Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has called on religious organisations in the country to lead the fight against environmental degradation in support of the government’s efforts to improve livelihoods.
He said environmental degradation mostly depleted and deteriorated natural resources, which were sources of livelihood to the poor in society, thereby exacerbating their woes.
“The nexus between poverty and environmental degradation could best be described as a cycle. The poor tend to rely more directly on natural resources for their livelihood and so the depletion and deterioration of these resources further exacerbate the woes of the poor,” he stated.
Addressing the 9th Biennial Supreme Subordinate Convention in Accra yesterday, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said that environmental protection and management was the collective responsibility of the whole populace and not only the government and public institutions.
Organised by the Knights of St. John International and Ladies’ Auxiliary (KSJI), a fraternal organisation of the Catholic Church, the convention was on the theme “Our Environment, Our Heritage- The Role of Civil Society in its Preservation.”
The minister called on both state and non-state actors to take concrete steps toward making the planet greener and cleaner and focusing on nature to eradicate poverty.
He said the government was implementing climate change programmes to promote renewable energy, lower deforestation, support the adoption of clean cooking and clean electricity supply.
Additionally, he stated that the government had invested about US$20 million in the dry savannah areas to provide water to vulnerable farmers in the long dry season, input supply and promoting of the adoption of sustainable land technologies for rural farmers.
Among other things, Prof Boateng added that through the Sustainable Water and Land Management and the Adaptation Fund projects, women were being supported in improved livelihood activities such as shea nut processing and bee keeping and the protection and management of land.
Major General James B. Dasah, Supreme Subordinate Commandery President, KSJI, urged the authorities to take drastic measures against individuals who engaged in environmental degradation to deter others from doing so.
He said recent incidence of floods, droughts, water, air and environmental pollution showed that our actions and inactions could negatively affect the environment saying that it was the responsibility of all persons to care for and protect it.
One major concern of the group, Maj Gen Dasah said, was growing incidence of insecurity in the country and the sub-region at large and condemned recent cases of kidnappings.
He called on the government and the security agencies to do their utmost to ensure the safety of every citizen, adding that although they were steps were being taken to bring the situation under control, more could be done to curtail the menace.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS and DOROTHY BROCKE