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Validation workshop on Ghana Strategic Investment Framework opens

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Ms. Sherry Ayittey - Environment Minister

Ms Sherry Hanny Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST), on Wednesday said land was at the heart of social, political and economic life in Ghana as it was the principal source of livelihood for majority of Ghanaians.

She said Ghana’s rural land, forestry and agriculture generated much of the country’s income and employment, directly and indirectly, but was highly vulnerable to degradation.

Ms Ayittey made the observation in a speech read for her by Mr Rudolf Kuuzegh, Director at MEST, at a Validation Workshop and Donors Conference on Ghana Strategic Investment Framework (GSIF) for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) in Accra.

The conference is being organised by MEST and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with the National Sustainable Land Management Committee to seek financial and technical support to execute the SLM programme.

The GSIF is a framework developed to guide formulation and implementation of all land management projects and programmes in Ghana to ensure efficient management of financial and technical resources to achieve synergy of efforts from 2011 to 2025.

It is also an investment framework to support implementation of the national action programme to combat desertification and drought to up-scale identified technologies in a coordinated fashion.

Ms Ayittey said the process of land degradation in Ghana was increasingly being recognised as a key development issue because of its impact on the productive capacity of land.

She said it was estimated that the cost of environmental degradation as a result of soil erosion and forest degradation put together was about seven per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), equivalent to about $530 million per annum.

Mr Daniel Amlalo, Acting Executive Director of EPA, said GSIF was a pragmatic approach adopted by government and the people to address land degradation issues and promote sustainable land management.

He said the workshop sought to present to key stakeholders the final draft of GSIF for SLM, to discuss key issues, agree and endorse it as well as create awareness among development partners and GSIF.

In addition, it would seek for their interest and commitment to technically and financially support its implementation.

Mr Amlalo said issues bordering on the environment especially landresources were of paramount importance to the country.

“This is so, as a greater number of our population depends on land resources through agriculture, animal rearing, fishing and other activities for our sustenance,” he said.

Mr Musa Saihou Mbenga, FAO Representative in Ghana, said consequences of land degradation reduced land productivity, socio economic problems, including uncertainty in food security, migration, limited development and damage to ecosystems.

He said such issues could undermine any progress achieved towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of poverty and hunger eradication and environmental sustainability.

Mr Mbenga said in Ghana land degradation affected essentially the three northern regions and was estimated to cost between 1.1 to 2.4 per cent of Agricultural Gross Domestic Product and called for a blueprint for systematic and effective approach for investments in SLM.

He said FAO had been collaborating with government through various Ministries – Food and Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources, and Environment and Science – to address issues relating to land degradation in the country.

Mr Samuel Ernest Anku, a representative from EPA, giving an overview of the programme, said a variety of existing and pipe line projects would be brought together under GSIF to provide the initial base line funds required.

He said additional incremental funding would be sought from a variety of different sources of governance including national, regional and district levels and development partners both donor agencies and NGOs among others.

“Additional funding where appropriate would be sourced from the biodiversity climate change and international waters focal areas, private sector and the civil society including cash and in kind contributions from the beneficiary rural communities,” he added.

Source: GNA

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