Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the environmental sector are urging the Government of Ghana to rescind its decision to cede portions of the Achimota forest reserve.
President Akufo-Addo under Executive Instrument 144 has lifted the 1927 classification of the Achimota Forest in the Greater Accra Region as a Forest Reserve, paving way for its redesignation, reclassification, sale and development by other interests.
The Executive Instrument was gazetted on behalf of President Akufo-Addo on 19th April, 2022 and came into effect on 1st May 2022. Per this Executive Instrument, a fourth of the original size of the gazetted forest has been chipped away.
Reacting to the concerns raised after issuing the controversial Executive Instrument, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abdulai Jinapo yesterday disclosed that, it was only some portions of the forest that would be given back the rightful owners and not the entire forest reserve.
In a statement however, the CSOs said, it was deeply concerned that part of the Achimota Forest, Accra’s one and only precious urban forest, has been degazetted and is no longer a Forest Reserve.
“We are shocked that “the President is satisfied that the land specified in the schedule is no longer required as a Forest Reserve”, especially now when government is inviting companies to invest heavily in Forest Reserve restoration for the Green Ghana Day 2022.”
“We do not understand how degazetting part of Achimota Forest Reserve will “ensure development that is consistent with the area of the Forest Reserve” and instead believe the opposite is true: That ceding its Forest Reserve status will open it up to all types of development which will adversely affect the integrity of the area as a Forest Reserve”, the statement said.
The undersigned CSOs are the Legal Working Group, A Rocha Ghana, EcoCare Ghana, Civic Response, Nature and Development Foundation, Viridis Environmental Consult, Kasa Initiative Ghana, Ghana Wildlife Society, Bureau of Public Safety, Advocates for Biodiversity Conservation, Forest Watch Ghana and 350 Ghana Reducing Our Carbon.
Source: GH Environment