EnvironmentNews

CSOs threaten legal action against government over alleged destruction of protected forests

The CSOs namely A Rocha Ghana, Tropenbos Ghana, Civic Response, Nature and Development Foundation, and EcoCare Ghana argue their action is in line with their constitutional duty of safeguarding the natural environment

Some civil society organisations (CSOs) in the country have threatened to drag the government to court over what it describes as attempt to destroy Ghana’s protected forests.

The CSOs namely A Rocha Ghana, Tropenbos Ghana, Civic Response, Nature and Development Foundation, and EcoCare Ghana argue that their action is in line with their constitutional duty of safeguarding the natural environment.

Among their concerns are the issuance of the timber utilisation contract without adherence to the competitive bidding process mandated by Regulation 12 of LI 2254; the absence of parliamentary ratification, as required by Sections 5 and 9 of Act 547, rendering the contract legally void and a plea to restrain the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission from engaging in similar transactions without proper parliamentary approval.

A joint statement issued by the CSOs on Thursday(16 May) called on the government to reconsider its action and engage constructively in resolving the issue.

“Recent developments resulting from the active actions of the Government of Ghana, which has led to unprecedented risk to convert Ghana’s protected forests such as Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas (GSBAs) into logging and mining areas have compelled us to issue a formal notice of intent to pursue civil action against the Government of Ghana.”

“Our constituent team of CSOs include, A Rocha Ghana, Tropenbos Ghana, Civic Response, Nature and Development Foundation, and EcoCare Ghana. We have taken this critical step in accordance with Section 19(1) of the State Proceedings Act, 1998 (Act 555), to fulfil our constitutional duty in safeguarding the natural environment, as enshrined in Article 41(k) of the 1992 Constitution.

In light of the foregoing, we urge the Government to reconsider its actions and engage constructively in resolving this matter in accordance with the rule of law and best practices in natural resource management.

 Below is the full statement:

Reporting by Fred Dzakpata in Accra

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