Mr Mahama Ayariga, the Minister of Environment, Science,Technology and Innovation (MESTI), has said issues of biodiversity must be mainstreamed into the national development plans to impact on every aspect of individual, corporate and communal activities.
This, he said, would allow all national stakeholders, from the grassroots level to the highest to contribute their quota to the conservation and sustainable use of the components of biodiversity.
Mr Ayariga said this at media conference to herald the commemoration of this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity, which was instituted by the UN General Assembly on May 22, 2000, to increase the awareness and understanding of biodiversity issues.
This year’s event is to be marked on Sunday, May 22, under the theme: “Mainstreaming Biodiverity; Sustaining People and their Livelihoods”
Biodiversity is the term given to the variety of life on earth and the variety within and between all species of plants, animals and micro-organisms and the ecosystems within which they live and interact.
It underpins the survival of mankind and their livelihoods and necessitates the sustainable development and utilisation of natural resources in all activities, including economic sectors such as Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, and Tourism.
The Minister, therefore, urged Ghanaians to change their everyday behaviours and actions that undermine the wellbeing of biological resources.
He appealed to all to join the fight against bush fires, illegal mining and logging, pollution of the air and water bodies, illegal fishing, indiscriminate disposal of waste and other actions, which have been identified, through research, as the worst causes.
“Again we call on the public to desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse and unregulated use of pesticides since these affect the smooth functions of ecosystems,’’ stated.
He said the MESTI had begun the process of reviewing the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan to incorporate emerging national strategies, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 15), which recognised the importance of halting biodiversity loss.
‘’In addition to this, the National Biodiversity Committee is also putting in place projects to facilitate the mainstreaming of biodiversity issues into National Development Plan to ensure that the vision of the Convention, for which the UN established it, is realised in the country,” explained.
He said the expansion of sectors that both depended on and affected biodiversity such as Housing, Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Aquaculture had the potential to pose a significant challenge to halting biodiversity loss but that challenge must be surmounted.
He called on developers who would want to set up factories and filling stations to endeavour to fulfill the Environmental Impact Assessment requirements by the Environmental Protection Agency and other relevant State institutions before they commenced their projects to avoid sanctions.
Mr Mahama Ayariga appealed to the regional and district security units of the local government structure to strictly enforce the laws against illegal miners in their communities as their activities had been cited as one of the major causes of the water pollution and the destruction of the fertility of our lands.
He said the Assembles had so far failed to be effective in their responsibilities to protect natural resources and they must reverse the trend.
The Minister used the occasion to launch the National Environment Day, which falls on June 5; the National Day to Combat Desertification, which falls on June 17; and the African Scientific Renaissance Day.