By thefourlens.com

Kenyasi, May 16, 2024

Three Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are demanding that the of government takes bold steps to protect the rights of mining communities and ensure that mining is done in a way that prioritises community wellbeing and the environment.

The organizations, “A Rocha Ghana, Nature & Development Foundation and Wacam” observed the devastating actions that have been perpetuated by the large-scale multinational mining companies, the small-scale miners as well as illegal miners (Galamseyers) have had a profound negative impact on the environment and the well-being of such communities.

The Government of Ghana’s use of eminent domain to compulsorily acquire farmlands from poor farmers in some mining communities for the benefit of mining companies has worsened the situation.

Speaking at the launch of their CSOs combined perspective approach towards curbing the situation for a sustainable future, Mrs. Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, Associate Executive Director of Wacam said the recent example of the Tano North District in the Ahafo Region highlights the urgency of this issues.

She observed that the government mining policy leaves farmers in mining communities with no option but to surrender their farmlands to mining companies, thus, exacerbating their vulnerability and displacement.

Hence, their BRACE project is to enrich community-based advocacy that will hold government and the extractive companies accountable for sustainable and responsible practices.

The BRACE Project 

The CSOs initiative, “Building Resilient and Active Communities in Extractive landscapes in Ghana (BRACE)” was conceived by Wacam, a non-governmental organization into environmental protection in mining communities.

The BRACE project launched in Kenyasi in the Ahafo Region on Tuesday would be implemented by “A Rocha Ghana, Nature & Development Foundation and Wacam” within three-years.

It was funded by the European Union to promote human rights and responsible governance in Ghana’s extractive landscapes.

According to Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng, “this project is timely, especially in this period when our government through LI 2642 has opened the floodgates for mining in Ghana’s forest reserves”.

Through the activities of the BRACE project, mining communities within the project landscape would be equipped and emboldened to say no to irresponsible mining which has been the bane of our country, she stated.

BRACE will also empower mining communities in Ghana to assert their rights and demand better environmental protection from the government and the mining companies. 

The project, Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng said marks the beginning of a strategic partnership to develop the needed synergy to address the continuous suffering of affected mining communities which manifest as polluted environment, water bodies, air and the accompanying health issues, the destruction of farmlands and the loss of livelihoods among others.

The implementation process would forster effective collaboration among civil society organisations in the extractive sector and mining industry players to ensure human rights adherence, respect for communities’ environmental rights mining and mineral governance in Ghana.

Goals of the BRACE project

Mrs Owusu-Koranteng outlined the BRACE project was to contribute to achieving sustainable and equitable environmental management and good natural resources governance by communities, government and private extractive sector actors in Ghana.

Its implemented focuses on mining communities in Eastern, Ashanti, Western North, Western and Ahafo Regions.

Implementation

The BRACE project would empower selected stakeholders to hold institutions accountable over environmental damage, poor governance, and environmental rights violations in Ghana’s extractive sector by 2025.

It would build the capacity of stakeholders as Community Paralegals to use community-based courtroom advocacy to seek redress over natural resources violations and governance.

BRACE further aimed at lobbying and seeking redress over environmental rights violations by using Ghana’s Business and Human Rights Action Plan and complementary initiatives by end of 2025.

The project was again designed to strengthen local environmental protection and Natural Resources management through capacity development of CREMAs Executive Committee to implement their Action Plans with communities for sustainable Natural Resources use by mid-2026.

Mr Massimo Mina, the Head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation to Ghana, in his address stated “our goal is to create a platform for inclusive decision-making, where the voices of marginalised communities are amplified and their rights respected”.

In that regard, “for us, promoting good governance and green growth are priorities in Ghana”, he added.

After the three-years implementation period, the communities are expected to receive legal services through the Community Paralegals, Community-based Courtroom Advocacy and Legal Access Fund as part of expected outcomes.

Thefourlens.com

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Writer’s email: ttchrietoph1@gmail.com

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