Interview with Kwaku Addai, Secretary of the Ahafo Development Association – New member of nrg4SD
nrg4SD: The Ahafo Development Association (ADA) was founded on February of 2017 with the vision of ensuring the realization of the Ahafo Region. Can you tell us a little bit about ADA and how do you think this new collaboration with nrg4SD will help ADA achieve its vision?
ADA: The recent call or campaign by Ahafo Development Association is based on the United Nation’s advocacy that: “Any society committed to improving the lives of its people must also be committed to full and equal rights for all.” (Human Development Report, 2000). The advocacy for the creation of Ahafo Region in the above context is a human right issue. The Ahafo Development Association (ADA) was founded on February of 2017 with the vision of ensuring the realization of the Ahafo Region and its sustainable accelerated development.
Ahafo Region (with a land size of about 8,008.95 (sq. km)) has been part of the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana since the creation of the Region in April, 1959. The Brong Ahafo region is made up of two distinctive segments namely: Brong and Ahafo.
Interestingly, the Ahafo Segment is recognized as the food basket of Ghana as well as housing majority of Ghana’s natural resources, including cocoa, gold, bauxite, manganese, forest and rivers.
Regrettably, there has been a developmental (social and economic infrastructure) neglect of the area for decades. Recently, various assessments undertaken on Ghana’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change indicate that climate change possess substantial economic and social threats.
We believe, the collaboration with nrg4SD will help the Association in the strengthening of the advocacy towards ensuring the sustainability of the region’s forest and agriculture resources. nrg4SD will provide the Association with knowledge on best practices through sharing and showcasing of activities from international peers, and also enhance the visibility of Ahafo Development Association.
nrg4sd: nrg4SD is fully committed to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), one of our main fields of action. Most recently, the network is working to compile experiences and challenges of members in addressing the SDGs, facilitating exchanges and mutual support towards implementation. What kind of efforts is Ahafo region doing in this regard? Can you mention any mechanism to raise-awareness and involve other stakeholders in this process?
- Ahafo Development Association is currently working to build biodiversity promotion partnerships or alliances with Ghana’s EPA, CSIR, Water Resources Institute, Forestry Commission, local communities, Local District and Municipal Assemblies, Council of Ahafo Chiefs and international partners (nrg4SD, UNLEASH).
- ADA is currently collaborating with Goaso Traditional Council (GTC) in a 3 year River Basin Pilot Project in Asunafo North District.
- ADA is carrying the Ahafo Community Drinking and Agriculture Water Program to ensure quality and sustainable drinking water, as well as water availability for food and fish production.
- Intentional or accidental introduction of alien, or non-native, species of flora and fauna into areas where they are not normally found can be a significant threat to biodiversity, since some alien species can become invasive, spreading rapidly and out-competing native species. Under the current gold mining operations of Newmont Ahafo Gold, the implementation of blast and affect forest reclamation plan have been identified as major sources for the dispersion of birds and animals, or introduction of alien species of flora and fauna. The Association’s Invasive Alien Species Project (IAS Project) in Asutifi North Project is monitoring standard approaches for the identification and control of the threats to include: mechanical, chemical, biological, fire, or a combination of them.
nrg4SD: The COP 23 held in Bonn, Germany last year had the focus on the implementation of the goals of the Paris Agreement. Members of the nrg4SD and RegionsAdapt initiative were there presenting their contributions and showcasing best practices to scale up ambition on climate action. What are Ahafo’s main challenges regarding climate change and what actions on the ground have been taken so far to tackle these challenges?
ADA: Scenarios and climate model projections in Ghana so far indicate that, Ahafo region is very vulnerable to climate variability and change, with projected temperature shifts, declines in rainfall, and shifts in the timing and intensity of weather events. There is clear evidence that agriculture (including fisheries, cocoa, cereals, and root crops production), and water resource sectors as well as human health and rural livelihoods are being affected by climate change and climate variability.
The Ahafo Regional Climate Adaptation Programme (ARCAP) was launched in 2017 by the Ahafo Development Association in partnership with Council of Ahafo Chiefs (CAC) to assist the Municipal and District Assemblies of Ahafo (MDCEs) to incorporate climate change risks and opportunities into their development processes and to protect development gains from climate change.
- Awareness and appreciation that climate change possesses substantial economic and social threats to the sustainability of Ahafo region
- Dynamic, long-term planning mechanisms to cope with the inherent uncertainties of climate change established.
- Leadership and institutional frameworks to manage climate change risks and opportunities in an integrated manner at the local and regional level strengthened.
- Climate-resilient policies and measures in priority sectors implemented.
nrg4SD: On Feb 7, 2018, nrg4SD launched the “RegionsAdapt 2017 Report: Regions Accelerating Climate Change Adaptation”, from our RegionsAdapt initiative. The data disclosed in 2017 reiterate that most disclosing governments consider their territories to be exposed to substantive risks to water supply and quality in the short or long term. How does the Ahafo region deal with these challenges? Are there any best practices you could share with the Network in this regard?
ADA: Ahafo Development Association has observed that a changing climate in Ahafo is gradually affecting both water quantity and quality due to higher temperatures and increased evaporation rates which is affecting food production, commercial fisheries and further accelerating the growth of aquatic plants caused by high phosphorus loading. Available major rivers in Ahafo Region such as River Tano, Akantansu, Goa, etc. are drying up so quickly offseason. Indications are that water availability is likely to become even more of a challenge for Ahafo farmers under the current rate of deforestation and a changing climate by 2025.
Ahafo Development Association is currently collaboration with Goaso Traditional Council (GTC) in a 3 year River Basin Pilot Project in Asunafo North District. This is aimed to ensure the protection of the basins of major rivers, especially River Tano. This involves the creation of buffers along the river, stopping illegal gold mining along the river, and planting of 100,000 cover trees along the basin of the river. When successfully completed, we plan to scale it up to cover additional three major rivers during the second face of the project in two other districts.
nrg4SD: Ghana, as most tropical countries, is very rich in biodiversity and a signatory of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). As a developing economy, it depends highly in its biodiversity as a livelihood. How is the Ahafo Region involved in the implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets? How would ADA like to further foster regional engagement with the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans with nrg4SD as a partner?
ADA: The Association is committed to the protection, maintenance, and rehabilitation of natural habitats, and also to assure that investors put in place plans and procedures for mine reclamation activities (topsoil management; planting of vegetation to prevent erosion and encourage self-sustaining development of a productive ecosystem on the reclaimed land).
Ahafo Development Association is currently working to build biodiversity promotion partnerships or alliances with Ghana’s EPA, CSIR, Water Resources Institute, Forestry Commission, local communities, Local District and Municipal Assemblies, Council of Ahafo Chiefs and international partners (nrg4SD, UNLEASH).
The objectives are:
- Ensure compliance of biodiversity standards
- Share information on biodiversity & Ecological management
- Execute projects together