Mr Akwasi Opong-Fosu, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to collaborate effectively with research institutions and academia to develop a sound science programme for the agency.
He said the agency must balance its result oriented programmes with problem-driven research to solve current environmental problems of high risk, as well as improve scientific foundation for understanding and protecting human health and the environment.
Mr Oppong-Fosu said this on Tuesday in Accra at a three-day scientific forum organized by EPA as part of its 40th anniversary.
The forum was under the theme: “Environment Protection Agency at 40: The Environment We Want-The Way Forward”.
The forum brought together scientists in the country to deliberate and seek synergies for common solutions to key challenges confronting the nation and beyond in the area of environmental protection and management.
He said the theme was critical because it will sensitize scientists and environmentalists on the importance of applying science, technology and innovation in protecting and preserving the environment.
The Minister said environmental protection is a shared responsibility and that the mission of the Agency is to co-manage, protect and enhance the country’s environment as well as seek solutions to global environmental problems.
Mr Oppong-Fosu said the field of research on environment and society is growing rapidly and relevant not only in academia but also in policy formulation, regulatory control, justice, and public administration.
The Minister said the success of the effective implementation of various regulations requires high level of scientific investigations and involvement and that the state-of-the-art laboratories are needed to assist in investigations to collect baseline data as well as monitor the environment.
Mr Daniel Amlalo, Executive Director of EPA, said the agency has championed the agenda for a safe environment and the maintenance of healthy ecosystems that sustain the supply of ecosystem goods and services.
Mr Amlalo said the exploitation of the country’s natural resources has led to environmental degradation stressing that several water bodies have become infested with invasive weeds.
He said the effect of unsustainable production practices have tendered to compromise the resilience of ecosystems to climate change impacts and have reduced their capacity to produce quality ecosystem goods and services.
Mr Amlalo said the agency has formulated environmental assessment procedures and regulations which served as a major tool for environmental management in the country.
He said the agency recognized the application of science and technology as vital tools for addressing problems of sustainable production and consumption and also as a basis for measuring progress of the country.
Professor Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, Department of Botany at the University of Ghana, Legon, called for open and transparent system of interaction among people who are knowledgeable about ecosystems structure, functions and health to prevent problems associated with ecosystem.
He urged the EPA to develop mechanisms to store, retrieve, reproduce and protect the use of ecosystem information in the country.
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