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For effectively championing the fight against illegal small scale mining (Galamsey) in Ghana, the local chapter of the International Impact Assessment, Ghana (IAIA-Ghana) has honored the Media Coalition against Galamsey. This was at the Associations end of year dinner and handing over ceremony held in Accra on Friday.
The Coalition was presented with a plaque and a certificate in recognition of the strong fight put forward to ensure that activities carried out by illegal small scale miners which contributed to the pollution of water bodies and destruction to the environment are minimized. Chairman of the Coalition, Ken Ashigbey received the honor on behalf of the group.
“…This is not to assume that the battle against illegal mining is over, but rather a sign of encouragement of your good work, and to further cement our corporation and collaboration in future campaigns in the interest of mother Ghana,” the citation partly read.
Media Coalition against illegal mining comprising major media organizations in the country was launched in 2017 to wage a crusade against the menace which was at the time a major canker. Among other activities, the Coalition collected signatures from Ghanaians and individuals interested in joining the fight against illegal mining and presented it to the presidency for action.
The Coalition included media partners such as the Graphic Communication Group Limited (GCGL), the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), the Ghanaian Times, the Ghana Journalists Association, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), the Christian Council and PRIMPAG.
A 10-member steering committee led by Ashigbey streamlined the activities of the Coalition, ensuring that the fight against illegal mining was sustained. Other members of the Committee included Reverend Dr. Opuni Frimpong, President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Affail Monney, Representatives of Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) Akwasi Agyeman and Samuel Atta-Mensah, Managing Director of Ghanaian Times, Carol Annan, and Kofi Larwey from the Community Radio Network (CRN).
Speaking on the theme “Impact Assessment and its Relevance to National Development” the outgoing president of the IAIA-Ghana, Yaw Amoyaw Osei emphasized the need for Impact Assessment to be considered and taken seriously by the state in all aspects of national development, especially in the area of infrastructure development.
He defined Impact Assessment (IA) to mean do not start a project when you don’t know or understand the scope and nature of social, cultural, socio-economic, health and ecological cost and implications because the costs and implications could far outweigh the project benefits with other unanticipated regrettable repercussions.
Almost every international institution and country of the world have their IA system to influence development financing and or project implementation. Ghana has been a leader in IA since the 1990s, with a functional and effective IA system, backed by an appropriate legal framework.
He said IA is a preventive tool that has moderated almost all major projects and investments in Ghana, such that projects that are problematic, by virtue of design, technology, resource demand or poor siting do not live to be implemented; and therefore sparing the otherwise ugly side of such developments.
“Whenever we have failed to allow IA to work effectively on projects or policies, we have ourselves to blame, and only live to regret it later,” he stated.
“It is for instance, unthinkable that with Ghana’s advancement in IA, we should record any fatality at all, let alone so many on the Medina-Adenta Highway project, because of unconstructed or uncompleted footbridges. IA would require that mitigation provision such as footbridges or safe road crossings would be constructed first before the actual roadworks. This is because people need to continue to cross the road, as they did prior to the project. The footbridges or safe road crossings, in this case, are not a favour done the people in the area, but necessary project mitigation that forms an integral part of the project costing,” he Amoyaw Osei added.
Campaign against Galamsey
Our Association, IAIA-Ghana was actively involved in the campaign against Galamsey. Research work by our experts on water and pollution etc. provided the requisite scientific basis supporting the campaign against illegal mining, mounted by with the Media Coalition Against Galamsey, which IAIA-Ghana and CSIR Water Research Institute joined forces with. That collaboration needs to be deepened.
We highly commend the Government for this singular most significant act of protection of the environment – an action that can compete for the national environmental achievement of the decade.
We are, however, under no illusion that the battle is over, though the ban on SSM has been lifted. Galamsey is so deeply rooted, ubiquitous and woven into the very fabric of society, that its vestiges could not be easily eradicated without a sustained strategic action.
The occasion was also used to officially welcome into office the new set of executives who are expected to run the affairs of the Association in Ghana for the next year. It would be led by Joseph Apam Sarpong as President. In a brief remark, the new president expressed his readiness to pick up the batton and run from where his predecessor left off. He called for support from all members to ensure that IAIA-Ghana remains on its feet; vibrant and active.
Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingson || ghananewsonline.com.gh