The President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the fight against deforestation and forest degradation is critical to Ghana's successes of tackling Climate Change.
With Climate Change being, perhaps, the biggest threat to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, President Akufo-Addo noted that it is fast becoming a developmental issue of grave concern to most leaders across the world.
It is for this reason, the President added that signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have initiated the process of reducing considerably greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and also encourage tree planting.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, 19th October, 2017, when he delivered the keynote address at the 2nd National REDD+ Forum, on the theme "Strengthening Law Enforcement for Effective REDD+ Implementation."
The President reiterated the commitment of his government towards every action that prevents forest degradation and deforestation, and also increases the country's forest cover.
"Our fight against the illegal mining phenomenon, also known as galamsey, is a case in point. In the 2016 Manifesto of my party, the New Patriotic Party, we indicated strongly our commitment to reforestation, forest rehabilitation and forest protection activities, realizing that forest cover has been depleted significantly in the last two decades," President Akufo-Addo said.
He continued, "We intend to undertake massive forest plantations, with both indigenous and exotic tree species, and also develop the bamboo and rattan industry, as they would serve as effective substitutes for furniture and other wood products."
President Akufo-Addo urged farmers and local communities not to allow illegal logging and mining to continue, and charged Security agencies on the roads, ports and borders not look on unconcerned and allow illegal timber products just to pass without confiscation or with corrupt purpose.
"Most importantly, the Forestry Commission should strengthen its law enforcement measures to curb illegal logging, mining and unsustainable harvesting of forest products. To our students gathered here, I urge you to inculcate the habit of tree planting and conservation. As you do this, you begin to build a generation that is more sensitive to issues of environmental conservation," he added.
To media houses and other civil society actors, the President noted that "your work on advocacy is critical to keep all of us on our toes. Do not relent in your efforts, and deepen even further your knowledge on environmental issues and their reporting."
President Akufo-Addo urged the Chief Justice and members of the Judiciary, to ensure that the fines and punishments that are pronounced on perpetrators of illegal forest activities are deterrent enough, and quickly delivered and effected.
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, said illegal mining known as galamsey has contributed immensely to the destruction of the country's forest and the pollution of its waters.
He added that it has been established recently that dementia, health problem, which is on the increase in the country is as a result of mercury intake by affected persons who invariably uses this polluted waters caused by the illegal "galamseyers".
Under the able leadership of President Akufo-Addo, Hon Amewu said, government was determined to make illegal mining a "thing of the past through the implementation of multi-lateral mining policies and strategies to curb the situation.
The Chief Justice, her ladyship Sophia Akuffo, asserted that her outfit will ensure speedy trial of culprit who breaks the law in the act of deforestation to serve as a deterrent for would-be law breakers.
The forum, which was organised by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission was under the theme; strengthening Law Enforcement for Effective REDD+Implementation.
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)