The Parliament of Ghana, on Friday, passed the Wildlife Resources Management Bill 2022, after its third reading.
A Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, responsible for Lands and Forestry, Benito Owusu-Bio, who moved the motion on behalf of the sector Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, said the Bill seeks to revise and consolidate all laws relating to wildlife and protected areas and bring it in conformity with existing policies and emerging trends in the natural resources sector.
He added that the new legislation will also ensure the effective implementation of International conventions on wildlife, of which Ghana is a signatory.
Additionally, the legislation will give legal backing to local communities in wildlife management through the creation of Community Resource Management Areas (CREMAs) and also introduces higher penalties and sanction regimes for wildlife offences, which is deterrent enough to protect wildlife resources.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources also extended its appreciation and commendation to all its stakeholders and key actors for their input and support throughout the review process and final passage of the Bill.
In a press statement released on the passage over the weekend, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, explained that wildlife and protected areas are currently regulated by the Wild Animals Preservation Act, 1961 (Act 43), the Wildlife Conservation Regulations, 1971 (LI. 685) and the Wildlife Reserves Regulations, 1971 (LI. 710).
“These legislations, enacted over fifty (50) years ago, are not in tune with current international best practices for wildlife protection and management, and do not provide a proper legal framework for the implementation of the Forest and Wildlife Policy, 2012, the Forestry Development Master Plan (2016-2036) and other national and international frameworks that guide sustainable resource management.
“The existing law, also, does not clearly define the aims and objectives of wildlife management and the various categories of protected areas, and lack deterrent sanctions for wildlife offences. On Thursday, October 28, 2021, Cabinet, at its seventeenth meeting, gave approval for the new Wildlife Resources Management Bill, developed through a very extensive consultative process involving both state and non-state actors, to be laid in Parliament, and on Friday, March 3, 2022, I duly laid the Bill in Parliament,” portions of the statement read.
The Lands Minister reiterated in the statement that the new law, among others, brings Ghana’s wildlife law in conformity with existing policies in the sector and provides for the implementation of international conventions on wildlife to which Ghana is a signatory.
“It provides for a new management structure to give legal backing to the involvement of local communities in wildlife management through the creation of Community Resources Management Areas (CREMAS) and provide higher penalties and sanctions regime for wildlife offenses, deterrent enough to protect our wildlife resources,” it added.