Group of NGOs Urged Prez Akufo-Addo to Declare Atewa Forest ‘A Red Zone Area’

A Group of environmental Non-governmental Organisations, NGOs fighting against mining the Atewa forest reserve are calling on Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo to heed to the cry of the local people.

This call was to ensure that all investors and mining companies – especially the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) ‘preferred strategic partner’ to stay off the Atewa Forest.

The NGOs also threatened any investor or mining company planning to partner GIADEC in that endeavour will face the biggest resistance both locally and internationally.

At a press conference in Accra on Friday, Mr. Daryl Bosu, Deputy National Coordinator for A Rocha Ghana, on behalf of his colleague NGOs said the Atewa’s red zone area status for mining has already been made abundantly clear and as a reminder, it includes government’s April 2021 ban on prospect licensing and activities in all Ghana’s Forest Reserves, and Ghana’s mining guidelines that exclude sites like Atewa from mining.

He said the Atewa’s 2021 status as an Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) site triggers the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standard.

The NGOs reminded the NPP government and GIADEC of the call by the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin to make the Atewa Forest a National Park by way of protecting in perpetuity for the benefits of his communities.

They added that the resistance was coming from local communities, civil society, professional institutions, state agencies, international development agencies, private companies, and individuals both in Ghana and abroad for a multitude of reasons, and they shares some of these points as a reminder.

Mr. Bosu explained that about 5 million people benefit from Atewa’s clean water every day.

Therefore water contamination from bauxite mining which is extremely dangerous would affect the people the in area and beyond, to this, they advised not to touch the forest, let alone to make the people mistakenly drink bauxite conteminated wster.

Mr. Daryl Bonsu, on behalf of his colleagues stated further that Atewa Forest reserve also protects key habitats and species, including the critically endangered frog species discovered by Center for Sceintic and Industrial Research and proudly announced in government’s 2022 budget statement, “Paradoxically, the bauxite mining will destroy the very site and the species that government in 2021 was so proud of.”

Some of the NGOs present includes Eco Conscious citizens, Concerned Citizens Of Atewa Landscape (CCAL), Ghana Youth Environment Movement (GYEM), EcoCare Ghana, KASA Intiative, Boakye Twumasi-Ankra and Nana Asante.

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