Stakeholders from the Forestry and Environmental Sector, Water Resources, Civil Societies as well as Traditional Authorities from the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area, NGOs, Faith Based Groups and Hon. Assembly Members from the four districts around Atewa Forest Reserve gathered at the Coconut Grove Regency Hotel, in Accra today the 18th of November, 2013 to discuss challenges confronting Atewa Forest Reserve. The Summit which is dubbed "Atiwa Forest a Heritage at the Crossroads, What Future?" will run for two days.
In attendance were dignitaries such as Peter Harris (Co-founder of A Rocha International), Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Alhaji Inusah Fuseini with Daasebre Awuah Kotoko II chairing the occassion.
Stakeholders are asking for an upgrade in the protection status of Atewa, from a Forest Reserve to a National Park. This is intended to secure the reserve against illegal and legal activities such as logging, surface mining, encroachment from farmers and unsustainable hunting practices currently threatening the ecological integrity of the forest reserve. Atewa Forest Reserve was gazetted as a Forest Reserve in 1926, and has assumed several national and global protection status such as Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA), Important Bird Area (IBA) and a Hill Sanctuary. Even more important is the many ecosystem services and goods that Atewa provides. Atewa Forest Reserve is the source of potable drinking water for over 5 million Ghanaians in the Greater Accra and Eastern Regions of Ghana. These however have not served to ensure Atewa receives the protection that it deserves.
The Atewa Summit is therefore expected to come out with a clear road map and strategies for consideration by government, policy makers and the legislature to put in place the necessary legal frameworks to ensure Atewa is upgraded to a National Park status, so it can continue to provide the important ecosystem services that it is currently serving.
The organisers of the Summit A Rocha Ghana and the Coalition of NGOs Against Mining (CONAMA) in Atewa, expect public support for the consensus that will be agreed at this important Summit. Collaborative actions by stakeholders for Atewa will continue. We are therefore asking the general public to log on to this website to sign the petition or sign on to this other link https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/mailalert/932/ghana-s-atiwa-rainforest-must-be-protected to add your voice to the campaign to save Atewa.
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