Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, on Thursday called on Ghanaians to work assiduously to conserve the country’s natural resources more sustainably.
He said the need to restore and sustainably utilise biodiversity resources, in the spirit of sustainable development, had become so important.
Ghana is endowed with about 5,429 plant species, 327 species of mammals, 794 bird species, 377 species of amphibians and reptiles and 925 species of butterflies, all serving as important biodiversity resources that continue to sustain the survival of the people.
In a statement ahead of World Environment Day (WED), marked on June 5 every year, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said since the public depended so much on biodiversity resources, the Government would continue to institute several policy initiatives to mitigate the threats to biodiversity loss.
These include the development of the National Biodiversity Policy, the designation of 18 national wildlife protected areas involving seven national parks, six resource reserves, four wildlife sanctuaries, and one strict nature reserve.
There is also the designation of 266 forests in most of the major ecological zones of the country as reserves and the establishment of the Community Resource Management Areas, and about 371 sacred groves across the country, which provide cultural services for local communities and tourists.
“These sites are preserved due to the significant roles they play in our cultural heritage. These sacred sites help to conserve significant biodiversity,” Prof Frimpong-Boateng said.
He said despite all those efforts at protecting the country’s biodiversity, there was still the need for more awareness creation on the relevance of biodiversity to the survival and socio-economic development of the nation.
“When we destroy our biodiversity resources, we threaten our very existence. When we protect them, we protect ourselves and posterity,” he cautioned.
“Let us, therefore, endeavour to restore our relationship with nature by taking steps to do the little we can, by planting trees on our compounds, strengthening the linkage between nature and our cultures and observing traditional laws and promoting traditional approaches to biodiversity conservation and restoration.”
He called for cooperation to improve the governance of natural resources by enhancing institutional capacity for the enforcement of regulations.
The United Nations has declared June 5 as World Environment Day to enhance awareness in stimulating action on critical environmental challenges facing the planet.
This year’s celebrations is on the theme: “Biodiversity,” which draws attention to the need to conserve, restore and ensure the sustainable use of natural resources.
Biodiversity is the variability within and between plants, animals and micro-organisms and the ecosystems that host them.
These various life forms and the ecosystems provide humans with food, water, clean air, medicines and raw materials for their sustenance as well as providing for spiritual/recreational needs.