A Rocha Ghana (ARG), has expressed its readiness to form a long-term relationship with the University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD), in the areas of protection of natural resources and sustainability. National Director for A Rocha Ghana, Dr Seth Appiah-Kubi made this known during a meeting with some officers of the University, led by the Registrar, Mrs Mary Abena Agyepong.
Dr Appiah-Kubi accompanied by Mr Daryl Bosu, Deputy National Director of Operations, visited the UESD in response to a request from the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, (SNES). The school sought to form a collaboration with ARG in the areas of environmental protection, preservation, policy formulation, and curriculum development.
He took time to inform the UESD staff of ARG’s work in various parts of the country including conservation works in communities around the Mole National Park as well as the campaign to save the Atewa Forest from the Government’s bauxite mining plan. ARG is also active in some coastal areas helping to conserve wetlands.
Dr Appiah-Kubi expressed enthusiasm about a collaboration between UESD and ARG, in terms of Curriculum development and other ventures that will lead to the protection of the environment. He also suggested that the two institutions could undertake joint position papers that will be tabled at international conferences like the upcoming COP 15 to be held in Montreal, Canada.
In response, the Dean of the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, (SNES), Prof. Edward Wiafe Debrah affirmed that UESD and ARG have similar mandates which make it only appropriate to forge collaborative efforts in the areas of training, research, curriculum development, internships, and beyond.
Prof. Wiafe Debrah, who is privy to the activities of ARG, stated that the NGO is also involved in advocacy and is also a policy influencer. It looks at gaps in policy leading up to legislation such as the wildlife bill, and biodiversity framework. He indicated that the ARG team works on landscape levels, such as Lake Bosomtwe, which is a biosphere reserve, designated in 2015 by UNESCO.
The Environmentalist said, Atewa is a major Laboratory for the study of rare plants and animal species, and a tower that feeds into many water bodies that take their source from the forest. He indicated that ARG is strongly opposed to the mining of Bauxite in the Atewa forest and has led the “Save the Atewa Campaign”.
He expressed the hope that ARG and SNES would collaborate towards the realization of the proposal on the protection of mountain ridges, as they have rare plant species that are rapidly being destroyed by the many quarries springing up along the ridges.
With regards to internship and attachment, Prof. Wiafe Debrah requested that A Rocha Ghana be open to hosting students from UESD for projects, internships, and fieldwork to give them practical exposure to the activities that pertain to the field. He was enthusiastic about the many opportunities and prospects the two institutions would achieve working together, in both academic research and funding.
The Registrar, Mrs Mary Abena Agyepong, who was the coordinator of the meeting, was excited about the visit, as the activities of the NGO were in line with the mandate of UESD.
Present at the meeting were some Lecturers from SNES; Dr Shine Francis Gbedemah, Senior Lecturer (HoD, Dept. Geography and Earth Science), Dr Nathaniel Nii Djan Annorbah, Lecturer (Dept. of Biological, Physical and Mathematical Sciences), and Dr Frank Appiah Larbi, Assistant Registrar, SNES.