A book on “Natural Resources in Ghana: Management, Policy and Economics”, has been launched in Accra with a call on Ghanaians to utilise technology for better exploration and exploitation of resources to reduce the environmental impact.
“We need to challenge the conventional wisdom that there will always be the need for more natural resources and we have to continue to use more natural resources,” Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, said when launching the book.
The book authored by 24 Ghanaians Scientists was edited by Dr David M. Nanang, a Science Research Director with the Canadian Forest Service Resources.
It is a collection of ideas for natural resource professionals, which would serve as supplementary reading for a wide range of disciplines in natural resources management and sustainable development.
The 354-page book has 15 chapters and classified into wildlife resources, community based natural resources, forestry resources and economics of natural resources.
Ms Ayittey said natural resources management was increasingly becoming more complicated due to the recognition that climate change had the potential to impact on the productivity of the natural ecosystems and its implications on the availability and management of resources.
She noted that Ghana relied heavily on the exploitation of her natural resources to promote the socio-economic development agenda.
“With the discovery of off-shore oil and its impending commercial production, natural resources have further entrenched their roles and the backbone of the Ghanaian economy,” she said.
The Sector Minister explained that the extraction of natural resources had resulted in enormous pressures on the natural environment leading to serious degradation, which was damaging the environment, ecological integrity and the ability of ecosystems.
This, she said had also posed a direct threat to the livelihoods of many communities which often lacked resources to cope with the numerous environmental problems.
Ms Ayittey said the practical model, methodologies, best practices and empirical results presented in the book would be a core valuable resource for undergraduate and graduate students as well as applied researchers in government or private organisation natural resources management and policy analysis.
She called on non-governmental organisations and other community based natural resource management bodies to incorporate the ideas in the book into their programmes as well as projects at the local level.
Dr Nanang said the book was put together by the alumni of the Institute of Natural Resources of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
He noted that Ghana’s resource management strategy was more reactive than being proactive and “if Ghana intends to manage her natural and environmental resources on sustainable basis, then, it must change”.
Dr Nanang said government’s policy must not only provide the enabling environment for efficient resource management but must also ensure that its policy implementation was more focused and target the most critical areas.
He called for a strong bi-national committee between Ghana and Burkina Faso to manage the flow of water from the Bagre Dam to Ghana for use in the Northern Upper East and Upper West Regions during the dry season.