About fifty-five(55) Environmental activists and Civil Society groups Worldwide have petitioned the China Development bank which is financing Integrated bauxite mining project in Ghana ,to be carried out by Chinese firm Sinohydro in two important Forest reserves,Atewa and Nyinahin forest reserves.They want the Bank to withdraw the funding for the project identified to be injurious to the environment with negative effect on Ghanaians and future generation .
Ghana has signed a Controversial MOU with Sinohydro Group Limited, to “provide US$2billion of infrastructure including roads, bridges, interchanges, hospitals, housing, rural electrification, in exchange for Ghana’s refined bauxite to be mined the Forest Reserves”.
The deal has been kicked against by Environmental Groups, the Minority in Parliament and some Financial analysts who have described the deal as bad .
Read bellow the full petition.
RE: Social and environmental risks of the proposed bauxite development in Ghana’s forests to be funded by
the China Development Bank
We, the undersigned, need to raise some urgent concerns with you regarding the agreement between Ghana
and China for the Government of the People’s Republic of China to support bauxite development in Ghana that,
as we understand, is to be potentially funded by the China Development Bank at USD 10 billion.
We also understand that the project’s key developer, the China Railway Engineering Corporation, has received funds for overseas projects from the China Development Bank in the past.
First, we applaud the China Development Bank’s signing of the UN Global Compact, and its membership of the
United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Finance Initiative, both designed to ensure signatories take a precautionary approach to development projects so there are no negative impacts on the environment and people, especially affected communities. UNEP FI members also commit to best environmental management practices, risk assessments and management, and the integration of social and environmental considerations in all operations and decisions. The ‘great emphasis’ the Bank places on environmental protection in its core value is also highly commendable. Most specifically, the Bank guides the enterprises it works with to manage
their overseas projects “according to international ecological principles and regulations”. We take this to mean
agreements such as the UN Convention on Biological Diversity ratified by the Government of Ghana in 1992. The
Bank’s 2015 Sustainability Report is also positive, including an objective to “Dedicate to green development and
promote ecological civilization”, including environmental protection.
We are also aware that the China Development Bank is regulated by the China Banking Regulatory Commission
and its mandatory ‘Green Credit Directive’. This obligates all China’s banks to: ensure the projects they finance abide by applicable laws and regulations on environmental protection, land, health and safety of the country or
jurisdiction where the project is located; be consistent with international best practices and standards; “undergo
environmental and social risk assessments at all stages; and for credit to be suspended or terminated where
major risks or hazards are identified”
The Bank’s Board of Directors is also obliged to promote environmental
protection and sustainable development in the projects it chooses to fund. This Green Credit Directive has been
commended as one of the most advanced and progressive banking regulations in the world, which is really
something to be proud of.
We find it deeply worrying, after all these good intentions, that bauxite mining beneath the forests of Ghana
agreed in a MoU between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Ghana will
potentially be financed by the China Development Bank.
For this project, major risks and threats exist for both
people and the environmentvii, which we would like to make you aware of.
The bauxite development MOU identifies the Kibi and Nyinahin bauxite deposits for mining under the Atewa and
Tano Offin forest reserve. The Atewa Forest, one of Ghana’s last remaining intact forests, is an area of unique
and very complex ecosystems with rich combinations of species found nowhere else on Earth.
In recognition of this forest’s unique importance, it has various official designations including National Forest Reserve in 1926,
Special Biological Protection Area in 1994, Hill Sanctuary in 1995, one of Ghana’s 30 Globally Significant
Biodiversity Areas in 1999, and Important Bird Area in 2001.
The Tano Offin Forest Reserve, Ghana’s fourth largest Globally Significant Biodiversity Area, contains similarly important biodiversity and species richness.
Species listed as Critically Endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of
Threatened Species have been identified in the Atewa Forest and many in the Tano Offin, but exist in very few, if
any, other places. These areas are thus extremely special. And, because of their rich biodiversity and high
numbers of endemic species, West African forests including the Atewa and Tano Offin Forests have been
designated as one of the world’s 34 Global Biodiversity Hotspots.
Our concern is that bauxite development will decimate these forests, as well as the rich biodiversity and livelihoods they support. When these species are lost,
they are gone forever. We shall never get them back again; pictures in books will be all that remain.
Besides the huge biodiversity value of these two forests, there is also their crucial role in water provision for
Ghanaians. The headwaters of the River Offin, a protected area because of the ecosystem services it provides,
are in the Tano Offin Forest Reserve and would be threatened as a source of clean water if bauxite mining were
to take place there. The same is true of the Atewa Forest where the headwaters of the rivers Ayensu, Densu and
Birim all rise. Over 5 million people, including much of Accra, rely on these rivers to meet their daily needs for clean
Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency has stated that Ghana will be a water-stressed country by 2025 if
nothing is done to reduce water pollution. Bauxite development will make this pollution far worse.
There are also the many other benefits of these forests that would be lost if they are exploited. A cost-benefit analysis of alternative uses of the Atewa Forest found that conserving the forest intact and creating a National Park at Atewa with a supporting buffer zone would result in a cumulative value of US$ 1,157 million over 30 years compared to the US$ 1017 million brought by mining and logging (of which 32% would be from illegal and unregulated activities, compared to 7% illegal/unregulated in the National Park scenario).
Furthermore, only the National Park scenario with the supporting buffer zone will, in both economic and conservation terms,provide a long term value increase, benefiting both upstream and downstream stakeholders. Complete
degradation by mining and logging will have an initial value increase followed by a constant downward trend.
The bauxite in Atewa is also low grade anyway and therefore of much less value. There are also the unvalued
medicinal possibilities of the forest that may contain undiscovered cures for human illnesses; the forests’ huge
contribution to climate change mitigation; and the resources they provide for food security, livelihoods and
other household needs for very deprived forest fringe communities.
There is also this to consider: the China Bank Regulatory Commission obligates China’s banks to abide by laws
and regulations on environmental protection, land, health and safety of the country or jurisdiction where the
project is located. Mining in Ghana’s Forest reserves is illegal, but companies are mining there because a verbal
directive from the Ghana government in 1996 allowed mining in 2% of Ghana’s forest reservesxii. This 2% may
have already been breached. As there is no legal instrument backing this, it is essentially illegal (see Appendix 1
for details on how this precedent came about). In Protected Forest Reserves, which include the whole of the
Atewa Forest and parts of the Tano Offin Forest, mining is illegal throughout 100%. Even now, 35% of the
mining in the off-reserve areas of the Atewa Range is illegal
Furthermore, Ghana’s Constitution stipulates compliance with international laws and treaty obligations such as the UN Convention on Biological Diversity
ratified by Ghana in 1992. Mining bauxite within the Protected Forest Reserves of Atewa and Tano Offin would
break not only Ghana’s laws but also the Constitution, UN conventions, and the obligations under the Green
Credit Directive of the China Bank Regulatory Commission.
Forest communities also do not want bauxite development in their forests. They are well aware of the
devastating impacts mining has, including water and air pollution, serious health problems, and destruction of
the forests they rely on for food security, subsistence and livelihood needs. They hear the empty promises the
mining companies make to gain access to forest lands: promises of jobs and local development that are so rarely
fulfilled. The Okyehene is the King (traditional ruler) of Akyem Abuakwa, a state that includes the Atewa Forest
and has existed since 1500, long before the nation of Ghana was established. Given its preexistence, the
traditional system of rule exists alongside Ghana’s democratic system of governance. Ghana’s traditional rulers
are deeply revered; even politicians seek their advice because of the respect they have among their people.
The Okyehene has stated categorically that he is against any form of mining in the Atewa Forestxiv. He is deeply
concerned about forest destruction caused by mining and the resulting water and air pollution. Because of this,
he formed the Okyeman Environmental Foundation and the Okyeman Brigade to help protect the forest against
destruction from illegal mining and logging, and to reforest damaged areas. His wish is for Atewa Forest to
become a National Park, a site for ecotourism, and a centre for education and research. As custodian, the person
responsible for protecting the forestlands including Atewa Forest on behalf of his people, the wishes of the
Okyehene deserve respect and fulfillment from anyone planning to develop those lands.
There are many alternatives for Ghana’s rich and biodiverse forests that, besides protecting the forests and the
wildlife species, will also bring new benefits to Ghana as a nation and maintain existing benefits to the world.
These include centres for ecotourism, research, education, spiritual renewal, and new medicines, while
communities can benefit from forest related green development investments and diversification into traditional
alternative livelihoods such as beekeeping, snail farming and organic fruit and vegetable production, sales of wood carvings, kente cloth and other traditional items to tourists, and employment in the ecotourism and
Considering the enormous importance and value of the forests both now and in the future, and the damaging
impacts of mining for communities, forests, biodiversity, the climate and clean water, we find the China
Development Bank’s financing of bauxite mining in Ghana’s forest reserves to be deeply concerning. We also
suggest it is completely inconsistent with the Bank’s stated Green Growth core values, its claims of support for
environmental protection, resource conservation and social responsibilities, its own guidance that projects
benefiting from its loans should be managed according to international ecological protection principles and
regulations, as well as the obligations of the Regulatory Commission’s Green Credit Directive, the principles of
the UN Global Compact and its membership of the UNEP Finance Initiative. To properly fulfill these many and commendable commitments of the China Development Bank, we respectfully request that your bank officially commits to not fund any bauxite mining within the fully protected Atewa Forest. We ask your bank to urge the Governments of Ghana and the People’s Republic of China to completely eliminate Atewa from the bauxite
mining agreement. We don’t want anyone looking back and saying: ‘We wish we had listened. We wish we
hadn’t done that. Now the forest is gone forever’.
1. Helen La Trobe, Friends of the Earth Ghana
2. Daryl Bosu, Deputy National Director, A Rocha Ghana
3. Kenneth Nana Amoateng, Executive Director, Abibiman Foundation, Ghana
4. National Coordinator, Oilwatch Ghana
5. Eric Lartey, Director, Ghana Wildlife Society
6. Andrea Dempsey, Country Coordinator, West African Primate Conservation Action, Ghana/Cote d’Ivoire
7. Mustapha Seidu, Director, Nature and Development Foundation, Ghana
8. Gideon Commey, Director, Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM)
9. Samuel Oracca-Tetteh, Executive Director, Network For Health And Relief Foundation (NHRF), Ghana
10. Harris Andoh, Executive Director, Rural Development and Youth Association, Ghana
11. Mr. Samuel K. Nketiah, Programme Director, Tropenbos International Ghana
12. Albert Katako, Head of Programmes, Civic Response Ghana
13. Anthony Darko, New Generation Concern
14. O.Y. Owusu-Sekyere, Executive Director, Conservation Foundation
15. Festus Longmartey, Talent Search
16. Samuel Deh, Executive Director, Green Globe Society Ghana
17. Henry Akley, Accelerated Rural Development Organisation
18. Kwame Wiredu, Gaia Care
19. John Arko-Tettey, Chief Executive Officer, Devascom Foundation
20. James Saaka, Katchito Community Development Centre (KCODEC), Ghana
The Development Institute, Ghana
22. Bern Guri, Executive Director, Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development
23. Samuel Mawutor, Coordinator, Forest Watch Ghana
24. Afreh-Boakye, Chief Executive Officer , Domestic Lumber Traders Association (DOLTA)
25. Bawa Karim, Juxtapose Integrated Development Association (JIDA)
26. John K.Owusu, Executive Director, Environmental Protection Association of Ghana (EPAG)
27. Peter Maar, Director, Institute for Cultural Affairs
28. Theodore Newman Ofosu, Executive Director, Projects Planning & Management (PROMAG) Network
29. Richmond Antwi-Bediako, Executive Director, Rural Environmental Care Association of Africa, Ghana
30. Jerry Affum Offei, National Programmes Coordinator, Pals of the Earth, Ghana
31. Theophilus Dokurugu, Executive Director, Northern Ghana Network for Development
32. Doreen A. Yeboah, National Coordinator, National Forest Forum, Ghana
33. Michael Aryeh, Resource Trust
34. John K.G. Amonoo, Senior Project Manager, Proforest Ghana
35. James Parker, Regional Director, BVRio, Ghana
36. Ama Kudom-Agyemang, Communications Consultant, Media Platform on Environment and CC/PAB
37. Evelyn Seyram Avorgbedor, Centre for Agroforestry Business Development, Ghana
1. Anabela Lemos, Director, JA! Friends of the Earth Moçambique, Moçambique
2. Sonkoue Watio Michelle, Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement, Cameroun
3. Paul Guy Hyomeni, Executive Director, Collectif Camerounais des Organisations des Droits de l’Homme
et de la Démocratie (COCODHD), Cameroun
4. Chinwike Chijioke Chinwike, African Law Foundation (AFRILAW), Nigeria
5. Conne Gaoussou, Secrétaire Général, Association des Propriétaires de Forêts Naturelles et Plantations
(APFNP), Côte d’Ivoire
6. Aly Sagne, Lumière Synergie pour le Développement, Sénégal
7. Jonathan W. Yiah, Coordinator Forest Governance Program, Sustainable Development Institute / FOE
8. Kwami Kpondzo, Les Amis de la Terre –Togo
9. Rita Uwaka, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria
10. Friends of the Earth Africa Forest & Biodiversity Program
11. Alexis Gballou, Vice-President, Membre de l’ONG Environnement Cadre de Vie (ECV), Côte d’Ivoire
1. Julia Christian, Forest Governance Campaigner (West Africa), Fern, Belgium
2. Mathias Rittgerott, Rainforest Rescue, Germany
3. Juliet Lu, University of California Berkeley, United States
4. Meiki W Paendong, WALHI West Java (FoE Indonesia), Indonesia
5. Andrey Laletin, Chairman, Friends of the Siberian Forests, Siberia
6. Eugene Simonov, Coalition coordinator, Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition.
7. Paolyel M.P. Onencan, Executive Director, Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organisation
8. Natasia Crnkovic, President, and Duska Kudra, Centar Za Zivotnu Sredinu/Friends of the Earth Bosnia
9. Natalia Salvatico, Friends of the Earth Argentina.
10. Luz Julieta Ligthart, Policy Coordinator on AIIB, NGO Forum on Asian Development Bank, Philippines
11. Stella Jegher, head of policies and international department, Pro Natura, Switzerland
12. Freek Kallenberg, Campaigns Manager, Milieudefensie / Friends of the Earth Netherlands
13. Johan Frijns, Director, BankTrack, Netherlands
14. Beatrice Olivastri, Friends of the Earth Canada
15. Dr Richard Dixon, Friends of the Earth Scotland
16. Junichi Mishiba, Friends of the Earth Japan
17. Bente Hessellund Andersen, NOAH – FoE Denmark
Source:enaghana.com/story by Kojo Ansah.