The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, has expressed the commitment of the government towards restoring the country’s eco-systems that had been altered particularly by illegal mining.
“The very land that was heavily degraded is now being restored by various land restoration projects across the nation,” he indicated.
Dr Afriyie said this in an address read on his behalf, at the observation of this year’s World Biosphere Day and the 3rd Man and Biosphere (MAB) forum at Cape Coast yesterday.
It was organised by the Environmental Protection Agency in collaboration with the Africa Centre of Excellence in Coastal Resilience of the University of Cape Coast (UCC).
The theme for this year’s celebration was: “Biosphere reserves and ecosystem restoration-blue economy to the rescue”
Biosphere Reserves are internationally recognised and set up to sustainably use and conserve the biological diversity of an area, as well as improve the relationship between people and their environment through community education and ecosystem restoration.
Ghana is host to three biosphere reserves namely; Bia Biosphere Reserve, SongorRamsar Site and Biosphere Reserve and Lake Bosomtwe Biosphere Reserve.
Dr Afriyie indicated the importance of biosphere reserves in the conservation of natural resources and attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We therefore believe that proclaiming November 3 each year as the International Day for Biosphere Reserve would further serve as outreach and awareness raising activities relating to biodiversity, nature, wildlife, and sustainable development,” he said.
He, therefore, expressed the commitment of the Ministry towards the adoption of policies and programmes that would reinforce the need to care for the environment.
That, the Minister explained, would contribute towards meeting global challenges and climate, as well as health and environmental objectives that were the subject of numerous policies and agreements at the international levels.
The Executive Director of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, in an address, explained that Ghana contributes three out of 738 biosphere reserves in the 134 countries under the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
He indicated that the country had consistently supported activities aimed at protecting biosphere reserves.
He urged Ghanaians to renew their commitment towards supporting efforts being made for the country to achieve targets set with the SGGs, saying, and “We urge all.”
In his remarks, the Paramount Chief of the Oguaa Traditional Area, OsaberimaKwesi Atta II, underscored the importance of natural resources in terms of human survival.
He, however said, climate change coupled with illicit human activities such as overfishing, sand winning, reclamation of wetlands and other activities had resulted in the deterioration of the coast and its resources.
In an address read on her behalf, the Central Regional Minister, Mrs Justina Marigold Assan noted that the environment was seriously under threat due to activities of people in exploiting resources for personal and economic gains.
She however appealed to Ghanaians to support efforts being made by stakeholders to protect the resources as part of the SDGs.
FROM DAVID O. YARBOI-TETTEH, CAPE COAST