President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reminded Ghanaians of the urgent need to restore the country’s forest resources, as much as possible, to their original state.
“We do not have tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow to do this. We have to act now! Today’s nationwide exercise will not be a one-off event. We intend to enhance ongoing afforestation programmes, and see to the sustainable exploitation of our forest resources,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said this on Friday after planting a tree at the forecourt of Jubilee House, as part of the “Green Ghana Day”, a day set aside to plant some five million trees across the country.
President Akufo-Addo explained that the forest is one of the most important natural resources of Ghana. He explained that its continuous existence creates jobs; provides incomes for local communities; serves as a source of foreign exchange earnings through timber product exports; and offers environmental protection, including watershed protection and climate change regulation.
“However, the exploitation of forest resources for national development has not been sustainable over the years. Deforestation and forest degradation are the greatest challenges to sustainable forest management in Ghana today,” the President said.
“The consequential effect of deforestation and forest degradation is severe climate change, which has dire consequences for our livelihoods, specifically the drying up of our water bodies, the pollution of our waters, loss of our prime timber species, loss of biodiversity, and change in rainfall patterns and weather conditions in the country,” he added.
The President reiterated his determination to lead the restoration of the lost forest cover of the country, with the attempt to regulate and sanitize the small-scale mining industry being one such initiative to help keep Ghana’s forest cover and reserves intact.
“I assure the Ghanaian people that Government is determined to ensure the survival of the five million trees being planted today. Together, we must and will protect our environment and ecosystem, and we must contribute to the world’s agenda at combating global warming. We have to protect planet earth and our homeland, Ghana,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He appealed to all Ghanaians to embrace the Green Ghana initiative introduced by Government, adding that “it is an ambitious initiative, and we will make the necessary effort to sustain it. God willing, this event will be an annual one, and planting targets will be reviewed upwards every year.”
The President extended his appreciation to some prominent citizens who had embraced the initiative, and committed themselves to supporting this national endeavour, by planting a tree each.
They included the First Lady, Vice-President, Second Lady, the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice, the Chief of Staff at the Office of the President, the Asantehene, the Overlord of Dagbon, the Okyenhene and the National Chief Imam.
He was equally grateful to the leaders of the Church of Pentecost, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, and other faith-based organisations for their support and commitment to this noble project.
“Whilst we all plant trees today, let us resolve to nurture, grow, and protect them to maturity. We have a collective responsibility to leave future generations and their communities with richer, more valuable forest and wildlife endowment than we inherited,” he added.