The National Biodiversity Committee (NBC) has begun a project to review the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), to make it conform to current global conventions.

The project which is also in response to the changing trends in the ecosystem of the country is being undertaken by the NBC in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST).

As part of the process a workshop was held here last Wednesday under the theme, ‘Living in harmony with nature’ for stakeholders to make inputs in the area of conservation in protected areas and those outside protected areas as well as agriculture biodiversity and forest biodiversity. Others are socio-economic considerations of biodiversity conservation, invasive alien species, access to genetic resources and benefit sharing, traditional knowledge and the legal and policy aspects of biodiversity conservation.

The participants, who were drawn from the scientific and environment group, tourism sector, regulators, assemblies, security agencies, the media, the oil and gas sector and the polytechnics, also discussed how the biodiversity sector, and the polytechnics, also discussed how the biodiversity sector could be enhanced to promote equity and development in the country .

Some of the key issues that the NBSAP would focus on, is mapping of an action plan, develop regulatory guidelines including laws for use of biological resources in protected areas, review the 1994 National Forest and Wildlife Policy, formulate a new policy based on the principle of sustainable forest, wildlife and land use management and also review and update existing legislation on biodiversity based on the revised policy.

The Chairman of the NBC, Prof Alfred A.Oteng Yeboah, in a brief remark before the main session began, reiterated that it was necessary for the plans and policies on biodiversity to be revised to reflect the aspirations of global perspective particularly on the Millennium Development Goals which ends in 2015.

He said that it was in view of such concerns that the workshop was being held so that stakeholders would be engaged to discuss and provide ideas as to how to promote the protection of the biodiversity and the ecosystem.
Prof Yeboah said: ‘We have a policy but we need to look at the issues of destruction and that on climate change so that wherever you go, you are ambassadors of biodiversity and sustainable use of biodiversity. Indeed, we must critically look inward and improve the situation-that is the responsibility of everybody and we must think about the future generation.

He again told the participants: “We cannot at all times satisfy human needs at the expense of nature or the entire forest.

The Western Regional Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), MrYaw Sarfo-Afriyie, noted that the survival of man depended on natural resources saying that, the Christian faith for example, believed that God created all the natural resources before creating man in his own image.

Appreciating the role of plants in the survival of man, he said, God gave the order to man to take care of the garden adding that, the idea was to protect biodiversity.

Similarly, Mr Sarfo-Afriyie said the forefathers also attached much importance to environmental management and this was demonstrated in the designation of certain areas as sacred groves stating that the institution of such cultural practices enhanced biodiversity.

“Despite the responsibility to take charge of the environment and all the teachings that we have received over the years, we have destroyed the ecosystem at an alarming rate especially in the last 50 years, he said.

The EPA Director noted that the findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment were startling especially with regards to the number of species that have become extinct and endangered advocating that “for us as a people to continue to enjoy ecosystem services, we need to pursue the path of sustainable development.

“Ecosystem is the wealth of the poor, therefore as a country that is determined in reducing poverty programmes geared towards sustainable use of resources is the key to poverty alleviation – I believe the path we have chosen is in the right direction, Mr Sarfo-Afriyie added.

He was convinced that the caliber, expertise and experience of the participants would reflect in the discussions to reverse the trend and also act as agents of change.

2012. Ghana Government Portal