Government urged to formulates coastal management policy to manage climate change and natural disasters

Government urged to formulates coastal management policy to manage climate change and natural disasters

Government has been tasked to expedite the formulation of a coastal management policy to guide the implementation of activities along Ghana's coastlines in the face of climate change and natural disasters.

Mr Jonathan Gokah, the Coordinator, Kasa Initiative Ghana, noted that the absence of a coastal management policy in the country was hindering efforts towards mitigating climate change and natural disasters.

Mr Gokah was speaking at the Mangrove Project Closure Workshop held by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in .

IUCN has been implementing a project dubbed: “Management of Mangroves Forest from ” spanning 2019 to 2024, which sought to achieve integrated protection of the diverse and fragile mangrove ecosystems in .

IUCN carried out activities in the Mono-Volta landscape including the Lagoon in Ghana, Roy Mouth in , and Mono Delta Biosphere Reserve in Benin and .

The project has achieved a lot of successes, including restoration of degraded mangrove sites, developing capacities of communities to enhance livelihoods of six communities in the Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar Site Management.

The project closure workshop was to share lessons, challenges, experiences for upscaling and policy integration.

Mangroves are vital ecosystems, which provide numerous benefits including costal protection, nurseries for marine life and carbon sequestration.

Mr Gokah said: “We are supposed to build resilience on our coastlines in order to ensure community resilience and sustainability.”

“We are dragging our feet because of resources issues. The Ministry needs some level of resources to engage stakeholders to pick information that would go into this document.”

“Currently there is a lot of collaboration that ought to be done between MESTI and other ministries who have activities across the coastline of Ghana to achieve this. Resources are not available immediately.”

Mr Gokah noted that building of sea defence for example along the coast had mitigated challenges of Ghana's Coastlines, adding that it was important that more nature-based approaches such as planting of more trees along coastlines were done.

Ms Dorcas Owusuaa Agyei, the National Coordinator, IUCN- Ghana Project Office, said the project aimed at achieving an integrated protection of diversity and fragile ecosystems of mangrove in West Africa to enhance resilience in the face of climate change.

Despite the enormous benefits of mangroves, they constantly faced alarming degradation globally, with devastating impacts on biodiversity, livelihood and climate change.

Annually, there was one to two per cent loss of Mangrove Forest globally, with an estimated 30 to 50 per cent decline in cover over the past 50 years.

Ms Agyei said in Ghana, there had been a 1.4 per cent loss of Mangrove Forest annually from 2010 to 2020, with an estimated 25 per cent loss of cover over the past 20 years.

She was elated that the Mangrove project, which was implemented in nine West African countries, including Senegal Ghana, Bissau, Guinea, , and Benin had made some significant strides.

She said in Ghana, the project had led to the restoration of 55.5 hectares of degraded mangrove areas in six communities.

Additionally, over 300 households have benefitted from diverse livelihood opportunities and a review of management plan of the Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar Site.

She said about 75 community fire volunteers were equipped with tools in the event of a fire outbreak to fight it.

Mr Anthony Mba, the Project Officer, IUCN Ghana Project Office, said under the project, the capacity of 300 children have been built on mangroves, adding: “This is to boost their interest in mangroves in the area of research and its sustainability.”

He cited the outbreak and management of community expectations as some of the challenges the project faced.

However, he said, IUCN would continue to champion the development policy briefs on the promotion of nature-based approaches in coastal activities.

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