held in kumasi ghana april 2 4 2012 n.
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HELD IN KUMASI, GHANA, APRIL 2-4, 2012 PowerPoint Presentation
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  2. 1. INTRODUCTION: • The world faces multiple challenges at ensuring sustainable environment • Some harsh realties on effects from the Envr.: • Air, Ozone layer, water, oceans, land (Ref Paper ) • Impact of Climate Change : among others, rising sea levels from melting ice, causing floods; drought in the south, drying up streams and rivers and women and children walking longer distances to fetch water.

  3. Effects of disappearing natural forests: Loss of biodiversity, including medicinal plants which research might never have discovered, etc. • Implications of consumption patterns: Creating health hazards and lots of waste to be managed with valued resources – time, money and energy • Challenges are many and well-known; only mentioning few examples here.

  4. Impact of unsustainable environment much harder on developing countries especially, Africa, due to reasons of poverty, high illiteracy rates inducing lack of knowledge and skills, poor management of projects, etc. • Result is a vicious cycle of poverty. • The good news is that the world is waking up to the dangers of living in an unsustainable world. • Hence expression of urgent need to reverse trend

  5. PROCLAMATION OF MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (MDG’S) • World leaders with the support of NGO’s, institutions, religious bodies, groups and individuals at UN Millennium Summit in 2000 proclaimed the MDG’s. • Role of Ghana’s Busumuru Dr. Kofi Annan • Aim of the MDG’s – to encourage development by improving social and economic conditions in the world’s poorest countries (UN-ECA)

  6. MDG7 – ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY • Part of the focus of this presentation • Arguably the most critical of the goals; the right environment must be present for the others to survive. • ECOG says: “Our Environment is Our Survival”.

  7. MDG7 TARGETS • Four out of the twenty one targets of the entire MDG was stipulated for MDG7 with over ten sub targets. The following are the targets for MDG7, • Target 7A: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs; reverse loss of environmental resources • Target 7B: Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss

  8. Target 7C: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation . • Proportion of population with sustainable access to an improved water source, urban and rural • Proportion of urban population with access to improved sanitation • Target 7D: By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers • Proportion of urban population living in slums

  9. MDG’s - ACHIEVEMENTS/NON ACHIEVEMENTS Economic Growth - : • It is now documented that progress towards the MDG’s as a whole remains below expectations in the West African sub-region. • This is the assessment in a report of UN Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA) . The report indicates that despite the good performance economic growth stood on average above 5% over the past few years in the West African sub-region.

  10. The growth has not been as strong and sustained at 7% or above as required to achieve the MDGs. From 2000 to date: • For the entire sub-region, economic growth stood at 3.7% in 2001, then fell to 2.6% in 2002. • In 2003 and 2004, the sub-region recorded a very good performance, with 7.3%. However, this performance could not be maintained for long; it fell to 5.1% in 2005 before increasing slightly to 6.1% in 2006.

  11. This rate fell again in 2007 to 5.1% . Following the deepest global financial crisis and economic recession in late 2008 and early 2009, the estimated economic growth rate for the sub-region was around 4.1% in 2009 (UN-ECA-WA, 2010). The impact of slow economic growth or lack of it has made the achievement of the MDG’s fundamentally challenging and MDG7 in particular exceptionally challenging.

  12. According to UNCTAD, poverty estimates show that on average, one citizen out of two in the least developed countries lives on less than US$ 1 a day and projections show that this number will increase instead of reducing until 2015, if current trends persist. • In other words, towards the deadline for achieving the MDGs, more people in the least developed countries will live in extreme precariousness more than in the past.

  13. . Consequently, it is evident that a global approach is required for helping the “bottom billion” to escape from poverty and achieve the MDGs (UNCTAD Report). • In addition, there is the need to look at different ways of doing things – business as usual does not seem to be working.

  14. 5. REVIEW OF MDG7 TARGETS: • Some target areas are on track, (e.g. forest management ), however, progress has generally been slow, especially in the areas of sanitation and slum dwelling where the figures are still frightening because of the immediate consequences for health and survival of people, and also in the area of biodiversity loss, especially with loss of forest • Ironically, these are areas where other measures such as a more serious attention to Public Education and Community Involvement can yield fruitful results as we will be discussing later.

  15. A UNICEF Report on sanitation MDG reveals the ff: • No country in West Africa is on track, in fact all but six (6) countries are off-track in Africa on sanitation MDG. • 155 million (39%) people in west and Central Africa have no access to safe drinking water. • 291 million have no access to improved sanitation.

  16. In the area of biodiversity and forests management in particular, reports indicate that most of the countries in the West African sub-region are not meeting their targets; the exceptions to some extent are: Cote-Ivoire, Cape Verde and Gambia where forest management appears to have improved significantly. • The ECA report cautions further that if the rate of deforestation continues, within 50 years, there will be no forest left in the ff countries: Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo (all being equal of course).

  17. 6. EMPHASIS ON FORESTS, SANITATION AND HYGIENE ISSUES: The reason for our choice of emphasis on forestry, sanitation and hygiene issues under MDG7 is because it beats the mind how governments, political and community leaders, or any people playing leadership role in this sub-region can set aside these issues and pursue others if they claim to be serving the interest of the people. These are the areas which render the people most vulnerable. The rural people depend on the forest for their livelihoods while sanitation and hygiene in both urban and rural areas are about health isssues and fundamental to the survival of the people. Is it any wonder that our efforts at development appear not to yield desired results? The priorities are misplaced. But perhaps, that’s leadership in some parts of the world. Let us look at how other strategies might assist in the attainment of MDG7.

  18. + • 7. THE NEED FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION: In this section of our presentation, we will crave your indulgence to share some of our unique experiences with young people in our efforts to contribute our quota towards attaining environmental sustainability. • Brief on ECOG • Tree planting at Garrison School, Burma Camp • Ozone depletion from the bedroom

  19. The point we are trying to stress from these examples is that education and the involvement of the people works and in our effort to ensure environmental sustainability we must emphasize these two issues alongside others. Yes, they are mentioned in the outcome documents, such as Agenda 21, and in the project proposals etc., but environmental education is still treated as some kind of discreet affair, and first to be reviewed when the budget for projects come under pressure.

  20. 8. Our proposition: Our proposition is that if the efforts at attaining MDG7 is going to succeed, then we must of necessity let the various publics know and be informed by guiding them to pose and find answers to the relevant questions or raise the relevant issues as for e.g.: • What is it all about – when we talk of MDG’s?

  21. Who the stakeholders are • What stake individuals hold from their little corners • Why people are required to show interest in attaining the goals, etc. etc. The questioning factor opens the doors for further learning and a lot of natural wisdom also come to the fore.

  22. Wisdom of the past: Traditionally, in Ghana and many African countries, environmental protection was everybody’s business. Consciously or unconsciously, community members observed the so-called “taboos” pertaining to the protection of the environment, notably, forests and water bodies. It was common knowledge that forest areas designated as sacred groves were untouchable, and hunting was prohibited in certain areas. Some river bodies could not be visited for any purpose on a particular day of the week, while farming activities were strictly prohibited around river bodies and on designated days of the week, etc. etc. While the reasons for these so-called taboos were shrouded in secrecy, the overwhelming evidence from the state of the environment then, suggest that many of the taboos were instituted to ensure environmental sustainability. To what extent are we making use of indigenous knowledge in the efforts at attaining MDG7?

  23. The case of Ghana: • In Ghana today, a foreign or local businessman can be given official permit to go to a rural community to prospect for gold. With the collaboration of some community members, usually the youth, and the overt or covert support of a chief and/or elders of the community, severe damages are caused the natural and built environment, including the destruction of natural forests, rivers and bridges. • Such private businesses are encouraged by the community members because they promise to bring employment and income to them. But have these communities been able to eliminate poverty or even raise income levels in the midst of these levels of environmental degradation? No, what we are witnessing is a vicious cycle of poverty and depravation, in these communities. • Can we, therefore, through education and involvement of the people raise the value of the rivers, bridges and forests that are being destroyed above the immediate gains in the minds of the people? Are there any alternatives to the livelihoods they are used to currently? How do we raise the value of the river (in the minds of the people) above the gold they are prospecting? What have been some of the past initiatives which have worked or not worked for the people? • This is the nature of education we are talking about – where community people come together and are guided to raise the relevant questions/issues and find answers to the problems – the action learning approach to problem-solving,

  24. Working within policies and institutional frameworks, we need to revisit the wisdom of the past and bring the relevant information to bear on modern education of communities. • Working with the people from lower levels we need to identify and support programs that reflect the practical version of the education on environmental sustainability. • The programs should be tangible and delivered timely. This is very important especially where the youth are concerned due to the cultural changes they are experiencing. • The programs should be of interest to all and sundry.

  25. Focus on Education Curricula: To ensure environmental sustainability, it is imperative to incorporate environmental education in the school curricula. Catching them young and hoping to change attitudes, the ethical and moral aspects of the content and delivery should come handy. Fields trips and after school green activities should also be encouraged as well as greening of the school facilities.

  26. 9. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: • The good news is that in more recent times, the idea of involving communities in environmental management, especially in respect of forest management is well accepted by stakeholders and we are witnessing increasing efforts in this direction. • This effort is partly in recognition of the fact that ‘forestry’ today is not about trees, but about people: how people can rationally use trees and forests and how the forests and trees can serve people (E. Djoboku, “Managing our forest heritage”)

  27. Need to intensify these efforts to manage the remaining fragile forests and savanna lands (note: at the turn of the century, Ghana had 88,000’s of moist forest. This has been reduced to mere 19,000 sq. km.) • Government agencies alone cannot do it and get it right for us. We must all come on board. As individuals we can plant trees or protect growing ones. As groups we can organize tree planting, support EE campaigns and as communities we can establish and manage forests. • Forest is a legacy bequeathed to us and must be passed on to the next generation in an improved condition.

  28. Sanitation: This is one of the most critical areas under MDG7 that requires lots of intensive education and involvement of the people in the affected communities. • Recount ECOG’s recent effort and statistics revealed by the official from AMA. • The need for change of attitude and proper actions from the citizenry towards their own environment is paramount in meeting the sanitation target.

  29. Decisions and interventions affecting this target should be devoid of politics. There should be clear commitment and involvement of all especially on the part of community leaders. • The problems associated with this target area affects all without discrimination, therefore behaviour change desired should come from all.

  30. Share suggestions from Seminar on Religion and Status of Sanitation in Ghana: • Cleanliness is next to Godliness – Holy Bible • Allah loves those who turn to Him and loves those who keep themselves clean – Holy Quran 2:222. Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBOH): “If the world is coming to an end tomorrow, plant a tree today”. • Traditions from Ghana, etc.

  31. 10. CONCLUSION: The importance of education and community participation towards the attainment of MDG7 cannot be over-emphasized. Current economic trends as pertains in the sub-region are unable to support the attainment of the MDG’s generally. The right attitudes and actions from the affected individuals and communities are going to be key issues in the attainment of the MDG7 in particular.