Ghana publishes 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, however, lacking detailed directions and actions for effective implementation of the Strategy. This led to the approval of a project proposal in 2005 to the Ramsar Secretariat's Swiss Grant for Africa, an assistance programme funded by the Swiss Government since 1989, for a review of the 1999 Strategy along with the development of a detailed Action Plan that corresponds with the principles, objectives and expectations of a thoroughly 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 that involved resource persons, strategically selected multi-stakeholders, three workshops (and one 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", which is to be implemented over a period of ten years (2007-2016). The Strategy takes on six broad issues (such as poverty reduction, Millennium Development Goals, NEPAD, and 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 wetland management,
ii) legal framework,
iii) wetland inventory and monitoring,
iv) wetland rehabilitation and restoration,
v) long-term sustainability,
vi) contribution to poverty reduction,
vii) communication, education, participation and awareness (CEPA),
viii) networking and international cooperation, and
with a stated vision and mission for sustainable wetland management, wise use of resources, consideration of constraints associated with wetland management in the past, and an indicative budget. The document also provides an inventory of Ghana's wetlands, their values, and the threats to them.
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 Resolution X.14 (2005) as the Action Plan has integrated the Ghana "Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy II" (GPRS II, 2015) and touched upon all the strategic development sectors that are wetlands-related.
The Ramsar Secretariat urges all the other Contracting Parties that have not developed their National Wetland Policies yet to follow the example of Ghana in this regard.
-- The Ramsar Africa Team