The Coalition of Non- Governmental Organisation (NGOs) and Concerned Citizens against Mining in Atewa has responded to Dr. Gideon Boako, Spokesperson for the Vice President so-called fourth taunt statements “that government will destroy Atewa Forest and deprive millions of Ghanaians access to drinking water coming from the Atewa Forest.”
Dr. Boako, on November 19, 2019 made a statement, calling out those he claims to be ‘doubting Thomases NDC’, suggesting that the apparent release of the Sinohydro funds has now shamed them.
But in a statement signed by Mr. Daryl Bosu of the Coalition in response to Dr. Boako and copied to the media on Friday said, they have been exposed as available proven bauxite reserves data shows that 75 per cent of the total bauxite reserves in the country is within the Nyinahini enclave making Nyinahini the obvious choice over Atewa for any such huge capital investment.
“We would like to thank Dr. Boako for this crucial information, alluding to the exclusion of Atewa, a move that we have been calling for, all along. Thank you for stating it so succinctly.”
The Coalition in the statement stated that the campaign to remove Atewa Forest from the bauxite agreement has always made this point a very practical and economically relevant, that, bauxite reserves in the Atewa Forest are small compared to other locations and so the Atewa Forest should be excluded from the bauxite deal.
“We are grateful to Dr. Boako for affirming the NGOs position with such clarity and precision. We are happy to observe that the Vice President’s Spokesperson has listened to the voices of reason of Ghanaians, home and abroad, to share this crucial information”.
It said: “if indeed Nyinahini is the obvious choice over Atewa Forest for the bauxite development project, why then do we still see bulldozers in Atewa Forest undertaking stock surveys and assessing the expected damage to tree species from bauxite mining, and all with the participation of Forestry Commission staff?.
The statement said GIADEC, in a recent meeting with the Concerned Citizens of Atewa Forest, clearly stated that there were five mountains in the Atewa Forest Reserve identified for mining bauxite, and that the mining would begin in the Asiakwa area,why that statement?
It said although Dr. Boako’s statement backs the NGOs point, his words are not convincing in any way that Atewa Forest is excluded from the deal, and “so our so-called ‘taunt’ still stands”.
The statement said it was government that included the MPSA, even though the reserve is small, and, as far as we are aware, it is still part of that deal. Regardless of what Dr. Boako now says, the threat to the forest and to the source of clean water for 5 million people still stands.”
The NGOs Coalition in the statement also pointed out that the apparent release of the first tranche of the Sinohydro funds has absolutely no bearing at all on Dr. Boako point in anyway and has never been a politically motivated concern.
Rather, it has emanated entirely from the civil society’s concerns over the future of the Atewa Forest Reserve as a critically important and protected high forest ecosystem and the future of the wildlife, clean water sources for over 5 million people and climate change adaptation capacities it supports for the entire global community.
The statement in conclusion stated that in light of Dr. Boako’s changing narrative, the Coalition of NGOs demand that government officially excludes the protected Atewa Forest Reserve from the bauxite agreement and instead increases its protective status to that of a National Park, “so that there can be no further threats to this critical mountain forest ecosystem from an investment that government now affirms will not be significant.” It said “this is the time to leverage our long-term partnership with China, also the Natural Climate Solution Champion, as appointed by the United Nations, to harness the green investment potential of Atewa Landscape. It is also time to redirect investment and transition of Atewa into a living landscape that supports, water services, climate adaptation, biodiversity and fosters well-being and prosperity.”