Sustainable natural resources management, key to mitigating climate change impact — ORGIIS 

The Organisation for Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability Ghana (ORGIIS-Ghana), an environmentally focused organisation, has called for sustainable and inclusive approaches to managing natural resources to ensure sustainability, curb depletion and help mitigate the impact of climate change.  Mr Julius Awaregya, the Executive Director, ORGIIS-Ghana, observed that the various forest reserves, especially those in the Upper East Region, were being destroyed by human activities and the situation was contributing significantly to the changing climate currently experienced.  “Climate change is one of the major problems of environmental destruction, three years ago the highest temperature we could reach was 42 degrees Celsius between March and May but this year we have reached 45 degrees Celsius, and this tells us that the climate change issue is very real,” he said.  He said increasing the tree population and protecting the vegetative cover was the viable solution to the climate change menace and explained, “If we manage the trees such that we don’t reduce their population then the trees can reduce temperature and mitigate the climate change impact.”  Speaking to the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a stakeholder forum at Sandema in the Builsa North Municipality, Mr Awaregya advocated the sustainable and inclusive approach that involved relevant stakeholders, including chiefs, opinion leaders, landowners, women and youth groups, among others in the management and usage of the natural resources. 

The forum, organised by ORGIIS-Ghana, with funding support from the NOE, a French-based organisation and the European Union Commission was to afford stakeholders in the environmental protection value chain the opportunity to review the Constitution, bye laws and management plan of the Bulkawe Community Resources Management Area (CREMA). 

It was aimed at updating the governance documents to include current trends in natural resources management to help improve regulations and address challenges confronting the CREMA to function appropriately. 

It brought together the CREMA Executive Committee, the Forestry Commission, Ghana National Fire Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Builsa North Municipal Assembly, and traditional authorities, among others.  Mr Awaregya noted that due to the diverse interest in the natural resources such as timber, gold and economic trees that generate food, nutrition and revenue for the people, their management was complicated, however, things must be done sustainably to protect the environment.  As result, he said, ORGIIS-Ghana and its partners had been working with communities in the Upper East and Upper West Regions, especially those along the Western Wildlife Corridor through the CREMA concept to protect and manage the usage of the natural resources.   He underscored the importance of the governance documents, which had been in existence for the past 10 years, to be reviewed to empower the CREMA Executive Committees to regulate the usage of the natural resources taken into consideration contemporary times.

He noted that apart from population growth, lack of jobs for the youth and activities of chainsaw operators, the influx of Fulani herdsmen with their animals posed serious challenges to effective management of natural resources, especially along the Western Wildlife Corridor and called for collective efforts from all stakeholders.  Mr John Naada, a Former Upper East Regional Manager, Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, said the degradation of the environment, especially along water bodies was on the rise in the region and called on the communities to be involved in the protection and management of their resources to ensure sustainability.  Nab Afalung Apig-Jiak, the Chief of Siniensi community, noted that tree felling for fuel wood, bush burning and charcoal as well as activities of Fulani herdsmen were challenges confronting environmental protection and expressed the hope that with strengthened CREMA, it would help reduce the menace. 

 By Anthony Adongo Apubeo, GNA   Sandema (U/E)

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