Ghana risks becoming a Sahelian country – IUCN 

Dr Jacques Somda, the Head of Programmes for the International Union for Conservation Nature (IUCN) Burkina Faso country office, has observed that Ghana risks becoming a Sahelian country if measures were not taken to stop the ill environmental practices and to restore the already degraded lands. 

He said Burkina Faso and Niger for instance now described as Sahelian countries were forest ecosystems but had been destroyed over a period through ill human activities to their current state.  

Dr. Somda, who said this in Tumu during the fourth Advisory Committee meeting of the Lands of Opportunity Project in the Sahel (LoGMe), stated that the northern part of Ghana had already lost its vegetative cover and was like the environment of Burkina Faso and Niger. 

The meeting was for the Committee to assess the project’s performance, its successes, opportunities, challenges, and the way forward. 

The project was called: “Creating Lands of Opportunity: Transforming Livelihoods through Landscape Restoration in the Sahel” and is known as: “Land of Opportunity Global Mechanism (LoGMe).” 

It was funded by the Italian Ministry for Ecological Transitions through the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). 

It was implemented in Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Niger to contribute towards meeting the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The IUCN led its implementation in partnership with public and private sector institutions. 

In Ghana, it was implemented in eight communities in the Upper West and Upper East Regions in partnership with A Rocha Ghana, the Environmental Protection Agency, Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Water Resources Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture. 

“Ghana is still in, let’s say, a good ecosystem wise but if we don’t take seriously the way we are using nature maybe in the next future Ghana will be part of Sahel because in the past Burkina Faso was not in the Sahel,” Dr. Somda explained.  

He expressed worry about the wanton cutting down of trees for crop production without taking cognizance of the impact of that on their crops and livelihoods.  

He explained that cutting trees to produce crops could lead to destruction of the crops such as maize and groundnuts by heavy winds or rains since there would be no trees on the fields to serve as windbreaks.  

He, therefore, advocated for the need to adopt sustainable agricultural practices to achieve increased productivity while protecting the environment from destruction.  

Dr. Somda indicated that through the LoGMe project, the IUCN was supporting the restoration of the ecosystem in the project areas using tools it had developed to achieve the expected results. 

Dr. Asher Nkegbe, the UNCCD National Focal Point for Ghana, said Ghana had signed unto the land pollution neutrality target of the SDGs and was expected to achieve that target by 2030.  

He said to achieve that there was the need for Ghana to embrace sustainable land and water management practices including restoration of degraded lands. 

He said that would also lead to improved soil fertility and increased agricultural production to achieve food security for the country. 

 “The (LoGMe) project has led to thousands of degraded lands being restored. There is a direct benefit for women who are involved in various activities. 

In fact, thousands of women have been benefiting from the project in terms of livelihood activities they are carrying out,” Dr. Nkegbe observed. 

Dr Iddrisu Yahaya, an Agricultural Economist at the Wa office of SARI said the institute had benefited from the LoGMe project in diverse ways including capacity building on LDN, sustainable agriculture and an accounting system.  

He said as a result of the project they were in-cooperating sustainable agricultural practices, especially conservation agriculture, into their research activities.  

Dr Yahaya indicated that the institute had also built the capacities of the communities on seed production and soap making among other interventions that would help improve their crop production and general livelihoods.  

He said young people in the project communities were taking advantage of the training and capacity building they have had as business opportunities and longer travel to the south sector for greener pastures.  

Mr Lawali Malam Karami, National Coordinator of the Territory Management and Forest Production, an NGO in Niger, said the project had offered them the opportunity to support communities to fight against desertification through partnership.  

He said their objective as an NGO was to fight against poverty and environmental degradation in a participatory and inclusive logic for sustainable development of the communities. 

Source: GNA 

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