Ministry of Finance has through budget guidelines directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to include environment and climate change issues as part of their budget,” he said.
He said the passage of the Mineral Development Fund Act (Act, 912), was geared towards making the natural sector achieve its objectives.
Mr Terkper said the livelihood of the citizens and the Ghanaian economy depended on natural resources and efforts must be made to preserve the environment.
The minister hinted that the government was developing a framework to properly account for the country’s natural resources to the Gross Domestic Product.
The Minster of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mahama Ayariga in a speech read on his behalf said the review summit was very important.
He said the summit would provide opportunity to review the progress and challenges in promoting environmental sustainability, and also develop strategies for the incoming year.
Paolo Dalla Stella, the Programme Specialist for Sustainable Development of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) who spoke on behalf of the development partners lauded the government for organising the summit.
He said the country was making strides in promoting the environment to protect the country’s resources and the lives of the citizens, but however, the country had not done enough to deal with galamsey and the illegal mining menace.
Mr Edward Prah, the Board Chairman of the Forestry Commission, who chaired the programme, called on the participants to move from talk to action in order to save the environment.
He said the country’s environment was being depleted and concrete actions should be taken to address the challenge.
By Kingsley Asare