The Advocacy for Biodiversity Offsetting in Ghana (ABOG) has commended individuals, communities, non-governmental organizations, and others who are contributing towards increasing Ghana’s native tree species stocks.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Chairman the ABOG Group, Yaw Osei-Owusu to mark this year's Earth Day.

On Earth Day, April 22 each year, events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and celebrated in more than 193 countries each year.

Below is a full statement from ABOG.

The ABOG Group celebrates the 2016 earth’s day with all Ghanaians on the global theme Trees for the Earth. We commend those individuals, communities, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and government agencies contributing towards increasing Ghana’s native tree species stocks. Ghana is losing its native tree species and other forms of biodiversity and ecosystems at an alarming rate through unregulated land clearing for unsustainable agricultural practices, deforestation, destructive mining activities, urbanization, migration, built infrastructures, and climate change.

The rate of biodiversity loss in Ghana is very high with more species projected to become extinct in less than a decade. Most of the prime indigenous species like Milicia excelsa (Odum), Milicia regia (Iroko), the mahoganies (Khaya species), Entandrophragma species (penkwa, sapele, and efobodedwo), Pericosis elata (Kokrodua), Nuclea diderrichii (kusia), and Triplochiton scleroxylon (Wawa) which generate substantial revenues for Ghana’s economy, have drastically reduced. The ABOG Group comprises representatives from business associations, academia, MMDA’s, CSO’s and government agencies.

They include NYCOB Enterprise Consortium, The John A. Kufuor Foundation, Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), Ghana Micro Financial Institutions Network (GHAMFIN), Ghana Flower Growers Association (GHAFGROWA), Ghana National Biodiversity Committee, and State regulators such as the National Insurance Commission (NIC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Forestry Commission, Town and County Planning.

These institutions and other stakeholders have supported the EPA, Ghana in developing a biodiversity offset business scheme and guidelines for offsetting residual impacts of business activities on biodiversity. Over the next one year, the ABOG Group will be mounting a nationwide campaign for the adoption of the innovative biodiversity offset

scheme to reduce the rapid decline of biological resources in Ghana. The activities will include the celebration of ABOG Week on May 16 – 22 2016. Biodiversity offsetting is the process by which nature conservation activities are designed to produce biodiversity benefits and ecosystem services in compensation for losses resulting from development projects. It provides new business opportunities for landowners to generate biodiversity credits which when certified by the EPA can be traded on the market for revenue to manage land for conversation.

Biodiversity offsets encourage business to take responsibility for its impacts and fully internalize the cost of its activity on biological diversity The ABOG Group encourages all well-meaning Ghanaians to take steps to reduce the country’s biodiversity loss and increase our native tree covers by growing more. Individuals, clubs, social media groups etc., could identify any of the above-mentioned tree species they can best relate with and adopt as a nickname, club name, and social media group name. Happy Earth Day! Trees for the Earth; Grow more native species!

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