By: Francis Npong, Tamale
The Ministry of Science and Technology (MEST) has launched 8.15 million US dollars new environmental project in Tamale aimed to reduce land degradation and improve biodiversity conservation in northern Ghana.
The project dubbed Ghana sustainable Land and Water Management Project (SLWM) is part of efforts by the Ministry of Environment Science and Technology (MEST) and for that matter the Ghana government to demonstrate improved sustainable land and water management practices to reduce land degradation enhance maintenance of biodiversity in micro-watersheds and strengthen spatial planning for identification of linked watershed investments.
With the funding support from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and World Bank (WB), the new environmental project which seeks to introduce new agricultural technology for adoption to improve land and water management to reverse desertification, land degradation and water pollutions would benefit the Upper West, East and Northern regions.
The project, according to the Executive Director of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr. Daniel Amlalo represents a comprehensive approach to sustainable land and watershed management and would combine what he termed “soft and hard” investments at the community level to manage and maintain ecological infrastructure with planning activities to be integrated into water and flood management in northern Ghana and agro-agricultural zones.
Mr. Amlalo who was speaking during the official launch of the project explained that the sustainable land and water management project is a five year Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and World Bank assistance under both Land Degradation Focal Area (LDFA) which is contributing $ 7.15, million, and Biodiversity Focal Area (BFA) $1 million while the Ghana government would contribute in kind an estimated amount of $7.8 million as part of her efforts to help deal with land degradation, loss of biodiversity and protection and maintenance of watersheds under the new project.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Enquuirer, the Technical Director at the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST) Dr. Nicholas Iddi explained that the new project is not would only maintain watersheds and fights desertification and land degradation but also would work toward economic transformation to facilitate development and reduce extreme poverty in northern Ghana.
He said that the project is also taking onboard the ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Forestry commission (FC), Wildlife Division, and District Assemblies as partners or implementing agencies to achieve the desire result.
The challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought while real, are solvable but would need not just multi-million dollars projects but the commitment of implementing agencies to implement the project fully.
The launch of this so-called comprehensive project will definitely not open up northern Ghana or help transform the area if strategies used to implement similar projects aimed to transform the area were not changed.
Most of these projects though are good failed because the implementing agencies do not involve community members whereas most strategies and technologies introduce are either expansive to adopt and manage or could not be fused into indigenous existing technologies. It is hoped this project would take into consideration the existing indigenous technologies and integrate it into the new project plans, and involve community members to make it community own.