A 21-member delegation from the Liberia Forestry Development Authority (FDA) is in the country to under study Ghana’s Forestry Commission (FC) management of forest resources.
As part of their 10-day stay in the country, the delegation would learn the Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) mechanism implemented by the Commission for sustainable forest resources in the forest communities.
The CREMA is a mechanism that involves the community to participate in the management of resources in protected areas of the forest resource to inure to their benefit.
Ms Comfort Tweh-Sakui, Manager, Management Awareness and Ecotourism of the FDA, said they were in Ghana to learn from the success story of Ghana’s FC CREMA sites, get their community members around their country’s parks and the unprotected areas and learn best practices in communities managing their own forest resources.
Ms Tweh-Sakui noted that in the past, they did not involve communities in forest management, saying that “after the reform, we decided to include communities to manage their own forest so that they would be able to fend for themselves.”
She explained that they had been struggling to achieve the reforms, and seeing Ghana has succeeded in their community forestry, the FDA decided to bring the community members from their national parks and the protected areas to learn new things in Ghana.
Mr John Allotey, Deputy Chief Executive of the Commission, in his remarks said the CREMA mechanism was designed based on extensive consultations with local communities, traditional authorities, civil society groups and local government authorities and other allies in the Southern and Eastern African Regions.
He indicated that the aim was to strengthen public participation in efforts to stem the declining trend in wildlife and their habitats in particular, allowing for the sustainable production of bush meat and generating other natural resource-based livelihoods options.
These according to him, would provide greater food security, reduce poverty and ensure that it forged a balance between natural resource conservation and sustainable livelihoods in the CREMA sites.
Mr Allotey said the mechanism was a collaborative natural resources management system that involved natural resources governance and management responsibility and gave authority to the constituent communities that agreed to contribute their land to the CREMA.
He said Ghana currently features in excess of 40 CREMAs located within over 26 districts in 13 administrative regions for which 30 of them had received their final certificate of devolution from the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources.
The Board Chairman of the Commission, Brigadier General, (Rtd), Joseph Odei, stated that the mechanism was an innovative natural resource governance and landscape level planning tool that authorises communities to manage their natural resources for economic and livelihood benefits.
He assured the Liberian forestry official delegation that the Forestry Commission of Ghana was always willing to collaborate with them in areas that would make it possible for them to adopt the concept and reap numerous benefits in their natural resource conservation efforts in Liberia.
Before their departure, the delegation would visit the Kakum National Park in the Central Region and the Bia Forest Reserve in the Western North Region.
BY SETH ADU AGYEI