Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources has launched a “Green Ghana Programme” that would see a minimum of five million trees planted across the country to mark the International Day of the Forest on June 11.
The event will have high profile personalities, including President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo and his Vice, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Ashanti King, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and the public to plant trees in various parts of the country to kick start a project to regain Ghana’s green vegetation.
“That is how we in Ghana intend to commemorate and celebrate the international day of forest… we have chosen this path because we believe also that the strategy and the programme to protect our forest cover and environment and to engage in aggressive afforestation is a joint responsibility,” the Minister said.
Mr Jinapor said a more aggressive stakeholder engagement, involving all relevant institutions and the public, was needed to reverse the adverse effect of deforestation and its attendant effect on the environment.
He reiterated Ghana’s commitment to playing its part in the attainment of the principles guiding the International Day of the Forest in conservating forests and the environment in general.
The Minister said the grand agenda of the government was to adequately resource institutions such as the Forestry Commission and to raise public awareness to increase the country’s forest cover.
He said enough preparation and logistics have been put in place to ensure that the exercise was successful
“We are expecting that with the success of that exercise we will receive more funding and raise more funding from corporate Ghana, from the green world in other that a day will come in our country wherei n a day all of us in Ghana can mobilise ourselves to plant as much as hundred million trees in a day,” Mr Jinapor said.
The Minister further said efforts were underway to properly regulate small-scale mining and deal decisively with illegal mining to safeguard the environment.
“If we are not able to regulate illegal mining now in our country all of those efforts at safeguarding the environment will come to naught,” he said.
He urged the forestry commission to keep to its mandate in ensuring the strict preservation of forest reserves in the country.
“People cannot move into forest reserves to mine if you [Forestry Commission] do not give them authority to do so. The law is very clear before you can mine in a forest reserve, the Forestry Commission must give permission and I have indicated the same to the chief executive of the forestry commission… that as much as possible, the policy of President Akufo Addo, his government and myself as his minister is that there should be no mining in forest reserves. Forest reserves are what they are. let’s keep them as forest reserves,” the Minister said.
The International Day of Forests is observed on March 21 each year and is a day set aside by the United Nations (UN) to raise awareness on the importance of all types of forests and trees outside forests and also put the spotlight on the importance of instituting sustainable conservation regimes to protect woodlands and trees, which are vital to economies, livelihoods and environment.
However, the UN allows member states to adopt the date of the celebration of the International Day of Forests, as well as the theme, to suit their particular circumstances.