Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has re-affirmed government’s commitment to reversing the declining trend of the natural and environmental resources by addressing the causes of deforestation and forest degradation.

He said government had outlined initiatives such as policy reviews to ensure favourable tree tenure for farmers, promotion of sustainable mining, reclamation of degraded mined-out landscapes and good use of legal timber to regain the country’s forest cover.

The Minister said this at a symposium organised as part of activities to mark the 70th birthday of former President Jerry John Rawlings in Accra on the theme: “Protecting and Safeguarding the National Environment for Future Generations”.

The event brought together government officials and members of the various political parties.

Mr Amenu said government had instituted interventions to protect the country’s environment for sustainable development and for the benefit of future generations.

“These interventions include the establishment of tree nurseries, forest plantation development, promotion of bamboo and rattan industry, conservation of biodiversity, protection of water bodies, and promotion of eco-tourism and strict enforcement of the country’s laws”.

Mr Amewu said in spite of the numerous benefits derived from the forest, the country’s timber and non-timber resources were being over-exploited and continued to decline in both quantity and quality.

He stressed that the disregard for the environment was the severe impacts of climate change with its consequential effects of high temperature and unpredictable rainfall patterns, long period of drought and low agricultural productivity.

Mr Amewu called for cross-sectoral collaboration in addressing environmental challenges, adding that “Our traditional authorities who are custodians of the land have big roles to play in complementing the effort of state institutions in addressing the challenges of environmental degradation”.

He urged educational institutions, Religious bodies, civil society and community-based organisations to play a key role in the awareness campaign.

 

Ms Amina Agyeman-Rawlings, daughter of Former President Rawlings, said the symposium was a platform to discuss issues affecting the environment and find practical solutions to address the menace.

Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said the country needed to take full responsibility to protect the environment from further degradation.

He posited “the poverty gap is the technology gap and that treating the environment means being discipline to tackle all aspect of challenges”.

He said it was imperative for all and sundry to have a change of attitude towards the protection and management of the environment for a sustained development.

Dr Peter Acquah, Former Deputy Africa Regional Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, called for a comprehensive policy to address air quality related challenges, develop a national policy on biodiversity as well as intensify environmental education.

GNA