The Save Atewa Campaign

Atewa Forest provides clean water daily to 5 million people, from communities in the heart of the forest all the way down to the coastal city of Accra. Those fresh water sources rise from Ghana’s mountaintops, the very same place that Ghana’s government wants to mine bauxite. It is undeniable that bauxite mining causes water pollution. It is even dangerous to touch it. With illegal gold mining already damaging communities’ water sources, bauxite mining will be another nail in the coffin of the forest’s water provision services.

Besides its critical water provision role, Atewa Forest’s uniqueness as a highly biodiverse upland evergreen forest provides habitats for a vast range of animals, insects, plants, and trees. Some of these live only in Atewa Forest and nowhere else in the world. But their habitats would be lost. Bauxite mining is strip mining: it removes all the trees, vegetation and topsoil across vast areas, leaving a barren desert of red mud. This would be the fate of their forest home.

The Campaign

A Rocha Ghana is leading the campaign to save Atewa Forest from the Ghanaian government’s plans to mine bauxite, and to upgrade Atewa’s protection status from Protected Forest Reserve to National Park. 

With the new threat of bauxite mining in 2017, the campaign stepped up to vehemently oppose this planned development. Many stakeholders are involved. Atewa’s communities walked 95km from their forest home to Accra symbolically delivering clean water to Ghana’s government, while A Rocha Ghana has sought global support from NGOs, private sector, and citizens to collectively ‘say no’ to bauxite mining in Atewa. 

Global petitions, letters from aluminium user companies, a Motion to the IUCN, and now a court case in Ghana’s Supreme Court are amongst the many actions pushing government to rescind its bauxite mining decision for Atewa.

Green alternatives for Atewa

A Rocha Ghana together with several other organizations and partners are also offering solutions – green development alternatives – that protect the Atewa Forest while providing clean green rewarding jobs to the unemployed youth and poverty reduction for forest communities. Options include 

    • – Green value chains for cocoa voacanga, afromomom (grains of paradise) and avocado; 
    • –Ecotourism with walks in the forest, nights sleeping in the treetops, and the chance to see the world’s most trafficked mammal – the Pangolin – for real in the forest. Cable car trips above the forest canopy and mountain top bike rides.
    • –Centres for science, learning, and medicine

 There are so many options for keeping Atewa Forest intact while also bringing jobs and livelihoods the forest communities for now and the future. Ghana’s unborn generations deserve to enjoy the benefits of Atewa Forest, just as we do today. We need to keep the shade provided by Atewa Forest for water, wild animals and climate services intact today for generations tomorrow.

How can you help

Spread the word and mobilize your organization, your networks, associations, and your colleagues at work, to write letters to the government, talk to people about why any plans to mine Atewa

Forest must be reversed, and tell them about all the green alternatives Ghana can pursue instead. Ask the government to make Atewa Forest a National Park.

More information

Listen to an interview with Daryl Bosu from A Rocha Ghana for BBC World Service, Focus on Africa about the campaign to save Atewa Forest (beginning at 31 minutes)

Shopping Basket