Wacam, A Rocha Ghana, others receive international praise

Three Ghanaian CSOs, Wacam, A Rocha Ghana and Nature and Development Foundation (NDF), have received international praise for their efforts in pushing for the repeal of the mining regulation on mining in Ghana’s forest reserves.

The 3 CSOs received the commendation for their collaborative call for the revocation of the Legislative Instrument (L.I.) on mining in Ghana’s forest reserves, Environmental Protection (Mining in Forest Reserves) Regulation 2022 (L.I. 2462) during a three-day FAIR For ALL (FAIR4All) Africa Regional Conference (Monday, February 13 – Friday, February 16, 2024). 

Over 100 participants from various CSOs in 13 countries across the world attended the Fair for All Africa Regional Learning conference at the Alisa, Hotel in Accra, Ghana.

The FAIR for ALL programme is a Power of Voices Partnerships (PVP) with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a consortium with SOMO, Third World Network-Africa (TWN-Africa), the Huairou Commission and Oxfam Novib.

Speaking at one of the sessions of the event, the Technical Director of Wacam, Lawyer Kwaku Afari, recounted in August 2023 how his NGO joined A Rocha Ghana, NDF and some 20 CSOs in Ghana’s forestry and environment space to hold stakeholders engagements to impress upon the powers-that-be for the L.I. 2462 to be revoked.

According to him, this campaign was led by A Rocha Ghana, a not-for-profit environmental conservation organisation.    

The narration of this story by Wacam’s technical director came with wide applause from the participants who underscored that such stories spur them on to work harder in their spaces of work. 

While admitting that the regulation had not been repealed yet and that they were still engaging the sector ministry and other relevant bodies, he pointed out that their efforts yielded some positive dividends. 

“Due to the campaigns we waged against mining in Ghana’s forest reserves, the Minerals Commission came out to vehemently deny that the National Kakum Park Forest, a tourist site in the Central Region, had been given out for mining activity,” adding however, that “this was against the backdrop that a mining application has been granted to allow mining at the park,” he noted. 

According to him, the first action taken by the 23 CSOs in the wake of the L.I. 2462 was that they engaged a team of lawyers to help them understand the regulation. 

“And after the lawyers’ review of the L.I. 2462, it emerged that the regulation was fraught with loads of inconsistencies,” he said.

Armed with this information, he stated the CSOs organised held stakeholder engagements to highlight how inimical the L.I 2462 was to Ghana’s forest reserves.

“And to drum home further our concerns, in August, last year, we petitioned Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, and other regulatory bodies, to call for the new mining in forest reserves regulation to be repealed.”

…we equally picketed at Parliament House and Minerals Commission for two consecutive days, all in our effort to demand for the repeal of the L.I. 2462,” he added.      

The conference, christened: “Bridging Systems: A FAIR for ALL Africa Regional Learning Event,” was organised by TWN-Africa, in collaboration with Huairou Commission, Oxfam Novib and Oxfam in Ghana.

It aimed at celebrating success stories of the Fair for All programme and to increase participants’ understanding of how the work in the project ties together. It also allowed space for the participants to strategise collaboration and synergies and explore concrete next steps towards transforming food systems, and leveraging critical minerals and the energy transition towards Africa’s development. 

Lawyer Afari said in their petition, they strongly made the case that their analysis of the L.I. 2462 showed that the new regulation on mining in forest reserves had no legislative foundation and that its repeal would safeguard Ghana’s forest reserves. 

Wacam is one of six (6) local Ghanaian partners of the FAIR For All programme that participated in the regional conference.  The other five (5) are SEND Ghana, Women in Law & Development in Africa (WiLDAF), Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) and Friends of the Nation (FON).

The overarching goal of the FAIR for ALL programme is strengthening civil society to create space and mobilse people across the world to demand and contribute to more inclusive and sustainable trade and value-chains

The event ended on Friday, February 16, 2024, with participants visiting some tourist sites in Ghana.