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HomeAgricultureGhanaians must derive maximum benefit from our Natural Resources -Settle Ghana CEO

Ghanaians must derive maximum benefit from our Natural Resources -Settle Ghana CEO

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The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Settle Ghana, Mr Abu Karimu has stated that, while Government sees Billions of Dollars in the country’s natural resources, the Indigenous People see them as ecological treasure and a sociocultural identity critical for future generations .

“So, it is only fair to find a balance between exploitation for development as advanced by the Government and preservation of these resources as espoused by the Indigenous Communities”.

Settle Ghana says, they have objectively conducted a survey for the past one month to ascertain from the Indigenous People in Ghana, especially those in communities located around forest reserves their position in respect of mining in forest reserves.

“As a result, the Organization can conclusively submit that the Indigenous People strongly oppose any form of mining in forest reserves in Ghana. As an organization that advances, protects and advocates for the rights of the Indigenous People in Ghana, we deem it an obligation to stand by and amplify this position of the indigenous communities”.

Settle Ghana unreservedly, has stated their opposition to the implementation of the L.I. 2462 and the mining in forest reserves.

The statement streesed that, Ghana has an obligation to preserve its forest cover since the current statistics points to a very dire situation.

“The statistics has it that within two-decades (between 2001 and 2022), Ghana has lost about 1.53 Mha of its tree cover, which is equivalent to 22% decrease in the tree cover. During this same period, the country has lost about 130 Kha of her humid primary forest reserve, representing a decrease of about 12% of her humid forest reserve. As a consequence, there is an increase in the emission of about 843 mt of Carbon dioxide, which has a negative impact on the environment”.
According to Settle Ghana, the Government, Civil Society Organizations, the Traditional Authorities and all key stakeholders within the environmental space have respective obligations to ensure the preservation of Ghana’s natural resources, especially the country’s forest cover.

Below is the full statement:

PRESS RELEASE

SETTLE GHANA’S POSITION ON THE MINING IN FOREST RESERVES AS ENVISAGED

BY L.I. 2462

Settle Ghana has objectively conducted a survey for the past one month to ascertain from the Indigenous People in Ghana, especially those in communities located around forest reserves, on their position in respect of mining in forest reserves. As a result, the Organization can conclusively submit that the Indigenous People strongly oppose any form of mining in forest reserves in Ghana. As an organization that advances, protects and advocates for the rights of the Indigenous People in Ghana, we deem it an obligation to stand by and amplify this position of the indigenous communities.

We have observed that in November 2022, the Government of Ghana passed the Environmental Protection (Mining in Forest Reserves) Regulations, L.I. 2462, with which the President is further empowered to give written approval to Mining Companies to have unfettered access to Ghana’s forest reserves to engage in mining activities. Subsequent to this, there is an emerging development where a company by name High Street is alleged to have been granted a mining lease to mine in the Kakum National Park. Settle Ghana honestly believes the coming into force of this L.I. and its subsequent implementation will go a long way to compromise the ecological integrity of Ghana’s forest cover and Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas (BSBAs).

In furtherance, the regulation in its current form stands inconsistent with some existing legislation, specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency Act, which frowns against mining in forest reserves. It is worthy to recognize that Ghana is a signatory to some climate change international agreements, including the Global Biodiversity Framework Agreement, and by signing these agreements, Ghana is obliged to remain committed to discourage any such activities that endanger the environment and the biodiversity. So, the implementation of the L.I.2462 will imply that Ghana is reneging on her obligations within the context of these International Agreements.

Already, Ghana is fast losing her enviable position as the African Tropical Country with a pristine forest inventory of about 283 forest reserves. This is partly due to the spate of devastation done our forest cover and water bodies as a result of activities of illegal mining, illegal logging, indiscriminate bushfires, commercial charcoal burning, among others. It is instructive to note that about 8 forest reserves have currently been let to various mining companies for mining purposes.

Some of these reserves include:

1. Draw Forest Reserve; established in 1937, covers 235km2 and located in Banso in the Western Region of Ghana.

2. Neung South Forest Reserve; established in 1954, covers 131.72km2 and located in Chamso and Berinukrom in the Western region of Ghana

3. Boin Tano Forest Reserve; established in 1968, covers 129km2 and located in Aowin/Suaman in the Western region of Ghana.

4. Mamiri Forest Reserve; established in 1949, covers 45km2 and located in Pensamon in the Western region of Ghana.

Nkrabea Forest Reserve; located in Yensia and Mensa in the Adansi South District of the Ashanti region of Ghana.

6. Anwhiaso Forest Reserve; located in Ankwaoso Nyamibechire and Mpasem in the Western Region of Ghana.

7. Tano-Offin Forest Reserve; falls within the Atwima District of the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

Indeed, the increasing opposition of the indigenous people in various forms against the mining of lithium and attempt to mine in the Kakum National Park is an attestation to the lack of extensive consultation with the people especially, as it relates to the exploitation of mineral resources in their respective communities. This is why Settle Ghana maintains its call for the Government to make FPIC a national law so that the indigenous people will have an option to give or withhold consent to the exploitation of natural resources. If adopted a national law, FPIC will encourage and expand the scope of participation of the Indigenous People in decision-making as they relate of exploitation of natural resources.

The Government of Ghana has recently signed the first ever Lithium Lease Agreement with Lithium Athlantic, an Australian Firm for mining of Lithium at Ewoyaa in the Central Region of Ghana. This hands Ghana a paltry 13% of the stake while the Foreign Company takes home the remaining percentage. This has outraged the chiefs and people of this area. Settle Ghana joins the Indigenous People and the well-meaning Ghanaians to oppose this deal since in the opinion of the Organization, this deal in its current form is at the detriment of the Indigenous People.

We wish to state emphatically that while the Government sees Billions of Dollars in these natural resources, the Indigenous People see them as ecological treasure and a sociocultural identity. So, it is only fair to find a balance between exploitation for development as advanced by the Government and preservation of these resources as espoused by the Indigenous Communities.

By this release, we wish to unreservedly state our opposition to the implementation of the L.I. 2462 and the mining in forest reserves. Ghana has an obligation to preserve its forest cover as the current statistics points to a very dire situation. The statistics has it that within two-decades (between 2001 and 2022), Ghana has lost about 1.53 Mha of its tree cover, which is equivalent to 22% decrease in the tree cover. During this same period, the country has lost about 130 Kha of her humid primary forest reserve, representing a decrease of about 12% of her humid forest reserve. As a consequence, there is an increase in the emission of about 843 mt of Carbon dioxide, which has a negative impact on the environment. The Government, Civil Society Organizations,the Traditional Authorities and all the key stakeholders within the environmental space have respective obligations to ensure the preservation of our natural resources, especially Ghana’s forest cover.

-Ends Signed Abu Karimu

(CEO, Settle Ghana) Contact: 0242008238

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