A delegation from the US Congressional Committee on Natural Resources is in the country to explore areas of partnership for the sustainable harnessing and utilisation of natural resources.
It will also ensure the removal of bottlenecks to sustainable management of the resources and protecting the environment from destruction.
In line with that, a meeting was held between the congressional team and the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, in Accra yesterday[September 13, 2022], during which the two sides committed themselves to working together to protect the environment.
While acknowledging the long-term collaboration between Ghana and the US in many areas, the two sides resolved to share knowledge in the area of natural resource management.
The Leader of the US delegation, Edward Case, said the US Congress was ready to support Ghana in many sectors, including sharing in the challenges Ghana had in natural resource exploitation.
He said the focus of the US team was on international contribution to climate change, partnerships that would help save water bodies and the environment.
“We have come here to learn what Ghana has been doing in these areas and reinforce our commitment to partnerships to international treaties and national commitments on climate change, protecting our wildlife and our oceans,” he added.
He said the collaborations would also centre on how to empower communities to contribute to the protection of nature and understand that the environment was part of their own lives.
The US Ambassador, Virginia E. Palmer, cited issues in the fisheries sector, such as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, cocoa and sustainable farming, as some of the areas the Congressional committee would look at as part of the visit.
She commended Mr Jinapor for his efforts at championing matters relating to natural resource management in the country.
Mr Jinapor, for his part, said the country had a robust legal framework and a holistic system guiding natural resource governance.
He outlined a number of challenges the country was grappling with in natural resource management, including the phenomenon of land guards, illegal mining and logging activities and other environmental crimes.
The minister said illegal small-scale mining, popularly called galamsey, remained the major challenge of the government, as the phenomenon was hydra-headed and difficult to deal with.
He said although the sector, which constituted 40 per cent of the country’s total gold output, was reserved for only locals, foreigners had infiltrated the system.
He added that the activities of the illegal miners posed serious threats to land and water resources and also had a bearing on global efforts to address climate crisis.
He, however, gave an assurance that interventions that had been rolled out by the environment, such as the deployment of speed boats to protect water bodies, the use of mercury-free gold machines and the tracking of excavators, would help address some of the challenges.
Mr Jinapor further said the Green Ghana Project had so far planted about 33 million tree species in the last two years, adding that the Lands Commission was also rolling out systems to digitalise records for effective land administration.