By Dennis Peprah, GNA
Sunyani, July 3, GNA – The Global Media Foundation (GLOMeF), a Ghanaian media advocacy non-governmental organisation headquartered in Sunyani, is to implement a project to improve on and replenish depleted natural resources for biodiversity conservation.
Titled: “Sustainable Livelihoods for Biodiversity Conversation (SULBIC)”, the three-year project seeks to pilot community-based natural resource management to improve on livelihood security among rural dwellers.
SULBIC further seeks to demonstrate gender-equitability and community-driven approaches to poverty elimination through promoting ecologically-sustainable livelihoods among residents around forest fringe communities.
Mr Raphael Godlove Ahenu, the Chief Executive Officer of GLOMeF, said the project emphasises the need to translate the economic growth into realistic and actual poverty reduction strategies by formulating sustainable livelihood opportunities for people in the project planting areas.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mr Ahenu said the project which has two components – field-based activities with focus on grassroots intervention and national discourse on lessons from the project to inform policy framework, would be launched in September this year.
It will facilitate the process of making national policies and programmes more responsive to linkages between sustainable rural livelihoods and biodiversity conservation.
This would greatly enhance capacity of communities and institutions of decentralised governance for integrating sustainable biodiversity based livelihoods in participatory micro planning while ensuring equity, transparency and accountability.
Mr Ahenu expressed concern about lack of a national policy framework or guideline to conserve the forest ecosystems, saying successive governments have over the years failed to establish strong partnerships with local communities for management of the natural resources.
He said there is the need to rope in local communities in management and sustainable use of natural resources, adding that a significant reduction of loss of biological diversity required the provision of new and additional financial and technical support.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg in August 2002 recognises the critical role of biodiversity, in overall sustainable development and poverty reduction.
Mr Ahenu, who is the National Coordinator of WEA Business Coalition Ghana, a worldwide evangelical alliance, said conservation of environmental resources was essential to secure livelihoods and well-being of people in rural areas.
This would make people in rural areas responsive to conserving the environment by avoiding bad practices that depleted natural resources.
Government policies on biodiversity must include conservation of critical environmental resources by ensuring a livelihood security of the poor and promote better environmental governance too.
This would enable greater levels of equity and decentralisation, Mr Ahenu said and called for the establishment of multi-stakeholder partnerships for better management of natural resources.
He reiterated the need for agricultural researches to focus on conservation and enhancement of ecological foundations of farming and fisheries - land, water, biodiversity, forests, oceans and the atmosphere through integrated natural resources management strategy that actively involved civil society actors.
There is also the need to focus on sustainable development of coastal areas by linking ecological security with livelihood security.