By Hafsa Obeng/ Morkporkpor Anku, GNA
Accra, June 28, GNA – Tropenbos Ghana in partnership with A Rocha Ghana and Friends of the Earth (FoE) Ghana have organised a capacity building workshop for media practitioners to enhance their knowledge on forestry and mining laws for advocacy action.
The workshop, which was part of efforts to implement the Green Livelihoods Alliance (GLA) programme, introduced the media to relevant laws on forestry and mining, highlighting acts that constituted illegality.
It was also for them to understand the challenges of the media platform on environmental issues and the kind of support they need, as well as jointly set an agenda for advocacy around key issues of interest in the natural resources sector.
Mr Clement Akapame, Consultant, Taylor Crabbe Initiative, said Ghana was losing its forest cover at an alarming rate.
He said so far the country had lost almost 33.7 percent of its forest cover to unsustainable forest management practices such as illegal chainsaw and illegal logging.
Mr Akapame said there had been various legislations, including domestic and international legislations over the years to tackle the issue since 1883.
He said the 1992 constitution vested all minerals in its raw state in the presidency with parliamentary oversight for the grant of a right to exploit, adding that, the constitution created constitutional ownership in the presidency.
“Article 257, vests public lands in the presidency, while article 268, states that no right or concession to any natural resource can be granted without ratification by parliament.”
Mr Akapame said there were various types of forest permits, including timber utilisation contract, salvage permit, confiscated timber license and timber utilisation permit.
He said on mining alone, there were 10 laws, including the constitution, mining license, prospecting license, mining lease, and ratification by Parliament.
He explained that small scale mining was reserved for Ghanaians, who are not less than 18 years and had registered with the minerals commission in a designated area.
The GLA programme recognised the devastating nature of deforestation and environmental degradation in Ghana, mainly resulting from agricultural expansion, especially from cocoa and unsustainable logging and mining practices.
The programme therefore aims at ensuring sustainable and inclusive management to secure the remaining forest in Ghana’s High Forest Zone through an integrated approach.
The prime strategy for the programme is through lobby and advocacy towards positive change in attitudes that result in a sustainably managed forest.
The programme partners seek to achieve this by building partnerships and collaborating with other CSOs in the quest to influence policy and practice in relation to natural resources with special emphasis on forest and water.
Identified issues for agenda setting for advocacy from the side of GLA programme include, tree tenure and benefit sharing, no bauxite mining in Atewa forest, wildlife resource management bill passing, illegal logging of timber species in dry lands of Ghana, galamsey activities.