Forestry Commission Week launched in Accra

western-forestsThe Forestry Commission (FC), has launched its second forestry week celebration for the commemoration of the International Day of the Forest, as well as the FC prosecutors training programme, in Accra.

The International Day of the Forest is set aside to venerate, celebrate and raise awareness on the importance of all types of forests and tress to life, while the FC prosecution training program would help the prosecution of forest offenders by officials in the country.

Launching the FC prosecution Training programme, Mrs Marrieta Brew Appiah-Oppong, Minister of Justice and Attorney -General, said the move by the FC to train selected officials as prosecutors was timely in the face of incessant and alarming illegal activities in the forest and wildlife sector.

She said the training programme would equip selected personnel with the requisite skills and knowledge in criminal law and procedure, to enable them to act as public prosecutors of forest and wildlife offences.

Mrs Appiah-Oppong noted that “the trained prosecutors would bring to the criminal process institutional knowledge and experience in scoping out and preparing the proper charges for specific forest and wildlife offences”.

She said the initiative would invariably reduce the very heavy burden on the Prosecution’s Department at the Attorney Generals (AG) Department.

Mrs Appiah-Oppong said she, however, noted that this does not mean that the AG’s Department would become disinterested in prosecuting forest and wildlife related offences, adding that ‘’we would collaborate with the Forestry Commission every step of the way’’.

She assured the Commission of the Attorney Generals Department’s readiness to collaborate and support the initiative.

He said the Department was ready to place at the disposal of the Forestry Commission its knowledge and experience in persecutions.

Mr Samuel Afari Dartey, Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, said the second FC week celebration for the commemoration of the International Day of the Forest would be held on March 21, 2013, in Tamale.

He said the theme for the celebration: “protecting the forest; my responsibility”, is to capture and encapsulate the realization and vim to transform the challenge of the dwindling expanse of Ghana’s forest into an opportunity to increase Ghana’s foliage and expand fauna.

Mr Afari Dartey said the observation of the week is also to offer a national sense of awakening among the populace with the view to containing and maintaining life threatening phenomenon from forest depletion, climate change and global warming.

He said the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions were sparsely forested and the threat of desertification was so ominous.

Mr Dartey said: “The destruction of the vegetation, through illegal chainsaw operation, indiscriminate bush cutting and burning of the vegetation, and illegal mining has greatly contributed to the dwindling of the vegetation which in turn has enhanced soil erosion and facilitated the steady southwards drift of the Sahara desert”.

He said the FC was a major constituency in forest development and management, globally and mandated to protect, develop, manage and regulate the utilization of forest and wildlife resources, and therefore could not but associate itself with position of the United Nations, considering the fact that Ghana’s forest resource base had been dwindling over the years.

Mr Afari Dartey said securing forest resources, however, required joint stewardship and determination of stakeholders, desirous to pursue profitable and responsible forestry activities, while showing consideration for nature and future generations and as a result urged all stakeholders to collaborate to ensure prudent forest governance to safeguard the remaining forests.

Source: GNA

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