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Gov’t cautioned against over-reliance on natural resources

Natural resources analysts have cautioned the government against overly depending on the country’s natural resources for economic development.

According to them, the finite nature of the natural resource demands that it is judiciously and effectively used to ensure maximum and sustained benefits to the country.

The point was made at a natural resources breakfast roundtable held in Accra by the Institute of Green Growth Solutions with partnership from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung of Germany.

The event, which was held under the theme, “Ghana Beyond Aid, the role of Natural Resources,” sought to discuss among other related issues, how Ghana’s natural resources can help it achieve its aspiration of being beyond foreign aid.

A recent report by the World Bank shows that about 12 percent of the country GDP is lost to activities that degrade the environment including unsustainable mining.

The Director, United Nations University – Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) in Accra, Dr. Elias Ayuk said Ghana like other African countries is yet to adopt measures for sustainable resource use.

“Ghana like African countries, there’s the need for relative decoupling; which means that they can grow and hurt the environment a little bit but as they grow, they should be reducing the pressure that they put on the environment.”

Meanwhile, a senior consultant at the Institute of Green Growth Solutions, Dr. Edward Nunoo has called on institutions that oversee the activities of resource exploitation to ensure effective communication and periodic engagement with communities and individuals directly affected by resource exploitation.

Presenting a summary of a report developed by the institute, he said such engagements will ensure public trust, accountability and a “sense of ownership,” by locals.

“The managing agencies over these resources must build trust among these institutions, communities and the citizens. There must be effective communication and relevant as well as timely information for the citizens. They must also incorporate public values into natural resource governance decision and amicably resolve the conflict among conflicting interests in a participatory manner and continuously improve the substantive quality of decision,” he said.

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