The CSO Platform on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Ghana marked the International Day of Biological Diversity on 22 May. The day was observed to be a day of reflection, appreciation, and action towards securing the natural world and the diversity of plants and animals that thrive in it as well as the survival of every human living on the earth. The theme of the year, ‘Our Solutions are in Nature’, was aimed at showing that biodiversity is still the answer to many sustainable development challenges we face.
In a press statement, the group stated, ‘From nature-based solutions to climate change to food and water security and sustainable livelihood, biodiversity remains the basis for a sustainable future. The recent global assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services by the intergovernmental panel on biodiversity and ecosystem services reports of mass extinctions that need our urgent action if we are to prevent a repeat of these crises’.
The United Nations declared a decade of biodiversity from 2011 to 2020, which will end soon. However, even as the quality of the environment continues to decline, there is a call to rally in solidarity behind negotiations to work towards a strong Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. ‘This is very urgent, as the onset of [the] Covid-19 pandemic demands that we re-examine the way we interact and use the natural world. Without a doubt, the evidence points to the fact that, without the natural world, humans will cease to exist. This important day also provides a crucial opportunity for Ghana to reflect on how we interact with the natural environment and plan for a sustainable future that [prioritises] the wellbeing of nature and of every Ghanaian’, they said.
The group highlighted key issues of concern that needed urgent attention, such as the increasing incidence of mining in state gazetted forest reserves across the country, from illegal activities as well as state-approved mining in areas set aside purposely for the protection of forests and the security of biological diversity. They also raised concern over the limited legal frameworks to support efforts by state and non-state actors in the protection of natural areas. They said that the Wildlife Resource Management Bill that will empower communities to participate in and benefit from the management of natural resources in community lands has been in and out of Parliament for more than 16 years and nothing shows that the bill will be passed before the end of another republic. But when it is finally passed into law, it will domesticate some key biodiversity security and regulatory mechanisms such as the protection of migratory species, and entrench regulations that address the increasing incidence of illegal exploitation and trafficking of engendered species like pangolins and restricted trade species like rosewood.
‘As we celebrate and reflect on this important day now and for life after Covid-19, we cannot continue to watch and act with indifference and impunity as our natural world fades away without taking the necessary steps to address the challenges as mentioned above. We need to rededicate and commit to halt the destruction of forest reserves and biological diversity and pursue a development agenda that is founded on nurturing and safeguarding the natural as an imperative’, they concluded.
Photo source: Ron Mader