The World Bank has cautioned Ghana against the continuous wanton degradation of its land, forest and other natural resources.
It says the country risked not achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15, which is protecting the ecosystem to promote biodiversity, if the high rate of land degradation was not halted.
Mr. Asferachew Abate, Senior Environmental Specialist of the World Bank, who stated this, said the country’s rate of land degradation, which currently stood at about 135,000 hectares per annum, was worrying.
Mr Abate who was delivering a paper on the “Overview of Land Degradation and Restoration in Ghana” at a workshop at Akyawkrom in the Ejisu Municipality, said Ghana’s record on the environment remained precarious.
The two-day workshop was organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and sponsored by the World Bank and the World Resources Institute, an international NGO.
It aimed at sharing knowledge amongst the participants on the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR 100) and develop a cross-sector strategies for scaling up restoration activities in priority landscapes.
Mr Abate indicated that 40 per cent of the total land area of Ghana was at the moment degraded, stressing that the country’s deforestation rate of 3.2 per cent per annum, which was mainly responsible for land degradation, was considered one of the highest in the world.
Other key factors contributing to this scenario included illegal mining and logging, sand wining and bad agricultural practices over the years.
This was against the backdrop of the fact that, the country’s economy was agro-based, which to a larger extent, was dependent on land resources in order to create jobs and wealth for the people.
Mr. Abate pointed out that majority of the Ghanaian populace depended directly on the land for survival and, therefore, all hands must be on deck in support of programmes to restore the degraded lands.
He gave the assurance that the World Bank would continue to provide the technical expertise and needed incentives in assisting the country to enhance its ecology and biodiversity.
Mr. John Pwamang, acting Executive Director of the EPA, explained that one of the objectives of the awareness creation workshop was to deepen understanding of relevant activities being undertaken by key stakeholders to halt and rehabilitate degraded land, while preventing future degradation.
The stakeholders included the Forestry Commission and Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
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