The United Nations in Ghana has hosted an inception meeting on Fostering Reforestation, Environmental Sustainability, and Tourism (FOREST), a project named “FOREST Okyeman,” at Bunso in the Abuakwa South Municipality of Eastern Region.
Supported by the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security, FOREST Okyeman, which begun in Okyeman area in March 2021, intended to accelerate sustainable development through a multi-stakeholder and community-based approach to sustainable livelihoods and well-being.
The United Nations Ghana led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), and United Nations Volunteers (UNV) was implementing the project in collaboration with government, private sector and traditional authorities.
At the meeting, Mr Sukhrob Khoshmukhamedov, the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Ghana, praised Okyenhene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin for tackling environmental issues in the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area to provide a sustainable means of addressing key interconnected challenges on forest degradation.
Okyenhene and Okyeman had already started a tree-planting campaign throughout the traditional territory, with a goal of planting 25 million trees.
Mr Khoshmukhamedov explained that the FOREST Okyeman project would use a human security approach to empower communities to address existing gaps in natural resource management, strengthen their resilience, and promote respect for human rights and dignity, particularly among the most vulnerable, such as women and children.
He pleaded for the project’s implementing partners and stakeholders, both inside and outside the project area, to give their full support to ensure initiative’s success and long-term viability.
The ongoing project scheduled to end in 2024 was expected to benefit 1,328,304 people.
Kyebi Kyidom Panin, Barima Nana Fredua-Agyeman Okotomin, stated that the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area’s agenda included emphasising the need for re-afforesting.
He said the area welcomed financial and technical assistance from charitable organisations to ensure that such a laudable goal of helping to restore damaged forest landscapes and improve lives was realised.
The FOREST Okyeman project, according to the Abuakwa South Municipal Chief Executive Madam Akosua Asabea Annor, would address some of the Municipality’s significant deficiencies in environment, health, and education.
Mr Kofi Gyimah Amoako-Gyimah, Executive Secretary of the Okyeman Environment Foundation, a foundation established by Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, said the Foundation was committed to implementing various activities to achieve the objectives of FOREST Okyeman.
He noted that the initiative would be remembered as the first time the UN collaborated with a traditional authority on climate action, saying, “As a result, it’s critical that we produce beneficial outcomes for effective governance.”
By Emelia B. Addae, GNA