Cutting down of trees in the forest accounts for about 25 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, Mr Paulinus Ngeh, West Africa Regional Coordinator for Bird Life International, an organization aimed at improving the quality of life for birds, said on Monday.
He therefore called on people within the Sub-region to protect the remaining forest while adopting measures to help mitigate the impact of climate change in developing countries.
Climate change refers to the changes in weather conditions as a result of negative human activities on nature.
Mr Ngeh said this at a workshop organized by Bird Life International to create awareness on biodiversity conservation and build capacity of people in charge of forest conservation in the sub-region.
The workshop, which brought together participants from Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire, will also examine ways to protect the remaining forest in West Africa and integrate bird conservation into sustaining people’s livelihoods.
Mr Ngeh said another measure to consider in dealing with climate change issues was the use of carbon financing where industries and organizations responsible for producing gases like carbon dioxide and natural gases, paid some other people at the receiving end to engage in activities such as tree planting.
Carbon financing would mean that developing countries that produce very little gases but suffer most from the effects of such gases or climate change are given money to provide alternative livelihood programmes to their people who depend solely on the forest for their livelihood.
He said developing countries needed to put in place proper measures that would enable them make good use of funds sent to their countries for purposes of combating climate change.
Mr Fredua Agyemang, Technical Director at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, noted that the world was faced with complex environmental challenges that needed pragmatic solution, hence the commitment by the government to mainstream environment into policies for economic growth.
“Climate change is already having a negative impact on the daily lives of our people, on productivity and weather conditions,” he said.
Mr Agyemang said the government of Ghana had an agreement called Voluntary Partnership Agreement to help the country combat illegal logging and contribute to sustainable forestry management.
He urged those involved in conservation activities to negotiate on a position of strength when they attended the international conference on climate change scheduled for December this year in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“Forest means sustenance in Africa and other developing countries. We depend on the forest for our livelihood, so we need to quantify services provided by our forest.”
He explained that Africa’s natural resources were priceless, adding; “How can we go and tell a poor old woman in the village to stop going to farm. We have to get an alternative plan to enable them to live.”
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