The National Planning Committee for the 2022 Green Ghana Project has been launched with a responsibility to conduct a review of this year’s National Tree Planting exercise and make recommendations to the government.
The Committee Members were unveiled in Accra on Friday, October 15, with the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, spelling out the mandate for their formation.
The Green Ghana Project is a government initiative aimed are helping restore and preserve the depleted forest cover of the country. The maiden edition saw the country embark on a five million tree planting exercise in all the 16 regions.
The country’s forest cover has been depleted, with only 20% remaining. This is because the 8,200,000 hectares of forest cover that the country had around 1900 has reduced to 1,600,000 hectares due to destruction.
These practices include illegal mining (galamsey), harvesting trees, agriculture, wildfire, settlements and other human activities.
The Committee, according to the Minister, is, therefore, to initiate steps for next year’s exercise and conduct a comprehensive assessment of the 2021 Green Ghana project to ensure that the restoration of the country’s forest cover was achieved.
“Essentially what we are doing is to begin the planning ahead of 2022 Green Ghana. This team will also not just begin initial preparatory work for 2022 Green Ghana but also a review committee for 2021.
It is important we recognise that we cannot have 2022 without consolidating and keeping abreast with our efforts of 2021 and its consequences,” the Minister uttered.
“This is a team I thought should review 2021, where are we with the projects, how many trees we planted, where are they and how are they doing, What are lessons and shortfalls,” he added.
Having disclosed the purpose of the committee, Mr Jinapor, noted that the make-up of the group gave him the reason to be confident that the objective of not inculcating tree planting culture into Ghanaians would be attained.
He then encouraged the group to propose plans for the expansion of the project to every nook and cranny of the country.
Benito Owusu-Bio, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and Chairman of the Committee, gave the assurance that “we are going to take stock of what happened in 2021. Ghanaians are looking at us for feedback of what happened. God has blessed us and a lot of the trees have survived.”
Madam Joyce Aryee, a member of the Committee, urged Ghanaians to embrace the initiative as a charge to protect the country’s vegetative cover and guard against global warming.
She said that the Committee would embark on sensitisation campaign to make Ghanaians appreciate the importance of planting trees.
“We need to make sure this is owned by the citizens of Ghana. Ghanaians, as citizens, should see this stewardship that they have towards the very environment that gives them life.
Once we are able to let people know that they are not planting a tree because the President or the Minister is saying it, but it’s being done for the survival of our own lives and rivers, the survival of tree-air and the very things that we depend on,” she said.
Mad Aryee went on to say that “once we are able to get this message across, I think we’ll win the heart of the people.”
The Members of the committee were drawn from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Forestry Commission, the Ghana Police Service, Ministry of Education.
Others came from the Ministry of Environment, Forest Plantation Development Fund Board, Association of Ghana Industries, Ghana Education Service, Christian Council of Ghana, the Catholic Secretariat, the Ghana Chamber of Mines and some Corporate Institutions.