The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources will together with its stakeholders soon develop lodges, hike-parks and other recreational facilities at the various eco-centres throughout the country.

Mr. Moses Kofi Sam, the Western and Central Regional Manager of the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission (FC) said at the weekend that the move was to further boost tourism in the country.

He was addressing the 18th International Board Meeting of the Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust (GHCT) at Abrafo-Odumase in the Twifo-Hemang-Lower-Denkyira District of the Central Region.

The three-day meeting which was to provide the framework for policy direction for the management of environment and culture, was on the theme “towards a more sustainable environment and protection of national culture”.

He said the sector encouraged public-private partnership to conserve natural resources like forest reserves and eco-tourists sites and to strategize for the local people to manage their own resources in the near future.

Mr Sam pointed out that the conservation of the resources should be of immense benefit to the communities living around them because their livelihood depends on those reserves.

He commended the GHCT for forging a close working relationship with such communities in the Region as it enables the two to share ideas and evolve best approaches for them to ensure the best practices for the conservation of the reserves.

In a speech read on his behalf, Mr. Alexander Asum-Ahensan, Minister for Chieftaincy and Culture said the government was committed and will continue to ensure the preservation of the nation’s resources and environment.

He was of the hope that the Trust will be pro-active enough and draw the attention of government to enact policies that will aid the promotion of the environment and national culture.

The Acting Chairman of the GHCT, Professor Henry Nii Adziri Wellington, said the Trust was formed in 2001 to implement policies and programmes to preserve and conserve Ghana’s historic monuments and sites and biodiversity of global importance.

At the moment, it operates only in the Central Region where the forts, castles and forests reserves have been well managed by the Trust together with its stakeholders and hope to extend its operations to other parts of the country.

Prof. Wellington said it will continue to support and guide institutions to manage the resources and sites.

He said the Trust assists in providing projects for the communities to enhance their living conditions all as part of measures to sustain the conservation of the resources.

Mr. Akunu Dake, a member of the Board said it will ensure that the needs and aspiration as well as the interest of the communities were safeguarded due the fact that they sacrificed their livelihoods for the creation of the reserves.

The Meeting coincided with the inauguration of a GH¢79,000 ICT Centre  with 50 computers, printers and scanners, constructed by the Trust for the people of Abrafo-Odumase and its surrounding communities living around the Kakum National Park, Conservation area.

Mr. Francis Donkoh Cobbinah, the Chief Executive Officer of the GHCT pledged to assist in the management of the Centre which will not only provide education in ICT but also serve as a business centre to generate income for them.

A 17-Member Community Advisory Committee chaired by Odeefo Boamponsem III, Denkyirahene was also inaugurated to work in concert with the Trust, concerning the selection of appropriate projects for the communities.

GNA

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