CSOs Urged to Reconsider Stand on Atiwa Forest Mine

Atiwa Forest
Atiwa Forest

Three Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) have asked the government to reconsider its plans to mine bauxite in the Atiwa Forest.

According to the CSOs it poses a threat to the Atiwa Forest and, therefore, was not in the national interest.

The three – the Friends of the Earth, the Green Livelihood Alliance and AROCHA Ghana, made this known at a news conference to further press home their concerns.

Mr Nehemiah Tettey Odjer-Bio, the Project Coordinator of Friends of the Earth and a spokesperson for the group, said their concerns bothered on access to information on the proposed agenda, forest and biodiversity, health, impact on water supplies, community food production, jobs and carbon finance.

He said mining of bauxite would have conflict and contradictions on the country’s Forest policies and forest management.

He said: “Since the announcement of government’s intention to mine bauxite in the Atiwa Forest we have made numerous calls to Government to conduct a Strategic Environmental Assessment to understand the full impact of this development and the environment”.

“We regret to say that this still has not been done,” he said and urged the Environmental Protection Agency to demand that study to be undertaken as a matter of urgency.

That, he said, would enable the communities and the government to then determine if bauxite mining in Atiwa was really in the interests of the country and its people in the long run.

Mr Tettey-Odjer-Bio said there were very little information available to the public on the agreements made on the proposed bauxite mining in Atewa forest.

He said, “Access to information is fundamental right of Ghanaians and most especially the communities living close to sites proposed for development”.

“As citizens of Ghana…we should not be denied access to information on any agreements relating to the proposed integrate bauxite mining development agenda for Ghana”.

He said Communities and civil society across the country have the right to know what exactly was proposed for the planned bauxite mining in that forest and the exact locations of those proposed mines.

He said they believed in environmentally sustainable development that would serve Ghanaians better.

He therefore asked Government to consider all the issues raised and the value of Atiwa Forest for provision and water cycling, livelihoods, biodiversity and climate change mitigation, and reverse its decision to mine bauxite in the Atewa Forest.

Mr Daryl E. Bosu, the Deputy National Director in charge of Operations, said if the country could manage its biodiversity well, there would be no need to take donors’ fund for artificial pollination of cocoa.

He said current interventions being taken by the government was not yielding any results and urged the government to maintain the trust the people reposed in it to do proper Strategic Environmental Assessment on the Atiwa Forest before going into any partnership.

Professor Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, Department of Plant and Environmental Biology, University of Ghana, Legon said, it was international requirement that Strategic Environmental Assessment be done in such cases.

He, therefore reiterated the need for the government to do the right thing.

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