The Economics of Atewa Range Forest
“Clearly, we simply cannot continue doing business as usual and to this I reiterate the commitment of the Government of Ghana to designate Atewa Range Forest Reserve as a National Park”.
Hon. Nii Osah Mills – Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.
Clean and accessible water is a vital life supporting element for all living things. It is projected that, by 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water.The need for the protection of watersheds is very important in securing water availability and supply for the present and future generations. The Atewa Forest reserve is one important ecosystem that serves as the source for three river basins in Ghana; providing water to over 5 million Ghanaians. Competing claims for the extraction of the forest’s mineral and timber resources due to their present economic value will result in the depletion of water provisioning services and other significant environmental services the forest provides.
Atewa TEEB Report Launch
In order to understand the economic value of ecosystem services provided by the Atewa Forest reserve, A TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity)report was launched on November 9, 2016 by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills at the Netherlands Embassy. The Atewa TEEB study demonstrates in economic terms, the costs and benefits of current developments within the Atewa forest landscape. The study leading to this report was commissioned by IUCN NL and A Rocha Ghana as part of the ‘Living Water from the mountain – Protecting Atewa water resources’ project. The study received support from the Forestry Commission, the Water Resource Commission and the NGO Coalition against Mining Atewa (CONAMA) and financial assistance of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the Ghana – Netherlands WASH Program(GNWP).
Significance of the Report
The findings of the report shall inform the Government of Ghana in deciding the most optimal and long term sustainable forest management option that yields high economic benefits for the Atewa range and associated river basins.
The minister in his address during the launch expressed the commitment of government to designate Atewa forest as a National Park. Present at the report launch were partners from the Forestry Commission, Water Resources Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana-Netherlands WASH Program, IUCN Netherlands, IUCN Ghana, community representatives and the business community represented by Guinness Ghana who recently launch a Water Blue Print program.
Living Water from the Mountain Project
In line with Goal 15 of the Sustainable Development Goals which seeks to “Ensure access to water and sanitation for all”; A Rocha Ghana with support from IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands, initiated the Living Water from the Mountain Project which aims at protecting the Atewa Forest Reserve in order to secure water availability and supply to households and business that depend on it for their domestic, agricultural and industrial use. The ultimate goal of the project is to ensure long term sustainable management of the Atewa Range Forest Reserve by designating it as a National Park and investing in sustainable landscape management within its buffer zones.