The Atewa Forest Reserve is a highly important ‘water tower’ for Ghana. It contains the headwaters of three river systems that are crucial sources for domestic, agricultural and industrial water on which millions of people in the Central, Eastern and notably the Greater Accra Region of Ghana depend. Two of these three river systems are part of the geographical focus area of the Ghana Netherlands WASH Program (GNWP). Read more about the Ghana Netherlands WASH Program (GNWP) here http://www.gnwp.nl/
The provision of clean and reliable water and a range of other ecological services provided by Atewa forest are threatened by illegal logging, illegal artisanal gold mining, land clearance for farming and illegal hunting. Another major threat is posed by incentives for large scale industrial bauxite mining in the reserve. The pursuit of large scale industrial mining can be considered as severely compromising the water provision function of the forest. Industrial mining poses a long term risk for water security for all people living down- stream and seriously undermines the sustainability of GNWP efforts in that respect.
The lack of meaningful participation of local stakeholders in decision making and management of the Atewa Forest Reserve in combination with a lack of direct economic benefits from the reserve are the main drivers for local encroachment and illegal activities.
On the national level it is a mix of
(1) Conflicting policies compromising the protection of Atewa forest,
(2) Weak policy implementation and compliance by various actors and
(3) Political interests, from local to national level, in quick economic benefits deriving from logging and mining that put Atewa forest at risk.
This project is with kind sponsorship of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs