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NDC MP for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa urges strategic approach to combat desertification

June 18, 2024
NDC MP for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa urges strategic approach to combat desertification

Mr Alhassan Kobina Ghansah, the National Democratic Congress () Member of (MP) for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, has reiterated the need for Ghana to have a strategic approach to combating desertification.

Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations.

He said Ghana needed to be active in working to address desertification and drought issues, particularly in the five northern regions of the country, where desertification was most prevalent.

Mr Ghansah made the call in a statement he presented on the floor of Parliament on Friday, to mark World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on theme “United for Land: Our Legacy. Our Future”.

The General Assembly declared 17 June, to be “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought” by its resolution adopted in December 1994.

This seeks to mobilize all parts of society in support of sustainable land stewardship and contribute to the advancement of several other (SDGs).

Mr Ghansah said desertification and drought were issues of global interest because they affected all regions of the world, and therefore a need to join hands with the international community to address them, particularly in Africa.

He said globally about 5.2 billion hectares, constituting 39.7 per cent of the total 13 billion hectares terrestrial area of the earth is under threat of desertification and about 46 per cent of the total area of Africa was affected by the same.

He said dryland ecosystems, which cover over one-third of the world‘s land area, were extremely vulnerable to over-exploitation and inappropriate land use.

“The daily decisions we make on what to buy, eat, drink, wear, and how to travel all impact land resources,” he said.

“Droughts are among the greatest threats to sustainable development, especially in developing countries, but increasingly so in developed nations too.”

It is estimated that by 2050 droughts may affect over three-quarters of the world's population, he said.

He reiterated that it was important to put all mechanisms at the forefront of global efforts to restore land to health and boost drought resilience; saying “this will help in land restoration to reduce poverty, hunger, and malnutrition”.

He said the Ghana Environmental Management Project (GEMP), the Sustainable Land and Water Management Project (SLWMP), and the Adaptation Fund Project had made significant strides in restoring degraded landscapes and promoting sustainable land management practices.

Mr Ghansah said these initiatives had provided critical support to farmers, protected arable land, and enhanced ecosystem services.

“Mr Speaker, Ghana must be committed to the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) and continue to prioritize sustainable development and environmental conservation,” he stated.

“We urge all stakeholders, including governments, private sector organizations, and individuals, to intensify efforts in restoring degraded landscapes and building environmental resilience. Let us work together to create a greener, safer, and better future for all.”

Dr Emmanuel Marfo, New Patriotic Party () MP for Oforikrom, in his contribution to the statement, said the issue of desertification if left unmanaged would continue to affect the quality of the nation's ecosystem, given that one-third of the country was under the threat of desertification.

Mr , NPP MP for Suame, in his remarks on the statement, commended Mr , the Minister of , for his efforts in restoring the nation's forest cover through the “Greening Ghana Project”.

He noted that over the past one hundred years, the timber that had been harvested in the country was over four hundred million logs, adding that the Minister started the “Greening Ghana Project” with the planting two million tree seedlings, which was increased to five million and this year it was increased to 10 million, which was very commendable but if Ghanaians don't stop the harvesting of the remaining timber species, the Minister's efforts would really take a lot doing to get to somewhere.

He said even with the Minister's efforts of planting 10 million seedlings per year, it would take Ghanaians 40 years to return to the level of the four hundred million timber species that had been harvested already.

Madam Zuwera Mohammed Ibrahimah, NDC MP for Salaga South, reiterated the impact of desertification on climate change, rainfall patterns and the recent heat waves the country was experiencing.

Mr Moses Anim, NPP MP for Trobu, in his comment on the statement, said land and forest cover played a critical role in the nation's agriculture and that there was the need for Ghanaians to unite in their efforts to save the nation's forest cover.

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