IDCO 'stops' government from using Atewa forest for mining

Tue, 24 Jul 2018 Source: Prince Sigli

The International Development and Conservation Organizations (IDCO) is calling on the government to remove Kyebi as a bauxite mining area to prevent further destruction of water bodies in the area.

The Organization is appealing to the government to reject any plans of splitting the forest into two parts.

the organisation declared their readiness and willingness to provide any support that is aimes at achieving sustainable development pathway.

The IDCO is made up of WWF International, A Rocha International, BirdLife International, Rainforest Trust, and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Global Wildlife Conservation have a combined membership and support of over 15 million people worldwide.

The Atewa Forest is on record to be serving over 5 million Ghanaians with their daily water needs. The Densu River which flows from the Atewa Forest feeds the Weija Reservoir which provides close to 2.5 million people in Accra with water.

A statement jointly signed by the Chief Executive Officers of the six organizations and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Monday have reiterated the water provisioning significance of the Atewa Forest.

The Statement said, the Atewa Forest is a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA), thus holds high importance for the global persistence of biodiversity, and harbors rare and threatened species found in few other places in the world.

According to the statement, the IDCO mentioned that, apart from the biological importance of the Atewa Forest, “what is of critical importance is that five million people are dependent on the water provisioning services of the Forest.”

It highlighted the concern that Bauxite mining in Atewa Forest would greatly endanger the large number of species in the forest that are already globally threatened with extinction.

The Statement said, over 100 species of birds, mammals, amphibians and plants and a number of species are confined entirely to Atewa Forest, cannot be found elsewhere in the world, adding, “at least two species are classified by the IUCN with their highest level of extinction threat (Critically Endangered): the Togo Slippery Frog Conrau aderooi and the plant Aubregrini ataiensis.”

“Three more species are expected to be classified as Critically Endangered once assessed: the White-naped Mangabey Cercocebus, lunulatus, the AfiaBirago Puddle Frog Phrynobatrachus afiabirago and the plant Monanthotaxis atewensis,” it added.

The IDCO is the statement in proposing sustainable development pathways is convinced that the best use option for Atewa Forest is ensuring total protection and the promotion of a green economy in the surrounding landscape and definitely not mining.

The statement again affirmed that a development pathway that seeks to pursue the establishment of a new National Park will be widely celebrated where a conversion and loss of such an important forest will be widely condemned.

There have been calls, campaigns and strong advocacy by several civil society groups in the country and the Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape urging government to delist Atewa Forests from targeted areas in the government’s planned integrated bauxite development agenda.

This international call comes to support the ongoing advocacy by the non-governmental organizations and the Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape urging government not to target Atewa for Bauxite minning.

The organizations have indicated that, they are not against the government’s agenda to develop and add value to her bauxite resources, but strongly rejects attempts to target the Atewa Forest, which is also the source of water for over 5 million Ghanaians both upstream and downstream.

Source: Prince Sigli