Within the framework of “The living water from the mountain project,” A Rocha Ghana has commissioned a TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) study. This study, the first of its kind in Ghana is aimed at justifying the improved protection of the Atewa forest, so as to safeguard its hydrological, ecological and socio-economic benefits. The objective of this TEEB study is to assess the economic value of key ecosystem services notably water provided by the Atewa forest.
The study to be conducted in partnership with the Institute for Environmental Sciences (IVM) of the VU University, Amsterdam, Wolfs Company and IUCN Netherlands (NL-IUCN) as well as other local consultants notably Water Resources Commission was outdoored at an inception workshop held at Alisa Hotel.
As part of the research, led by Prof. Pieter Van Beukering (Open University of Amsterdam) the study would estimate costs related to the mitigation of various impacts and the reduction of risks related to industrial mining and other activities that compromise the ecosystem services. It would also develop a model to predict the socioeconomic impacts of ecological and hydrological changes to the Atewa forest and the Denu River.
The TEEB study would raise awareness and create insight on the important contribution of the Atewa range forest reserve to its local and national stakeholders in order to make culturally acceptable and equitable decisions on the use of these natural resources.
It was highlighted that the TEEB outcomes would contribute to the decision making process to improve protection of the Atewa forest and at the same time work towards a government led process to change the protection status of Atewa from a forest reserve into a National Park.
At the TEEB inception workshop, threats to the Atewa forest generally identified by the participants were logging, encroachment, mining and lack of law enforcement. Another key issue that was highlighted was the fact that majority of the populace did not know the economic value and importance of the forest.
The solutions identified by the participants were intensive education and sensitization on the importance of the Atewa forest, massive press campaigns and documentary, alternate livelihoods to be created for the encroachers, equitable distribution of resources among the various stakeholders, sustainable financing for conservation as a policy decision, awareness among politicians and massive law enforcement should be increased.
The team would work in a close collaboration with IUCN NL, the Forestry Commission, the Water Resources Commissions and other partners under the framework of the Living water project by A Rocha Ghana.
In all there were approximately 60 participants with presence from 7 media houses. The participants were key stakeholders including the forestry commission, Ghana Water Company Ltd, Environmental Protection Agency, Water Resources Commission, Forestry Commission, and Non Governmental Organizations like Civic Response, HERP Ghana, Save the Frogs! And Ghana Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis.