The Youth Alliance for Green Ghana (YAGG) has commended Lands Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, his Ministry, and all stakeholders who contributed to the institution of the Green Ghana Initiative.

The YAAG also congratulated Ghanaians for the massive support and cooperation demonstrated in making the Ghana (National Tree Planting) Day marked on June 11, fruitful.

A statement signed by Kenneth Agyir, National Coordinator of YAAG, on Monday said, “As young people devoted and committed to ensuring a Green Ghana, we find the overwhelming support given the initiative, a pure testament of the responsiveness of Ghanaians to the cause of achieving environmental sustainability in the country.”

He added, “As indicated in the address of Mr Jinapor on the Green Ghana Day, the guiding principles of the initiative were to: plant a minimum of five million trees that day, to ensure that the logistics, resources, funding, manpower and participation in the Tree Planting Exercise were national, broad-based, non-partisan, based on citizen ownership, and anchored on the collective action of the Ghanaian people.”

“It was also to institutionalize the exercise as an annual activity, with increases in the number of trees and a goal of one 100 million trees being planted in a day, in the short term; to establish Green Ghana Clubs in educational institutions to support the efforts; to include economic and fruit trees, such as timber, rosewood, neem, and so on in the planting exercise for forest cover and as investments, towards the growth of the economy.

“Also to set up a monitoring team chaired by the CEO of the Forestry Commission to nurture, nurse and monitor the seedlings planted to maturity; to present quarterly reports on their growth, and to provide, at the first anniversary of the Green Ghana Day, a report on the state of the five million trees planted”.

It said Mr Jinapor in his address again made a pledge, worthy of note that “The survival of the seedlings planted is more important than the planting. We intend to do everything possible to ensure we achieve a high rate of survival; this exercise will not constitute the cessation of ongoing afforestation programmes; on the contrary, we intend to enhance such efforts.”

The statement said as a Youth Alliance dedicated to environmental conservation, and a sustainable green economy development of the country, they found it fulfilling to have participated in the tree planting exercise, especially on the national scale.

“Likewise, we join in the host of citizens who are keen to contribute our might and will, as admonished us by our national anthem, to safeguard the sustainable realization of the goals of the initiative.”

It appealed Ghanaians, especially the vibrant youth force to commit to the preservation and judicious use of environment for collective benefit.

“On the back of this praise and admiration for the Government’s display of its commitment to a Green Ghana, we find an opportune occasion to remind the government to take the right action by securing Atewa Forest against all forms of mining activities.

An occasion to serve a gentle reminder to the government and the good people of Ghana, of the inherent socio-ecological wealth the Atewa Forest presents to our dear country, it added”.

The statement said the Atewa Forest and its geological architecture was a hydrological gem of the country, providing invaluable water services to over five million Ghanaian.

It said despite all the lapses in protecting the place over the years, the forest remained one of the most biologically rich habitats in the world, with so many species found nowhere else in the world and over a 100 species categorized endangered on the global Red List of species.

It added that Scientists also described the Atewa Forest as providing the last buffering areas to help maintain suitable climate for food security and wellbeing in the face of global warming and that by all standards, Atewa Forest was not a place to be traded by any Government, or Corporation for its bauxite resources which is beneath all the invaluable services.

“We appeal to the government and the people of Ghana, to, desist from any mining activities in the forest and all other forests, reserved for ecological purposes in the country.

“Our dear country is blessed; in mineral, human, forests and many other resources. As a people, we have since time immemorial symbolized hope and resilience to many across the world.

“Now, as the world faces a climate and environmental emergency with its countless uncertainties, let us remain the beacon of hope. Let us continue to symbolize our legacy, of an ecologically accountable society for future generations”.