Ghana's Wetlands Action Plan project completed
Ghana completes drafting of its National Wetlands Conservation Strategy and Action Plan
Ghana completed and adopted a National Wetlands Conservation Strategy in 1999 as one of the outputs of the GEF/World Bank-funded Coastal Wetlands Management Project. The actions prescribed in the 1999 Strategy document were vague, lacking detailed directions and actions for effective implementation of the Strategy. This led to the approval of the Swiss Grant project in 2005, provided by the Swiss Government through the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, for a review of the 1999 Strategy alongside the development of a corresponding Action Plan that corresponds with the principles, objectives and expectations of the revised National Wetlands Conservation Strategy, with the aim of enhancing its implementation. This project was implemented by the Ramsar Administrative Authority in Ghana (the Wildlife Division Forestry Commission) through a very consultative and participatory process which involved resource persons, strategically selected multi-stakeholders, three workshops (+ 1 validation workshop) and technical assistance from the Dutch Government.
The outcome of this process is the production of a single document entitled "A National Wetlands Conservation Strategy and Action Plan", to be implemented over a period of ten years (2007-2016). The Strategy takes on six broad issues (including issues such as poverty reduction, Millennium Development Goals, NEPAD, irrigation and health, amongst others, which were absent or weak in terms of direction and implementation in the 1999 Strategy). The corresponding Action Plan addresses nine priority issues; (i) participation in wetlands management, (ii) legal framework, (iii) wetlands inventory and monitoring, (iv) wetlands rehabilitation and restoration, (v) long-term sustainability, (vi) contribution to poverty reduction, (vii) CEPA, (viii) networking and international cooperation and, (ix) funding, with a stated vision and mission for sustainable wetlands management, wise use of resources, constraints associated with wetlands management in the past and an indicative budget. The document also gives an inventory of Ghana's wetlands, their values and threats to these wetlands.
The total amount needed to implement the action plan's nine modules is 22,749,629 USD over the next ten years.
The Ghana experience is a good illustration of the implementation of the COP9 Resolution 14 as the Action Plan has integrated the Ghana "Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy II" (GPRS II, 2015) and touched on all the strategic development sectors that are wetlands-related. Completion of this project is expected within the next two months and this depends basically on the endorsement of the document by the Ghana Minister responsible for wetlands (Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines) and solicitation of the government commitment to support, provide and seek adequate funding to implement the Strategy and Action Plan.
The Ramsar Secretariat urges all the other Contracting Parties which have yet not developed their NWPs to follow the example of Ghana.
-- Evelyn Parh Moloko, Ramsar