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How Ghana fares In Biodiversity Conservation

Chantal AidooBy Chantal Aidoo

The diversity of life on earth— the diversity of biological organisms, known more popularly by the term biodiversity— is considered by some as one of our most valuable resources that the earth is endowed with.

Diversity among organisms includes both genetic diversity and species diversity.



Genetic diversity may be defined as differences in genetic makeup between individuals of the same species while species diversity may be defined as the number of different species in a given ecosystem.

In recent years there has been increasing concern that modern agricultural production practices are contributing to the decline of both species diversity and genetic diversity, or in simpler terms biodiversity.

Ghana has a rich stock of biological diversity as it lies within the three main bio-geographical zones, namely the south western portion within the Guinea-Congolese zone, the middle belt within the Guinea-Congolese/Sudanese transition zone and the northern-tip of the country which falls within the Sudanese zone.

In Ghana, the conservation of biological diversity is based on eleven guiding principles, some of which are the conservation ethics, including the inherent right to existence of all living forms, which is deeply rooted in the indigenous socio-cultural values of Ghanaians; that biological resources are natural capital and that their conservation should be an investment that will yield benefits locally, nationally and globally for the present and future generations; that benefits accruing from the utilisation of biological diversity are to be shared equitably and fairly among all stakeholders and that benefits arising from the innovative use of traditional and customary knowledge of biological diversity should also be equitably shared with those from whom the knowledge has been acquired.

The rest are: that the conservation of biological diversity should be integrated at all levels into national, regional, district and sectoral planning efforts to implement the goals and objectives of the policy effectively, that the role of local communities and the wealth of traditional knowledge in the conservation, management and utilization of biological diversity must be recognized, protected, maintained, promoted and used with the approval and involvement of those who possess this knowledge.

Government, in recognition of the important role the biological resources play in national efforts towards the realisation of socio-economic and cultural growth development, therefore, aims to transform the country into a middle-income status where people live in harmony with the natural environment and derive optimum benefits through sustainable use of the country’s rich biodiversity.
The long-term goal of Ghana’s strategy is to achieve the conservation and sustainable management of the country’s biological diversity and this is to be achieved throughout the whole country and within all representative ecological zones.

Consequently, the implementation of the Convention (WHICH CONVENTION?) has been geared towards the use of actions that are in consonance primarily with the protected areas that have been established to reflect the various ecosystems in the country.

An observation of the 7 goals and 11 objectives, including their individual targets, of the 2010 biodiversity target provides the basis to understand how Ghana has unassumingly been addressing very important aspects of the global target.

Indeed, reference can be made to all the seven goals of the biodiversity target, namely: protection of biodiversity components, promotion of sustainable use, threats to biodiversity, maintenance of goods and services from biodiversity to support human wellbeing, protection of traditional knowledge, innovation and practices, ensuring the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from use of genetic resources and the provision of adequate resources from which one can easily appreciate and understand the kind of contribution that are generated from Ghana, through the protected areas and other well-conserved areas in off-reserves, which are considered substantial.

From the 4 goals and 19 objectives of the Strategic Plan of the Convention, some of which are to be considered at the level of the Convention itself, the conservation effort of Ghana as a contribution to the global strategy is appreciable and much of the information obtained from a consideration of the different conservation activities undertaken in the protected areas and other facilities are quite significant.

 

Source: ISD

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