Key Issues Requiring Action
Biological resources remain the cornerstone of the country's march towards achieving socio-economic and cultural development and growth. They are undoubtedly a major capital asset with an excellent potential for yielding sustainable benefits.
- Decisions on the sustainable utilisation of the country's biological resources will be guided by pragmatic approaches which assess the full socio-economic and environmental costs and benefits thereof.
- At the same time that there is the recognition of the immense potentials of biological resources, Ghana's biological diversity continues to be destroyed and lost, This realization about the possible consequences of degradation or loss of biodiversity to mankind in general and Ghana in particular calls for urgent and decisive actions towards the sustainable management and use of biological resources. Any time a portion of the forest is lost, a habitat for various species of animals and plants gets destroyed. At the same time, a few species, including rare, endemic and already threatened ones, also perish and die out.
- Decisions relating to the sustainable utilisation of biological resources will be based on the best applicable knowledge available. Information to ensure the sustainable utilisation of biodiversity will also be available in an accessible form.
- Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage to biodiversity, the inadequacy of scientific knowledge will not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent degradation or loss.
- The role of local communities and the wealth of traditional knowledge in the conservation of biological diversity must be recognised, protected, maintained, promoted and used with the approval and involvement of those who possess this knowledge.
- Public awareness and education is essential for ensuring the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable utilisation of its components.
- The success of the programmes for the conservation of the country's biodiversity will be supported by a number of economic and social incentive measures and sanctions.
At the national and local levels, there are issues that need to be considered now that Ghana has agreed to put the utmost premium on the conservation of genetic resources, species and ecosystem, with the view to harnessing the natural resources endowment for development and growth. Such issues may, among others, include:
- building and enhancing capacities at both national and local levels for the assessment, study and systematic observation and evaluation of biodiversity needs, as well as exchange of data and information;
- identifying and implementing effective national actions and soliciting and promoting international cooperation for biodiversity management, particularly for in-situ and ex-situ protection of genetic and species diversity, as well as the enhancement of ecological functions and processes;
- effectively empowering and granting full and active participation and soliciting the support of local communities, traditional authorities, and other stakeholders in the sustainable management of biodiversity and the use of its components;
- promoting the effective and efficient use of recent advances in environmentally sound technologies, including biotechnology, in fields such as agriculture and health and instituting appropriate channels and mechanisms for their transfer;
- incorporating the useful wealth of traditional resource use and conservation knowledge and skills into modem technologies and making these available to all stakeholders;
- educating and creating awareness among all stakeholders about the status and importance of biodiversity as well as the need to conserve them;
- developing appropriate measures and structures for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from research, development and the use of biodiversity.
- redefining and asserting tenurial rights that guarantee fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the access and right to biological resources.
- establishing a National Biodiversity Commission in the medium term, to ensure effective coordination of all issues related to biodiversity management.