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Project for Improving Water Governance in White Volta Basin makes Impact -Report
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The Project for improving Water Governance in the White Volta Basin shared by Ghana and Burkina Faso which was started by the two neighbouring countries in 2004 is steadily making positive progress, according to a Validation Report.

The Project is aimed at managing, sustaining and protecting the natural resources of the White Volta from extinction. Ghana shares about 85 per cent of the Volta Basin surface area with the Republic of Burkina Faso.

The Project, which is being supported by the International Union for Conservation of Nature of the United Nations, brought together the Director General of Water Resources of Burkina Faso and Water Resources Commission of Ghana to implement the Project.

The Validation Report, which was read by Mr Abungba Joachim, Assistant Administrative Officer of Water Resources Commission on Friday, at the opening of a three-day White Volta Forum in Zebilla, Bawku West District, Upper East Region, gave the progress report of the Project.

According to the Report, the Project has supported 13 communities in its catchments areas with 15,000 tree seedlings to be transplanted along the river banks as part of measures taken to restore the ecosystem.

Additionally, the Programme provided support for alternative livelihood especially to vulnerable groups including women, who previously engaged in activities that were detrimental to the River and said this had stopped them from engaging in such activities.

The Report said Water Users Associations had been formed in the various communities along the White Volta; 100 tree nursery attendants trained; communities trained in compost manure preparation and general extension service provided by the Ministry of Agriculture to the community members. Community members have also been given education on gender issues and HIV/AIDS.

With these project activities, the Report revealed that the natural resources of the River were becoming well managed and could be well sustained.

The Report mentioned some of the challenges facing the Project to include late release of funds; inadequate funding and lack of a means of transport and recommended that funding should be increased and released on time. It stressed the need for a better motivation for the nursery attendants who performed their duties voluntarily.

It recommended the need to extend capacity building programmes on the programme to cover all the communities along the White Volta and not only the committee members of the Programme.

The Report indicated that the programme for 2010 would intensify education and seminars on how to curb river pollution, restoration of the ecosystem and HIV/AIDS and gender training.

The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Mark Woyongo in his opening address commended the International Union for Conservation of Nature for sponsoring the programme and stated that the White Volta served a lot of purposes both at the local and international levels and mentioned some of the benefits to include livestock watering, dry season farming, fishing and power generation.

He expressed concern about the rate of silting in the basin and said there was the need to protect it in a sustainable manner and indicated that Ghana shared about 85 per cent of the Volta Basin surface area with the Republic of Burkina Faso and this could be a potential source of conflict if the two countries did not come together to work to protect the natural resource.

Mr Woyongo noted that to reduce the incidence of conflict within Ghana and between the neighbouring countries, the Government of Ghana came out with the Water Resources Commission in 1996 and mandated it to regulate and manage Ghana's water resources and coordinate Government's policies in relation to them.

He noted that the Government was also taking steps to draw up strategies to improve upon the state of the basin with particular reference to ecosystem restoration through agro-forestry.

He stated that the project would also have a positive impact on climate change if it were sustained and urged the beneficiary communities to embrace it.


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