The Achimota Forest Must Remain A Forest!!

What is the issue?

The Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Lands & Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission has announced the conversion of the Achimota Forest into what they term an ‘amusement park’ under the Achimota Eco Park project.

The project according to the Ministry is “financially viable, economically sound and environmentally sustainable” and will replace much of the forest with restaurants, zones for general advertising, parking lots, drive safari and commercial enclaves.

When the environmental movement in Ghana raised concerns over it, indicating that a project that will destroy the forest is not environmentally sustainable, government turned from its initial reason to say that the “move has become necessary to save the only greenbelt in Accra from wanton encroachment and abuse”.

The Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) believes there is more to the inconsistencies in communicating the vision for the project. However, the position of GYEM, environmental groups, campaigners and the general public is that the Achimota forest must remain a forest! We have made our position clear through a press release communicating why we don’t support this project.

The next step in our campaign

GYEM has made a strong press statement about this project but we haven’t gotten the government’s attention yet. We believe joining forces with everyone who love the environment and making a lot more noise about it on social media can get the government’s attention to listen to our legitimate concerns. The Movement is also mobilizing to run a campaign to the seat of government to petition the Presidency as the next step in our campaign strategy.

CALL TO ACTION!!

We believe that in order to gain the attention of our leaders, our environmental allies and the general public, we need them to hear our concerns. We need your help to propel this issue to these audiences, because we believe that the work of environmental justice is universal. We’re utilizing all methods of outreach – including the power of social media. We’re asking you to help us by spreading the word among your networks in these ways:

1. Through Facebook by tagging others in this note, and;

2. Through Twitter, by tweeting it. Please use the #SaveAchimotaForest hashtag in your correspondence.

With your voice joined with ours, we believe we can bring the attention of our leaders to our environmental concerns and work towards a solution.

 

For further information and clarification please feel free to contact our team at gyemgh@gmail.com

Thank You!!

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GHANA YOUTH ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT OPPOSES CONVERSION OF ACHIMOTA FOREST INTO ‘AMUSEMENT PARK’

Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM), a grass root movement of young people across Ghana, wishes to add our voice to the numerous calls by concerned Ghanaians for the government to halt the conversion and destruction of the Achimota forest, the only green belt in Accra into an amusement park”, which will house restaurants, parking lots and commercial infrastructure, etc. 

This move is inconsiderate and runs contrary to the second guiding principle of the Ghana Forest and Wildlife Policy 2011 which has its aim as “maintaining the ecological integrity of the forest and savannah ecosystems.”

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has defended this decision based on the premise that “the project is financially viable, economically sound and environmentally sustainable”. This is indeed astonishing and we want to state categorically that:

1. Green belts are NOT conserved and preserved primarily for their financial and economic benefits. They are kept for ecological, health, recreational and educational purposes. So the idea that the Achimota forest is lying waste without any benefit is an unfortunate one;

2. Indeed, even within the walls of economics, we can prove that the forest in its natural state is worth more than any commercial project that will destroy it. Can we pay for all the ecosystem services the forest offers us? Can we pay for the worth of clean air, water, control of air pollution, erosion and flooding? What of the worth of animals it houses, as well as the fruits it provides and the beauty it gives the ecosystem?;

3. How can the cutting of trees and destruction of flora and fauna be termed “environmentally sustainable” by the Ministry?;

4. What has become of other underdeveloped but more economically viable tourists sites like the Kakum National Park, Mole National Park, etc, which are calling for further development to provide more revenue?.

We believe this action will rather exacerbate the demise of our already whittled down forest reserves and destroy its ecological integrity. We have grave doubts that turning the only green belt in the capital city into malls, restaurants car parks and commercial enclaves are in the best interest of the natural heritage of citizens of Ghana.

We urge the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission to reconsider their decision and choose people over profit and ecosystem over economics. This is not only in the best interest of the ecology but also humanity. When the last forest is destroyed and the last tree is cut down, then we will realize that we cannot eat money.

We call on government to immediately halt all attempts to destroy this important national reserve and reclaim all encroached portions of this national resource and rather protect it for
posterity.

The Ghana Youth Environmental Movement will join forces with all friends of the environment and the general public to fight for the preservation and conservation of the Achimota Forest.

By Steering Group (GYEM)
Email: gyemgh@gmail.com
Tel: 0544 744922 / 0244 951 828 /0264 760 399

Cc: Ministry of Lands and Natural Resource
Forestry Commission
Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
All Media Houses

GYEM CALLS FOR OFFICIAL INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE CAUSE OF THE ALARMING DEATH OF WHALES

 

 

Image                                                       (Photo credit: Friends of the Nation)

The Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) together with its key allies has observed with deep concern the alarming and rampant death of whales in Ghana. A total of 20 dead whales have been washed ashore since 2009 when oil exploration began at the Western region of Ghana. The last one which happened on Wednesday October 30, 2013, brings to nine (9) the number of whales that have been washed ashore in just under two months.

While environmental groups and campaigners have consistently raised this issue in both the public and media domains and called for an immediate action on these disturbing occurrences, government regulatory bodies and authorities such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI) and the Fisheries Commission have done little to address these concerns. 

The EPA in particularly have denied the linkage of the death of whales to the oil exploration going on at the Western region without any formal investigations into the cause of death of the mammals. We at GYEM are greatly disheartened by the silence displayed by these regulatory agencies. 

At GYEM, our discomfort about the inaction of these regulatory agencies stems from the following questions and concerns;

a. What is the actual cause of death of the whales and why have they numerously occurred at the Western region within the past four (4) years, within the same period Ghana began oil exploration?

b. What can this trend of occurrence tell us about the safety of general ocean lives and the impact it has on our food chain? What is going on in the sea that we are unaware of and what threat do they pose to human livelihood and the marine ecosystem?

c. How are communities along the coast dealing with the environmental and health risks of dead whales washed ashore?

In the light of this, the Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) is calling on the appropriate governmental agencies— The EPA, Fisheries Commission and the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation to as a matter of urgency; 

1. Conduct rigorous investigations into the indiscriminate death of whales and make their findings public for all and sundry; and
2. Draw up mitigation measures and implement government regulations to curtail this unfortunate phenomenon.

While awaiting government’s response, Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) will continue with this campaign with our whale mascot in both media and public domains to ensure that the whales and all ocean lives are protected and above all, most importantly, our environment is preserved and conserved.

(Photo credit: Friends of the Nation)

By Steering Group (GYEM)
Email: gyemgh@gmail.com
Tel: 0264 760399/ 0544 744922 / 0244 951 828
Cc: Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (MoE)
Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Fisheries Commission