The Coalition of NGOs against mining Atewa Forest (CONAMA), is urging government to act with Vice President Bawumia’s advice that market actors should be guided by social and environmental sustainability in decision making.
They are also urging government to recognize the risks to financial stability from environmental damage and climate change. The Coalition gave this advice in a statement.
The Vice President during the launch of Ghana’s Sustainable Banking Principles (SBPs), emphasized that “financial institutions must include climate disruption issues into their risk management and reporting” and that sustainability must be “incorporated into the responsibilities and reporting of market actors to guide their decision making”.
He added that “there is no doubt that environmental risk, and risk arising from climate change in particular, constitutes a significant systemic risk for the financial sector”.
While welcoming these statements, CONAMA is highlighting “the inconsistencies of a government that on the one-hand seems to be warning financial institutions and market actors against investment in environmentally and climate damaging activities due to the risk of financial instability, while on the other hand is seeking investment partners for projects that will have profoundly destructive impacts on Ghana’s forests and the climate.”
The statement said the planned development in Ghana’s protected forests, with bauxite extraction, gold mining and other activities that destroy the forests, were not heeding Dr. Bawumia’s cautions on sustainability, and the destruction of Ghana’s forests will contribute to the environmental damage and climate change that he said was a risk to financial stability.
While commending the government for actions to address illegal mining, the statement said there were illegal mining activities on-going in several state protected forest reserves and along the streams and river bodies in the country that need a decisive and strong commitment to deal with.
“These activities are being supported by loans from Ghana’s rural banks, contradicting the sound advice given by Dr. Bawumia to the finance sector.”
On climate change and green economy programmes, the statement said the activities of the illegal miners could undermine the advice the Vice President gave.
“We ask, what environmental analysis and sustainability considerations has GIADEC made in respect of valuing the trade-offs associated with the intended plans to mine bauxite in a watershed like Atewa Forest, which is also a critical natural climate solution for Ghana?”
“The leadership of GIADEC obviously are oblivious to the need for environmental sustainability in decision-making and have failed to recognize the risks to financial stability from environmental damage and climate change that will result from tampering with the Atewa Forest.”
“Like Ostriches, GIADEC hides its head in the sand, knowing very well that they cannot walk their talk of environmental sustainability. It is shameful for GIADEC, the EPA and the government to preach virtue and practice vice. Where our government and GIADEC have failed, we expect the global Natural Climate Solution Ambassador for Climate Action, China, and its State Banks to take urgent steps to amend a financing deal that will see to the destruction of Atewa Forest, an important natural climate solution for Ghana.”
The statement said Ghana’s Sustainable Banking Principles and Sector Guidance Notes should also send strong signals to the Ghana Exim Bank and all financial institutions, both at home and abroad, who will dare consider financing any mining activities that would put Ghana’s watersheds and natural climate solutions at risk.
It said Vice President has been so emphatic about how environmental damage and climate change would threaten financial stability, and urged for consistency between government’s words and actions by exempting Ghana’s forests and other protected areas from all damaging developments and to allow only green development projects – which Dr. Bawumia himself said will “promote a clean environment, increase job creation and accelerate poverty reduction”.