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Ministry of Lands and British High Commission celebrate Green Ghana Day and Queen’s platinum anniversary

Benito Owusu-Bio, deputy minister of lands and natural resources (right), and the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Harriet Thompson

Benito Owusu-Bio, deputy minister of lands and natural resources, and the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Her Excellency Harriet Thompson

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the British High Commission have marked Green Ghana Day and the Queen’s platinum anniversary with a tree planting exercise at the Queen Elizabeth II Education Foundation in Accra today (Tuesday 7 June 2022).

Addressing the gathering, the deputy minister of lands and natural resources Benito Owusu-Bio, who represented the sector minister at the occasion, announced that: “Just three days from today – that is, 10 June – the whole nation will be planting at least 20 million trees on that day, and this will be led by His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.”

Benito Owusu-Bio, deputy minister of lands and natural resources, plants a tree during the ceremony

He recounted how Green Ghana Day is one element of an aggressive reforestation/afforestation strategy by the government to restore Ghana’s lost forest cover and contribute to the global effort to fight climate change and its adverse effects on livelihoods.

He urged all Ghanaians, and especially students, to participate actively in the tree planting day to build a sustainable future. Owusu-Bio also said that to inculcate in schoolchildren the culture of planting, growing and nurturing trees, the One Student, One Tree initiative has been launched at the Aggrey Memorial AME Zion Senior High School in Cape Coast. The intention is for One Student, One Tree to take place annually.

Speaking on behalf of the sector minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, he also expressed the Government of Ghana’s appreciation to the British High Commissioner for her willingness to collaborate with the ministry to take part in the national tree planting exercise and also celebrate the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth acceding to the throne.

Her Excellency Harriet Thompson, British High Commissioner to Ghana, plants a tree during the joint ceremony

He commended the school officials highly for hosting the initiative, and thanked them for the opportunity to launch such an important national event. The deputy minister said he hoped it is the start of a collaborative civic effort to protect the environment.

Addressing the gathering, the British High Commissioner, Harriet Thompson, said she was honoured to be taking part in such a historic event. She expressed her utmost appreciation to the government and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for their tireless efforts in greening Ghana.

She encouraged everyone to take part in the tree planting and described the importance of trees to society and the environment.

“Trees are precious to us,” Thompson said. “They help to keep this hot temperature down, provide homes for nature and wildlife, and they also help to clean our water and help to clean our air and, most importantly, help stop climate change,” she said.

Thompson added that the high commission is very much looking forward to the joining the ministry to green Ghana come 10 June 2022.

The British High Commissioner with students of Aggrey Memorial AME Zion SHS

The administrator of the school, Ebenezer Nartey, who welcomed the dignitaries, presented a history of the school and how it acquired the Queen’s name.

He thanked the ministry and the high commission for choosing to honour the school with such a historic occasion.

Nartey also made a passionate appeal to both the ministry and the high commission to assist the school to rehabilitate the premises and furnish the school with certain logistics.

The school gained the name the Queen Elizabeth II Day Nursery Centre when Queen Elizabeth II, the queen of England, accompanied Ghana’s first president, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, to pay a visit to the school on 11 November 1961.

The flags of Ghana and the United Kingdom were hoisted at the ceremony

This was subsequently changed to the Queen Elizabeth II Education Foundation, the name that the school bears today. Provision has also been transformed from crèche and nursery to basic 1 (primary) through to nine levels.

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