Ms Barbara Asamoah, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has hinted that the Ministry intends to raise the status of the Atiwa Forest to the standard of a national park.
She called for the involvement of all stakeholders in the forest and water sectors to join the initiative and ensure that, a real change is achieved for the benefit of the environment and the people.
Ms Asamoah made the call at the launch of “Living water from the mountain-Protecting Atewa Water Resources”, a project initiated by a Non- Governmental Organization (NGO) “A Rocha Ghana” and funded by the Dutch Government.
She called on communities around the forest to play an active role in ensuring sustainable management of the project to enable them benefit from the natural resources in their localities.
She implored all key stakeholders to show commitment and diligence and ensure that, the project and other ongoing interventions and new projects that would come on board are successfully executed.
Most Rev. Dr Aboagye Mensah , Vice Chairman of A Rocha Ghana Board, said, the duty of preserving the forests, water bodies and the general environment should not only be to the benefit of the people but that the people owed it a duty to their children, to bequeath to them a brighter and better future.
He indicated that the challenges and issues transcends individuals, institutions and political parties and calls for all hands to be on deck and warned that any delayed actions would simply cost society more.
Mr Seth Appiah Kubi, National Director, A Rocha Ghana, said water and water security was important in the socio economic development of a country, adding that, quality water sustains good health and the well-being of the people.
He indicated that, the project was designed for the long term protection and sustenance of the Atewa Forest Reserve and other forest reserves and water bodies in the country.
Ms Caecilia Wijgers, Deputy Head of Missions, Dutch Embassy, said without forest there would be no water and many people would suffer as a result of that and agriculture and human activities would be impeded.
She indicated that the Dutch Government’s commitment and contribution is to ensure that the project becomes beneficial to small, medium and large scale businesses and provide employment and income to the people.
Mr Atta Owusu, Eastern Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission, condemned human activities such as illegal on the ever dwindling forest resources.
He called on all to assist the Forestry Commission to protect and safeguard the forest reserves from encroachers.
The launching of the project was marked with a float through the streets of Kyebi and presentation of a petition by A Rocha Ghana to the Okyenhene and the East Akyem Municipal Assembly on the mass destruction of the Atewa Forest Reserve, which was affecting the forest and water bodies in the area.