Some stakeholders in the Savannah Ecological Zone have undergone training on environmental and social risks management and grievance redress mechanism to enable them manage risks and deal with grievances resulting from project activities and implementation.
The training is a requirement for World Bank funded projects with focus on the implementation of the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining Project (GLRSSMP) being carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.
The training sought to prepare relevant stakeholders to effectively manage risks and impacts resulting from project activities and also to deal with grievances, queries or complaints from affected communities and various interest groups that may arise as a result of implementing the project.
It was organised by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and brought together stakeholders, including the Departments of Agriculture, the Forestry Commission, the District Assemblies, Wildlife Division, and EPA, among others from the Savannah, Upper East, Upper West and North East Regions where the project is implemented in Northern Ghana.
Mr Asher Nkegbe, the Head of Technical Coordination Office, GLRSSMP, noted that the specific development objective of the project, which is building on the experiences of the erstwhile Sustainable Land and Water Management Project, was to strengthen integrated natural resources management and increase benefits to communities in targeted Savannah and Cocoa forest landscapes.
“The GLRSSMP activities are expected to lead to improved and sustainable land management practices, reversal of land degradation, improved agricultural productivity, improved revenue for small-scale miners and cash crop farmers, job creation as well as improved spatial planning through integration of watershed management and development plans,” he said.
Mr Nkegbe, who is also the Upper East Regional Director of the EPA, explained that the project had undertaken riparian activities, transplanting over 41,000 bamboo and other suitable seedlings along the White Volta and its tributaries within the Mamprugu-Moagduri, West Mamprusi, Bawku West and Talensi Districts.
Apart from sensitising communities along the White Volta River to protect the buffer zones as stipulated in the Riparian Buffer Zone Policy, a 60,000-capacity nursery has been established at Guzongo-Galaka Number Two in the Sapeliga area in Bawku West District to aid in the riparian restoration process, he said.
“This activity to help save the river has become very necessary as the White Volta, a very important national asset, is getting heavily silted and eroded due to reduced river bank vegetative cover and buffer zone encroachment,” he added.
Mr Nkegbe noted that the Technical Coordination Office in collaboration with the Wildlife Division was currently developing environmental safeguards to minimise and mitigate adverse impact of elephant invasion of communities during farming season.
Mr Osei Karikari, Safeguards Officer, GLRSSMP, said the training was to empower the stakeholders with the World Bank stipulated environmental and social risks management and grievances redress mechanism system who would intend educate the communities where the project was being implemented.
Mr Karikari who is also the Acting Director of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, EPA, noted that stakeholders needed to be aware of the community structures and how they could deal with such structures to ensure successful implementation of the project and urged them to ensure proper community entry to avoid disagreement.
The six-year project seeks to contribute to restoring the livelihoods of the vulnerable especially in the rural communities and contributing to Ghana’s effort to attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly, goals one, 13 and 15.