Ms Ama Kudom Agyeman, member of the Planning Committee of Ghana REDD+ has asked Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), to ensure that policies enacted towards the implementation of sustainable management of forests and the environment are taken seriously.
She said MMDAs stand to benefit from the forests and environmental resources, and it behoves them to protect these resources against deforestation and degradation for generations yet unborn.
Ms Kudom Agyeman was addressing major stakeholders and students as part of the Ghana REDD+ Road Show in Hohoe.
The Ghana REDD+ refers to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation of existing forest carbon stocks, sustainable forest management and enhancement of carbon stocks.
It is an international mechanism through which developing countries will receive financial compensation if they reduce carbon emissions from their forests sectors.
The project dubbed, ?Think Development, Think Sustainability, Think REDD+? is supported by the World Bank, Forest Carbon Partnership under the auspices of the Forestry Commission and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR).
She said students have been targeted in order to create awareness, build their capacity and inculcate in them a culture of acceptance in the sustainable management of forest, its products and water bodies.
Ms Kudom Agyeman said ?leadership starts today and not tomorrow,? entreating the students to take keen interest in human activities that threaten their survival, while they join environmental clubs in the schools to continue the discourse.
?Combating REDD+ has been identified as one of the most cost-effective ways to lower emissions and the depletion of forests with abundance carelessness must stop,? she said.
Mr Joseph Osiakwan, Policy Coordinator of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and Committee Member, said deforestation and forest degradation is responsible for about 15 to 20 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions, and are major contributors of climate change.
He said their strategy was to attack all drivers responsible for deforestation and forest degradation including bush burning, illegal chain-saw and mining, overgrazing, unsustainable farming practices and excessive fuel wood harvesting.
Mr Osiakwan noted that by creating incentives to keep forests intact, REDD+ has the potential to not only limit climate change, but also protect biodiversity and livelihoods.
Dr Margaret Kweku, Hohoe Municipal Chief Executive, said the area abounds in tourism potential that hinges on the environment, and the two-day programme was a wake-up call to reactivate all strategies towards a resilient and sustainable management of the forest resource.
Scores of the students in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, expressed joy for the awareness creation programme requesting for regular reminders.
Ghana?s current forest cover stands at 1.6 million hectares, having reduced from 8 million hectares at the beginning of 1990s leaving the deforestation rate to 65,000 hectares per year, according to a Ghana Forest Commission source.
The Road Show was replicated in Damongo, Dormaa Ahenkro and Tarkwa based on environmental importance, ecology, facility and human resource availability.