The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF) awarded about 200,000 US dollars grants to five Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
The grants according to the UNDP is to help CSOs to implement various projects towards the elimination of mercury in gold mining and promotion of sustainable Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in Ghana.
The Assistant Resident Representative of UNDP Ghana, Mr. Louis Kuukpen, at the grant award ceremony, emphasized the Country Office’s commitment to support Ghana in the formalization of the artisanal and small-scale mining sector with training, technology transfer and knowledge management to promote mining without mercury in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector.
Mr. Kuukpen added that UNDP through the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme is piloting the Zero Mercury programme to support the Government’s new policy framework to regularize and reform mining activities in the country.
“We congratulate the new Grantees and trust that they will work closely with the Inter-ministerial Committee on small- scale mining, the Minerals Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the relevant District Assemblies to ensure synergies and linkages between the national programmes and our projects,” noted Mr. Kuukpen.
He urged the beneficiary CSOs to work with Government institutions in executing their projects, for greater impact.
The grants beneficiaries include Tuning Point of Advocacy, Moaduri Women Development Projects, Ghana Institute of Sustainable Development, Zintang Healers Association and Firm Health Ghana Foundation.
On behalf of the awardees, the Chief Executive Officer of Turning Point of Advocacy, Dr. Naa Dedei Tagoe expressed gratitude to UNDP and GEF for the opportunity and promised to put the grants into efficient use to benefit the society.
Dr. Tagoe stated, “we will put the resources into judicious use to improve the sector where miners will work sustainably, and the Government wouldn’t have to put a ban on small scale mining.”
Image: Dr. Naa Dedei Tagoe, CEO of Turning Point of Advocacy (right)
The UNDP GEF Small Grant Programme has been providing financial support to local communities to invest in environmental management over the past four years.
The grant programme has so far supported 33 community-based organizations within the coastal and Northern Savanna ecosystems with an amount of US$2.61 million grants.
It has also built the capacities of over 1,500 community members to mainstream biodiversity conservation in natural resource management, which has impacted positively on the conservation of environmental resources in the country.
The National Programme Coordinator, Dr. George Ortsin indicated that the competition this year was very keen as over 65 applications were received.
According to him, the selected projects were based on innovative ideas and technologies that would be introduced in line with the national priorities and geographical importance.
The next UNDP GEF small grants will be awarded in July this year to support more local communities to invest in environmental management.
The intervention is to support the country towards the implementation of the Minamata Convention, which Ghana ratified on March 3, 2017, to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and the release of mercury compounds.