As part of line up of activities to celebrate the International Day of Forests which falls on today, Tuesday, 21st March, 2023, the Forestry Commission under the Auspices of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, has organised an inter-schools debate competition for PRESEC Legon Senior High School and the Achimota School on the topic; "Mining contributes significantly to Ghana's foreign exchange and GDP. Some of the ore deposits are found in the Forest Reserves. Do you think we should mine in Forest Reserves?"
After intriguing arguments between the two schools on the topic of the day, the judges pronounced Presec Legon Senior High School, who stood against the Motion, winners of the competition as they presented their arguments with factual evidence and convincing speeches, while Achimota School, took the second place speaking for the motion.
Giving the opening statement at the event, Benito Owusu-Bio, the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, responsible for Lands and Forestry underscored the importance of the debate to the students saying "as future leaders we want to inculcate the culture of tree growing and forest conservation into their day to day activities,” adding that “the debate competition is also a way of having fun whilst learning more about the importance of forests to human health."
He also indicated that the United Nations General Assembly in a bid to protect forests worldwide declared March 21 of every year, as the International Day of Forests and for many years, this global celebration has been creating awareness worldwide about the importance of forests and the various aspects that need to be looked at to ensure that the present and future generations can benefit from it.
He also noted that the theme for the celebration as chosen by the United Nations as "Forests and Health" state that Forests provide ecosystem services such as food, fuelwood, medicinal plants, clean water and income, as well as clean air, all of which directly impacts human health and well-being.
He disclosed that the debate competition, which was the first of its kind for second cycle schools, will be sustained and extended to other regions of the country in subsequent years.
Congratulating all participants after the competition, Mr. John Allotey, the CEO of the Forestry Commission said he was delighted by their show of intellectual capacity and urged them to continue learning but hoped that more females will join in the competition next time to make it gender balanced.
He opined that the idea of the competitions was to get students at the first and second cycle schools involved in the fight against climate change and global warming so that the unborn generations can have better environmental conditions in the near future.
Mr. Allotey appreciated the organisers of the competition, the judges and the Ministry for their support in making the competition a total success.
The Winner of the debate competition took home a cash prize of GHC10,000, one desktop computer, a crystal plaque, 10 branded T-shirts, and a certificate for the school while the second place school took home GHC,5000, one desktop computer, a crystal plaque, 10 branded T-shirts, and a certificate for the school.
The Debators also received an extra prize of 15 International Day of Forests 2023 branded exercise books, one pack of pens, and a book titled "Remnants of a Haunted Past" by Kofi Pare.