The Bosomtwe lake, Ghana’s only natural lake, has been designated a biosphere reserve site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote healthy balance between biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use.
This brings to three the number of such internationally recognized sites in the country – Bia in the Western, and Songhor in Greater Accra Region.
The move is a response to the appeal made by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, for the protection of the lake.
The lake situated in a 10.5 kilometre crater, provides livelihood for about 70,000 people in 30 communities sited near it.
Speaking at a ceremony held in Abono to mark the formal recognition by the world body, Mr. Alexander Kwamang, Director of Finance, Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said it was not only refreshing but a vital intervention.
It was going to promote the use of scientific approach to address pressing issues relating to the increasing loss of biodiversity and the threat posed by climate change.
The Bosomtwe Lake has joined 669 sites in 120 countries, dedicated to conserving biodiversity, research and monitoring – to serve as models of sustainable development.
He indicated that UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme, which aims to improve the relationship between people and their environment had brought with it tremendous benefits.
The programme was making things better for peoples across the world as they worked to safeguard natural and managed ecosystems, he added.
Mr. A.S Dos Santos of UNESCO, said there was now a comprehensive document, detailing how to protect the water quality and prevent contamination.
Added to this, were bye-laws to preserve the natural resource, control erosion, improved livelihoods and capacity-building to achieve efficiency in the management of the resource.
He called for all stakeholders – the chiefs, the Bosomtwe and Bosome Freho district assemblies to commit to protecting the lake.
Mr. John Alexander Ackon, the Ashanti Regional Minister, in a speech read for him, applauded UNESCO, the Spanish Government, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other key stakeholders for the successful implementation of the “sustainable management of the lake project,” culminating in its designation as a biosphere reserve.
He noted that rapid population growth, over-exploitation of the lake and its resources and encroachment, were adversely affecting the resource.
He expressed optimism that its new status would boost tourist arrivals, bring in more revenue and create job opportunities for the people.
He appealed for strong support for the Community Resource Management Area Committee established to protect and preserve the resource to the benefit of the present generation and posterity.