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Ghana government approves new forest, wildlife policy

The Cabinet of the Ghana government has approved a revised forest and wildlife policy to enable the country to consolidate and maximise benefits derived from products and services of the forest and wildlife sector.

The revised 2011 Forest and Wildlife Policy highlights a radical paradigm shift in emphasis from a consumptive to a non-consumptive use of the nation’s forest resources in a manner that creates a balance between timber production and marketing to satisfy domestic wood demand.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources said the sector Minister, Mr Mike Allen Hammah, made this known when he interacted with some media personnel in Accra.

It said the minister explained that the new policy would seek to consolidate and deepen good governance through improved transparency and accountability and enhance the participation of fringe communities and landowners in the management of the nation’s forest.

It said the 2011 revised policy had replaced Ghana’s first forest and wildlife policy formulated in 1994 which resulted in the merging of sector institutions into a corporate Forestry Commission and also introduced reforms to improve the forest and wildlife base.

It said that policy, however, proved ineffective in addressing growing illegalities in the sector.

The statement said the new policy would also provide opportunities for job-creation through the development of small and medium forest, as well as wildlife, enterprises, increase biodiversity conservation and eco-tourism development and boost the government’s efforts at restoring degraded landscape through massive forest plantation development schemes.

“The new policy document is also designed to promote sustainable management of Savannah woodland, improve research and application of modern and scientific technology in resource management, enhance formulation of climate change adaption and mitigation measures and help secure sustainable funding for the forest and wildlife sector,” it said.

It said Mr Hammah underscored the fact that the review of the 1994 Forest and Wildlife Policy, which took cognisance of the social, economic, environmental and ecological impacts, as well as international protocols, was driven primarily by the need to introduce more pragmatic strategies to reverse the alarming pace of deforestation and forest degradation in recent times.

It said the minister explained that the forest and wildlife policy had also been re-engineered to address emerging global trends in the forest sector, including the voluntary partnership agreement (VPA), forest certificate, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD)  and climate  change.

Mr Hammah, it said, explained that the new policy would re-position the country to access emerging opportunities for sustainable forest financing through carbon credit schemes to develop the forest sector and assist the government to effectively harness the nation’s forest as an asset to enhance food security, employment, health, religion and other intangible services in many rural communities.

Source: Daily Graphic

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