Exclude Atewa Forest from intended bauxite mining  now -Concern Citizens of Atewa tell government Exclude Atewa Forest from intended bauxite mining  now -Concern Citizens of Atewa tell government
 A group calling itself Concern Citizens of Atewa Landscape  has called on the Government of Ghana to exclude  Atewa Forest Reserve from its intended... Exclude Atewa Forest from intended bauxite mining  now -Concern Citizens of Atewa tell government

 A group calling itself Concern Citizens of Atewa Landscape  has called on the Government of Ghana to exclude  Atewa Forest Reserve from its intended integrated Bauxite industry development.

 
According to the group, besides Densu,Birim and Ayensu rivers taking their sources from the forest , Atewa Forest provides estimated current annual values of non-timber products of US$12.4m, climate amelioration services c. 55,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, potential tourism revenue over US$5m, cocoa production at US$9.3m, and timber at US$40.6m. Therefore ,these services will all be eroded should the  planned bauxite mining happens.
 
 
The Concerned Citizens of the Atewa Landscape on Saturday started a six-day protest march from Sagyimase to Kyebi to petition to petition key stakeholder including the President.
 
On Saturday,the group petitioned the  East Akyem Municipal Assembly, and Okyenhene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin for the day of the exercise.The 95km protest march continue today Sunday .

The Route of Walk as scheduled are ; Sagyimase to Kyebi Saturday, 17th March, 2018 ,  Kyebi – Apedwa Sunday, 18th March, 2018,  Apedwa to Asuboi Monday, 19th March, 2018, Asuboi – Nsawam Tuesday, 20th March, 2018,  Nsawam to Achimota Wednesday, 21st March, 2018 and  Achimota to Flagstaff House onThursday, 22nd March, 2018.

Expected recipients of Petitions by the group are His Excellency, the President and Vice President,  Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, the Okyenhene, Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council,  Municipal Chief Executive of East Akyem and Suhum Municipality,  Amanfromhene,  Suhumhene, Municipal District Chief Executive, Suhum,  MCE of Nsawam- Adoagyiri Municipality ,Overlord of Nsawam Traditional Council,  CEO of Forestry Commission and  Achimota Mantse Palace.

The government of Ghana has announced plans to leverage bauxite deposits in parts of Ghana for a $15Billion financial package from the Chinese government.The  Atewa Forest which is a Global Biodiversity Significant Area is part of current plans of Ghana to develop an integrated bauxite industry in Ghana.

However, the Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape -a  group  made up of representives of several NGOs, Youth Groups, Interfaith Groups, Forest Fora, Farmer Based Associations, Opinion Leaders, and Community Leaders that have the best long-term interest of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area and all the areas surrounding Atewa Forest vehemently oppose the intended bauxite mining.

 
 
Bellow is the full petition given to East Akyem MCE.
 
CONCERNED CITIZENS OF ATEWA LANDSCAPE
 
16th March 2018
 
THE MUNICIPAL CHIEF EXECUTIVE
EAST AKYEM MUNICIPALITY
KYEBI
EASTERN REGION
 
Honourable,
 
PETITION TO URGE GOVERNMENT TO ABORT PLANS TO TURN ATEWA FOREST INTO A BAUXITE MINE PIT – ATEWA FOR WATER
 
We are reaching out to you on behalf of several youth groups, interfaith groups, Forest Fora, Farmer Based Associations, Opinion Leaders, Community Leaders and civil society groups  that have the best long term interest of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area and all the areas surrounding Atewa Forest (Kwaebirem) at heart. We are concerned about plans to mine Atewa Forest, which will have serious social and environmental impacts on the people in this Municipality.
 
We are aware of pronouncements and planning by His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo Addo and his Vice, His Excellency Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia to leverage bauxite resources in parts of Ghana for a $15 Billion financial package from the Chinese government. Our major concern is about the inclusion of the Atewa Forest at Kyebi in current plans to develop an integrated bauxite industry in Ghana. This development we believe should be of concern to the Municipal authorities.
 
Recent studies by scientist and development agencies shows the significance of this forest for the livelihoods and welfare of many millions of Ghanaians living downstream of the forest who are dependent on the forest’s provisioning of these ecosystem services, most importantly, its water provisioning. Analysis of a range of development scenarios has shown that effective protection of the forest yields the greatest economic value over a 30-year period – some US$1,157 million – to local communities, downstream residents and the national treasury when compared to scenarios that include mining.
 
 
 
 
Besides water provisioning, Atewa Forest provides estimated current annual values of non-timber products of US$12.4m, climate amelioration services c. 55,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, potential tourism revenue over US$5m, cocoa production at US$9.3m, and timber at US$40.6m. These services will all be eroded with planned bauxite development in this area.
 
Our Municipality stands to benefit a lot from all of these services and functions that the Atewa Forest provide. As a Municipality, our major source of water for our water treatment plant comes from this forest. Cocoa production in this area is made possible by the climate conditions that supported by Atewa Forest. Our wellbeing from a clean and beautiful environment is made possible by Atewa Forest.
 
During the recent Medium Term Development Planning Process for 2018-2021, the need to work towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals was paramount. Of the 17 goals, it is clear a protected and secured Atewa Forest is the only way we can achieve more than half of them sustainably. Definitely this is an asset that we cannot replace and therefore need to protect against any plans to turn it into a dusty and hollow bauxite mine.
 
We have had the opportunity to visit communities affected by the Awaso bauxite mine, we have seen first-hand the devastating impacts of bauxite mining, the clear-felling of the forest, the dust pollution, the damage to their clean water sources – the source of life – and the destruction of the forests they rely on for food security, subsistence and livelihood needs. We are very aware that mining companies’ promises of jobs and local development are rarely fulfilled. We understand fully that our cocoa farms and subsistence farm plots – the source of our food and livelihood security – could be destroyed and never replaced.
Honourable, no one in Ghana has been spared the nightmare and harrowing destruction caused by galamsey in our region, and particularly in Kyebi our Municipal capital. We are struggling as a Municipality to restore degraded lands, and provide sustainable jobs to people because the minerals in the land will definitely finish. Our farmers can no longer go their farms and drink from the once clear and clean flowing streams. Our Municipality has become a devastated land. We have seen how Birim is struggling to recover its lost glory and provide water for all of us once again. The destruction that is caused by bauxite mining is certainly not development we want for this Municipality.
 
 
We cannot therefore allow the biggest destructive venture like bauxite mining to completely destroy the few streams and rivers sustaining us.
 
A sustainable future is not second best for Atewa Forest or for the Government of Ghana but instead would be a showcase that will be internationally recognized to your nation’s credit in the global community, demonstrating exemplary leadership in sustainability and the environment.
Today marks an important milestone, as it serves as the beginning of our Six Days Schedule Walk for Atewa, and our walk to secure water from Atewa. Our main purpose is to convey our concerns to government as many attempts seem to have fallen on death ears.  As governments administrative representative, we want to count on you to send our message not to mine Atewa for Bauxite but rather to maintain and secure it for National Park and green development investments to the Presidency.
Atewa for Water and No to Bauxite.