EPA urges mainstreaming land restoration strategies into medium-term development plans

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to mainstream integrated land restoration strategies into medium-term development plans to help reverse degraded landscapes and forest reserves.

Mr Asher Nkegbe, Upper East Regional Director of (EPA), advised the MMDAs to embrace, adopt and promote the strategies of the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining Project (GLRSSMP) as a critical measure in improving natural resource management and fighting against climate change challenges.

Mr Nkegbe , also the Head of Technical Coordination Officer, GLRSSMP, gave the advice at the 2023 Local Steering Committee meeting of the GLRSSMP.

The GLRSSMP is a six-year government of Ghana and World Bank project being implemented under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MESTI) and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.

It has support from the Global Environment Facility, International Development Association, PROGREEN, and Extractives Global Programmatic Support, among others.

The project builds on lessons, experiences and successes from implementation of the Ghana Environment Management Project and the Sustainable Land and Water Management Project (SLWMP).and targets the Northern Savannah Zone, including the Guinea Savannah ecological zone, the Sudan Savannah ecological zone, and the upper portions of the Transitional ecological zone, and Cocoa Forest Landscape,  including parts of the Forest ecological zone and the Pra River Basin.

The project aims to strengthen Ghana’s natural resources management, restore degraded forest and landscapes, formalise and regulate small-scale mining to increase benefits to communities in Northern Savannah and Cocoa Forest Zones.

On achievements, Mr Nkegbe indicated establishment of community watersheds in 12 beneficiary districts in Northern Ghana to protect water bodies.

“We have been very active in vegetarian restoration and as result we have transplanted over 32,000 bamboo seedlings along the White Volta within the Mamprugu-Moagduri and East Mamprusi Districts in the North East Region, Talensi, Bawku West and Binduri Districts in the Upper East Region,” he said.

He said it was necessary to protect the White Volta, which was an important national asset in line with the national buffer zone policy, adding “a 62,000-capacity nursery has been established in Bawku West District to aid this vegetarian restoration and similar activities would be extended to other river bodies.”

Apart from intensifying education on the need to protect the natural resources, he said the Technical Coordination Office was developing environmental safeguard to help minimise  impact of invasion of elephants and urged the Regional Coordinating Councils and the MMDAs to promote the practice.

Mr Stephen Yakubu, Upper East Regional Minister, explained that the implementation of the project was timely considering the devastating effects of desertification and climate change experienced across Northern Ghana and appealed to all stakeholders to support it.

He said apart from controlling soil erosion and protecting water bodies through the vegetarian riparian strategy of the project, it would help increase agriculture productivity to ensure food security and reduce poverty among poor rural communities.

Professor David Millar, President of the Millar Institute of Transdisciplinary and Development Studies, who chaired the function, noted that bushfire control was critical to the success of the GLRSSMP and urged MDAs to enforce by-laws on environmental protection.

Source: GNA

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