Ghana, Ivory Coast Hold Talks
The Government of Ghana is holding talks with its Ivorian counterpart on measures to resolve transboundary issues regarding the pollution of some water bodies, particularly the Tano and Bia rivers, which also flow through Ivorian waters.
As a result,the ministries of Lands and Natural Resources, Sanitation and Water Resources, Defence and Environment Science Technology and Innovation have met a high-powered delegation from La Cote d’Ivoire, led by the Ivorian Minister for Water and Forest, Laurent Tchagba, to address the issue.
Ghana’s Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor, who co-chaired the meeting, with the Sanitation and Water Resources Minister, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, informed the Ivorian delegation that there have been a lot of challenges in protecting the country’s riverbodies.
He indicated that, the government has not relented, as the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, keeps waging war against illegal miners in the country.
Mr.Jinapor, who also spoke on behalf of the Defence Minister, said the Ghana government has adopted a two-pronged approach to fighting illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey, which is the main source of pollution of the country’s river bodies.
The two-pronged approach, which he mentioned to be law enforcement and reformation, has seen to the declaration of river bodies as red zones to mining, and also authorizing the involvement of the military on Operation Halt, an initiative geared towards ridding the rivers of illegal miners.
The Lands Minister further stated that although illegal mining continues to pose a threat on the countries riverbodies, he is optimistic that, out of the deliberations of the meeting, they will be able to come to a firm conclusion that will help resolve the issues of water pollution in both countries, adding that he looks forward to working closely with all stakeholders to come to grips on the matter plaguing both countries.
On her part, Mrs. Cecelia Dapaah, the Sanitation and Water Resources Minister, noted that water is very central to the well-being of people around the world and not only Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire and, therefore, it is pertinent to take up the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 6, which advocates clean water and sanitation for all.
She hoped that, this bilateral meeting will help both countries take cognisance of the far-reaching effects of a waterless world and make concrete decisions that will help both countries and the world at large.
The leader of the Ivorian delegation and Minister for Water and Forests, Cote d’Ivoire, LaurentTchagba, in his submission, expressed his gratitude for a warm reception from all participating ministries.
He said the issue of water is important in the history of both countries, as it binds them in one way or the other, and hoped that, together they will be able to confer on issues and resolve the common challenge.
Also at the Bilateral Meeting on the Ghana side were the Minister for Environment Science Technology and Innovation, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, responsible for Lands and Forestry, Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio, the chief executives (CEOs) of the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Martin Ayisi and Dr. Henry Kwabena Kokofu, respectively, the Managing Director of the Ghana Water Company, Dr. Clifford A. Braimah, the National Coordinator of the Boundary Commission, Major General Emmanuel Kotia, and other officials from all the ministries present.
On the Ivorian side were the Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire to Ghana, H.E Bernard Ehui-Koutoua, Defence Security Technical Coordinator of the National Border Commission of Côte d’Ivoire, LouaDeti Cesar, and other officials.