Pressure on gov’t to pass WRM Bill

Friends of the Earth Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), in collaboration with some environmentalists has mounted pressure on government to pass the Wildlife Resources Management (WRM) Bill.

According to the group, the WRM Bill, which has been in and out of Parliament since 2014, is yet to catch the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources’ attention, let alone go to Cabinet.

Addressing some selected media organisations at a day’s workshop which was held in Accra to build the capacity of the people from the inky fraternity, the Executive Director of Wildlife Society, Mr Eric Lartey explained that many of Ghana’s forest and wildlife resources were under intense encroachment and destruction by illegal settlements, farming, poaching, mining and chainsaw operations.

According to him, these illegal practices were serious threats to the forest reserves and protected areas.

Mr Lartey noted that a number of actions had been taken as a means of dealing with the situation, some of which include the use of Rapid Response Teams within the Forestry Commission to augment the operations of the military and Police Task Forces but to no avail.

The executive director of Wildlife Society, however, believed passing of the Wildlife Resources Management will be the best way out.

“This is to incorporate the previsions of the various International Conventions relating to wildlife, which Ghana has ratified into the domestic legislation,” he said.

The bill, according to the executive director, was  “further aimed at involving management of wildlife resources in rural communities that are host to Ghana’s wildlife.”

Mr Lartey hinted that a critical concept captured in the WRM Bill, which is very relevant to the management of wildlife and forest resources, by host communities, is the Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) thus the urgent need for government to pass the Bill.

He, therefore, called on the media to join the crusade to get the bill pass considering it’s important to advocate for its passage by garnering the needed support from various stakeholders in order to put pressure on government to ensure its passage.

The WRM Bill was first presented to parliament in March 2015 and was read for a second time in October 2016, but was not passed into law until the dissolution of the 6th Parliament on the midnight of Friday, 6th of January, 2017.

 

Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

Writer’s email: franklin.asare-donkor@todaygh.com

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