SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana has joined 20 Civil Society Organisations to file a notice with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice against the Government of Ghana. This action has become necessary to immediately halt ongoing bauxite ‘exploration’ activities at Atewa Forest Reserve and seek legal orders to permanently secure Ghana’s ‘crown jewel’ of biodiversity.
Intended reliefs of the notice include:
- Declaration that the right to life and dignity as enshrined in the Constitution of Ghana, 1992 which includes (a) the right to a clean and healthy environment and (b) the right to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations;
- A declaration that mining bauxite in the Atewa Forest violates the right to life and dignity enshrined under articles 13 and 15 of the Constitution;
- An order, compelling the government of Ghana and its agents to take the necessary steps to protect Atewa Forest Range in accordance with constitutional obligations as contained under article 36(9) of the constitution; and
- An order, restraining the Government of Ghana, its assigns and agents, servants, workmen, allottees and guarantees whatsoever and howsoever described, from undertaking mining and its related activities in theAtewa Forest Range.
For several years, SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana has been campaigning to prevent bauxite mining in Atewa Forest. Our proposed upgrade of the forest into a national park to offer it higher protection looked promising until 2017, when Ghana’s Government entered into an infrastructural ‘loan’ agreement of US$19 billion with China. From the terms of the agreement, the loan will be repaid with proceeds from bauxite including that from Atewa Forest (www.savethefrogs.com/ghana-accra-protest-save-atewa-forest/). By June 2019, the government had approved the clearing of part of the forest for what was later communicated as ‘prospecting’ activities without wider consultation with independent environmental stakeholders like SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana, or with local communities. Our immediate petitions to the Presidency and Parliament unfortunately, did not yield any positive responses thus, the decision to undertake this new action to prevent the further advancement of government’s plans to mine Atewa Forest.
Atewa Forest is the only home to the critically endangered Afia Birago Puddle frog (Phrynobatrachus afiabirago) and the last viable population of the Togo Slippery Frog (Conraua derooi). Atewa is the single location in West Africa with the highest diversity of butterflies. It also harbors at least 1100 plant species including 56 that are threatened with extinction and many more endemic to the Upper Guinea Forest of West Africa. In addition, it is the headwaters of three rivers, Rivers Ayensu, Birim and Densu that supplies water to +5 million Ghanaians. Thus, mining this area to contribute 17% of the total loan repayment will be a big failure in our quest to protecting Ghana’s crown jewel of biodiversity.
To help with our campaigns as a volunteer writer (not paid), please contact SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana’s Advocacy Co-ordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also donate to sustain our efforts at www.savethefrogs.com/donate-ghana/
Photo © A Rocha Ghana