Minister launches strategic documents to transform wildlife

Wildlife documentThe Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills has launched three national strategic documents designed to address national and global challenges of the forest and wildlife sectors.

The Ghana Forestry Development Master Plan, Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy and Ghana REDD+ Strategy documents seeks to bring significant transformation to the environment and natural resource sector.

The Forestry Development Master Plan, a 20-year Action Plan, has been designed to fully implement the 2012 Forest and Wildlife Policy, which has shifted the focus from over-reliance on timber revenues to conservation of biodiversity and increased revenues from ecotourism and payment for ecosystem Services.

The second document the Ghana National REDD+ Strategy aims at assisting Ghana to prepare itself for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and to make the country ready for the implementation of an international mechanism for REDD+.

Also, the Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy is to provide a roadmap for landscape restoration and plantation efforts for the next 25 years with a target to plant more than 25 hectares of forest plantations annually by both state and non-state actors.

Commenting on the launch of the documents, Nii Mills said the world was at a stage where the need to shift to sustainable development pathways had become inevitable.

“We are launching these strategic documents today, in furtherance of national and global efforts to promote best-practice forest governance, restoration of degraded landscapes and to tackle the adverse impacts of climate change and variability,” he said.

He said the pursuit of development pathways that promoted ecosystem services, water resources management, biodiversity conservation, food security and sustainable energy supplies, landscape restoration and reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation had been proven to be pivotal to the socio-economic development of every country.

Nii Mills said the successful implementation of the REDD+ Strategy would yield enormous benefits in the areas of poverty alleviation, promotion of local community rights and sustainable use of forest resources and biodiversity conservation, among others.

He appealed to the private sector to invest heavily in plantation development in view of its high potential for job creation and revenue generation to be able to take advantage of the larger Green Climate funds market.

Nii Mills said government would be guided by the documents to secure the integrity of the forest and wildlife resources, protect watersheds, tackle illegal timber harvesting and galamsey operations, whilst addressing climate change through mitigation and adaptation measures.

He urged the Forestry Commission and stakeholders to critically assess progress against the targets set out in the Master Plan to ensure a successful implementation.

Mr Raphael Yeboah, Executive Director Forest Services Division, in a speech read on behalf of the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, said the implementation of the strategies should lead to the delivery of win-win outcomes for the environment and society.

He said there were plans to enhance the capacity of the Commission’s staff and other stakeholders to ensure that they were fully equipped with the skills and technical knowhow to fully implement the activities outlined in the strategy documents.

Also, the Commission would maintain and enhance its partnerships with major stakeholders, including traditional authorities and land owners, local communities, civil society organisations, among others to ensure national buy-in and collective ownership of the strategies.

Mr Yeboah called for sustainable financial framework to support the implementation of the strategy documents. 

Source: GNA

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