Sunday, 23 June

CSOs eyes civil action against government over alleged destruction of protected forests

General News
Atewa forest range

Several Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Ghana have issued a stern warning to the government, threatening to take legal action over what they perceive as attempts to damage the country's protected forests.

A Rocha Ghana, Tropenbos Ghana, Civic Response, Nature and Development Foundation, and EcoCare Ghana jointly expressed their concerns, stating that their actions are driven by their Constitutional obligation to protect the natural environment.

The CSOs outlined several grievances, including the issuance of timber utilization contracts without following the required competitive bidding process mandated by Regulation 12 of LI 2254. 

They also highlighted the absence of Parliamentary ratification, as stipulated by Sections 5 and 9 of Act 547, rendering the contracts legally void. 

Additionally, they called for the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission to be restrained from engaging in similar transactions without proper Parliamentary approval.

In a joint statement issued on Thursday, May 16, 2024, the CSOs urged the government to reconsider its actions and engage in constructive dialogue to address the issue.

The statement read, "Recent developments, including the government's actions leading to the unprecedented risk of converting Ghana's protected forests, such as Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas (GSBAs), into logging and mining areas, have compelled us to formally notify our intent to pursue civil action against the Government of Ghana."

The CSOs emphasized their commitment to fulfilling their constitutional duty to safeguard the natural environment, as enshrined in Article 41(k) of the 1992 Constitution.

Concluding their statement, the CSOs called on the government to adhere to the rule of law and best practices in natural resource management and engage constructively to resolve the matter.

The CSOs' stance underscores the importance of preserving Ghana's natural habitats and highlights the ongoing tension between environmental conservation and economic development initiatives

Source: Mensah