The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has called for an enhanced national dialogue on sustainable exploitation of Ghana’s minerals and forest resources to ensure that lives and livelihoods are not adversely affected by the galamsey menace.
He warned that the nation risks losing its forest cover and its water bodies if illegal mining and indiscriminate harvest of trees are not regulated or halted altogether.
At the 2nd Regional Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining and Deforestation held in Tamale on Monday, Dr Bawumia called for increased collaboration among stakeholders to address the looming danger.
The first regional dialogue was held in Kumasi, following the National Dialogue in Accra.
The dialogue, which was organised by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, brought together traditional authorities, regional ministers from the five northern regions and their Members of Parliament, Leadership of the Parliamentary Select Committees on Lands, Forestry, Environment and Mining, representatives of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners and Captains of the Mining and Forestry Industries.
Dr Bawumia said many livelihoods depend on exploiting the country’s mineral and forest resources, whose contribution to the nation’s development cannot be over-emphasised.
The exploitation of the natural resources had been carried out without adverse conditions impacts the environment resulting from the unsustainable practices they employ.
The Vice President said the northern parts of the country are particularly challenged with forest degradation due to over-exploitation of trees, especially rosewood for export, excessive reliance on fuel-wood, and charcoal production.
“These continue to be major challenges, including rampant annual fires which have dire consequences on climate change and its adverse impacts on our livelihoods and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he pointed out.
Dr Bawumia said discussions on sustainable exploitation devoid of politics is the best way to arrive at a national solution.
He said Ghana has beautiful rivers and streams, but “today, there is not much to celebrate about our water bodies and wildlife habitats because of unacceptable mining and logging practices and other drivers of deforestation.”
Vice President Bawumia stated that the essence of the national dialogue was to have a national consensus on sustainable methods of exploiting the country’s minerals and forest resources devoid of partisan politics.
He reminded the participants that Illegal mining and logging of trees in the country’s forests should be streamlined and regulated to reverse the degradation of the lands and pollution of the water bodies.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD