Saturday, May 19, 2007
‘Involve Chiefs in implementation of wildfire policy’
From: IAN MOTEY, Sunyani
THE President of the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs, Okatakyie Agyeman Kodum 1V, has advocated the involvement of traditional rulers and local authorities in the implementation of the National Wildfire Management Policy (NWMP).
He said chiefs as custodians of the land, were in a better position to effectively communicate the content of the new policy to their subjects.
Okatakyie Kudom made the appeal at the launch of the NWMP in Sunyani for the Western, Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions.
The NWMP is an inter-sectoral working document that seeks to conserve, enhance and protect the natural environment form uncontrolled wildfires.
It would also give a more practice, pragmatic and comprehensive framework to guide and determine government actions toward wildfire management.
Okatakyie Kudom, who is also the Nkoranzahene, advised that an effective monitoring team should be set up to liaise with chiefs to ensure that the policy’s implementation succeeds.
He said unlike previous policies, the new NWMP had taken cognizance of the past failures and now adopted a multicultural and best practice approaches.
He, therefore, tasked all stakeholders to effectively play their various roles
He said that “the results of our failures to perform our responsibilities have often ended in fire outbreaks and loss of valuable lives and properties” .
The Region Minister, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, who launched the policy, mentioned that the annual loss of timber cash and food crops to wildfire alone was estimated at US$20 million.
According to him, the increasing incidence of wildfires in recent times had seriously threatened the survival of some premium tree species and tourist sites in the region.
“These developments should be a source of worry to us since the tourist sites are important sources for the provision of revenue and livelihood support,” he said.
The Project Co-ordinator of the NWMP, Oheneba Amposah, said the policy was the first of its kind in the country.
He said that it would ensure consistency in the formulation of legislation and bye-laws at all levels of governance to deal with issues of wildfire in the country.
The Ghanaian Times - Saturday, May 19, 2007 Page: 19