The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Ghana,
Irchad Razaaly has appealed to Ghanaians especially traditional rulers to help fight climate change by protecting the environment with tree planting.
According to him, planting of trees will contribute to global climate biodiversity knowledge and will benefit the citizens in the future.
The EU Ambassador made the appeal on Tuesday when he stormed Akyem – Asikam near Kyebi in the Abuakwa South Municipality of the Eastern Region to make the annual Climate Diplomacy Week by the EU aimed at planting trees.
This year event at Asikam saw students from various schools and the chiefs from the Okyeman Traditional Council who begun to plant over 500 trees in the Atewa Forest Reserve, which has suffered from farm encroachment and illegal chain saw activities
The activity aimed at protecting the Atewa forest, which is a water tower for most of the water bodies that supply communities with water. It is currently under threat of degradation.
Since 2018, the European Union Delegation to Ghana has been organizing Climate Week to create awareness about the impact of climate change and the need to protect the environment.
This year’s celebration was held under the theme “Let’s Get Circular” runs from 25 September to 1 October and focuses on the Circular Economy”.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana, Ambassador Irchad Razaaly addressing the chiefs and the residents noted that during the Climate Week in 2019, the EU planted close to 500 trees in Accra and Kumasi schools, and organized a workshop on reforestation. In 2020 we had to suspend our public gatherings because of the Covid pandemic.
According to him, “In the last years though, EU supported projects have planted 300,000 trees in Ghana. 1,3 million more trees will be planted in the next years to reverse land degradation and regreen Ghana”.
He expressed that “We need to address deforestation. Ghana faces one of the highest deforestation rates in Africa”.
He added that “This is caused by charcoal production, by the unregulated mining activities, by agricultural extension, and illegal harvesting of timber. Together we need to find solutions to tackle these issues”.
He further underscores that the forests cover 30% of the Earth’s land area, host 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, provide essential goods and services, including climate and water regulation, and give subsistence and income to about 25% of the global population.
“Forests hold cultural, social, and spiritual values, and represent a large part of customary lands inhabited by indigenous peoples. They provide a direct livelihood for almost 2 billion people worldwide” he added.
He pleads with Ghanaians to “act now” to protect and restore the forests, adding that the forests can help to mitigate climate change, alleviate pressure on primary forests and create new economic opportunities for people and communities that have the potential to create 13 million jobs worldwide by 2030.
He added that European Union in Ghana will soon launch a study to identify green development pathways and green jobs, and businesses that are viable alternatives for the sustainable development of protected areas and, in particular, the Atewa forest.
“With the study, we will identify sustainable activities that can contribute for the creation of new jobs and companies that can contribute to increase the income and wellbeing of the communities and their citizens and to alleviate the poverty in rural areas”, he concluded.
– BY Daniel Bampoe