Mr Jonathan Gokah (right), Coordinator, Kasa Initiative Ghana, addressing journalists at the press conference. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo
The two major political parties paid little attention to securing the country’s natural resources in their 2020 manifestos, Kasa Initiative, a platform of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that support advocacy on environmental issues, has observed.
According to the initiative, an assessment of the manifestos of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) showed that little attention was devoted to issues bordering on securing the forest and nature protection, green development options, circular economy or nature-based solutions.
Addressing a news conference in Accra, the Coordinator of the group, Mr Jonathan Gokah, said the manifestos were assessed under the topics of forests and wildlife, mining and the environment, climate change, ecological agriculture, green development and circular economy, nature-based solutions and coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The event sought to hold political parties accountable and committed to the natural resources, as well as integrate the protection of the environment in the manifestos and it was on the theme: “Greening the political agenda of Ghana.”
Mr Gokah said the manifestos touched more on exploitative and extractive systems that had caused the existing environmental and natural resource problems instead of considering the future generation.
Touching on forest and wildlife, he said both parties made a commitment to forest restoration through afforestation by the youth and plantation development.
Mr Gokah indicated that the commitment of the parties to tree planting, though positive, needed to be targeted at much greater points if they were to achieve positive impacts.
On small-scale mining, he said both parties had made commitments to small-scale environmentally friendly community mining investments, but added that enforcement had always been a barrier.
The assessment also revealed that the parties had committed to extending water services to ensure access to clean water for all.
It, however, indicated that extending water services would not be sustainable unless the water bodies to supply those services were also protected.
The Deputy Director of Arocha Ghana, one of the CSOs, Mr Daryl Bosu, said it was expected that manifestos would promote issues of exclusion at the grass roots; however, the two manifestos remained the same despite calls to “build back better” in post-COVID-19.
He also urged the government to stop mining in the forest and instead seek green development options that created rewarding sustainable jobs.