Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission of Ghana has officially inaugurated a team to spearhead the protection of protected areas (biodiversity) in the Sissala East Municipal of the Upper West Region of Ghana.The team comprises of executives and Ex-officio members and drawn from different backgrounds in society.
The Sissala Kasena Fraah Community Resources Management Area (CREMA) covers an area of about 144,295.10 hacters of a hilly matured Guinea Savannah Vegetation type that is being protected by nineteen communities that form the CREMA .The Community Resource Management Area forms part of a larger corridor that links the Nazinga Game Ranch in Neighboring Burkina Faso and the largest Natural Resource Reserve in Ghana known as Mole National Park.
The event took place on the day of 11th November, 2020.The colorful but short event took place at the forecourt of the Tumu Kuoro’s Palace in Tumu.Participants were entertained by Gugo Yila dance troupe from Kong community.
In attendance at the event were, Chiefs led by Kuoro Ahamed Hor, the Sissala East Municipal Chief Executive Officer Hon.Karim Nanyua, H/W Ernest Yao Agbenya Municipal court, Operations Manager in-chief of protected areas Mr. Umar Dubuire Farouk,Mr.Joseph Binlinla Regional Wildlife Manager, Mrs Alberta Gorah Finance Manager, Mr Joseph Oppong, Nana Owusu Ansah Park Manager for Gbelle Resource Reserve ,Kong dance troupe, CREMA members, media,Mr Balu Mohammed the MC of the event and other guests.
The Regional Wildlife Manager in the person of Mr Joseph Binlinla during his presentation disclosed that, under the sustainable Land and Water Management Project (SLWMP), the Forestry Commission through the Wildlife Division (WD) is facilitating the establishments of 6 Community Resource Management Areas (CREMA) within the Western Wildlife Corridor. To this end, one of the six CREMAs is the Sissala Kasena Fraah CREMA, which comprises of nineteen (19) constituent communities. These communities include Pina, Nmanduanu, Gwosi Upper,DimajanNo.1,DimajanNo.2,Chinchang,Taffiasi,Bujan,Nabugubelle,Kuroboi,Bichemboi,Nabulo,Sumborun,Doilibizon,Santijan,Gbenebisi,Bassirisang,Banu,Kunchogu Gwosi lower and Upper and Navariwie respectively.
The Regional Wildlife Manager further made it known that, the intervention is expected to consolidate and carry forward gains made during the implementation of the Northern Savannah Biodiversity Conservation Project (NSBCP) which was funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the World Bank from 2002-2008.
He disclosed that, the implementation of the Sissala Kasena Fraah CREMA activities started by the regional Wildlife office way back 2011 with active involvement and participation of all the nineteen communities in the Sissala East Municipal of the Upper West Region.
He concluded his presentation by commending the roles the various stakeholders (Traditional authorities, Municipal Assembly NGOs, environmental activists and many more) played to make this intervention a success and also charged the CREMA team to kick start the implementation of the plan in the management plan.
According to the Sissala East Municipal Chief Executive Hon.Karim Nanyua, he alludes to the fact that, natural resources by their nature are meant to be utilized by mankind but must be done with cognizance to the future of the unborn generation and hence ought to be sustainably harnessed. He also recounted how challenging it was to come this far with the intervention. The Municipal Chief Executive Officer disclosed that, the depletion of the environment is as a result of inadequate or non-involvement of locals who suffer the most from environmental conservation policies and thus most always be considered in decision making and implementation. For this, he admits the birth of CREMA as a timely and laudable idea so far as sustainable development or sustainable environmental conservation is concerned. Hon.Karim Nanyua commended all those who contributed in diverse ways to make this project a dream come through.
In conclusion, he made a passionate plea to Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission to consider incorporating alternative livelihood enterprises for communities situated around forest and Wildlife Reserves as a sustainable way for conserving the environment.
During the key note address by the Operations Manager in- charge of protected areas in the person of Mr Umar Dubuire Farouk, He first of all bemoaned how depleted the rich biodiversity is as a result of human utilization of the resources in it and further espoused factors that have led to decline in Wildlife resources as the following:
- Previous wildlife management systems that have relied on the state to restrict and control access to wildlife have been unable to contain sustainable wildlife use especially outside of protected areas.
- The tenure status of wildlife resources that have failed to create an incentive for responsible use and management by those living with these resources and society at large.
- Anthropogenic drivers such as bush fires, shifting cultivation with short fallow periods leading to loss of soil fertility and hence clearing of more land leading to decrease of critical wildlife habitat among others.
He asserted that, to curb the issues enumerated above there was a need for devolution of ownership and management authority ,responsibility and tenure to define and constitute grassroots or local institutions with rights and responsibilities . To this end, a community Collaborative Wildlife Management Policy which recognizes this need was developed by the Wildlife Division of the forestry Commission in 2000.
According to him, this policy thrives on major principles and thus includes:
- a) That effective management of Wildlife is bets achieved by giving it focused value for those who live with it.
- b) That those who live with and bear the cost of Wildlife whether by the individual or collectively must be determined by those who live with the resource.
He further went on to add that, based on the above; the Wildlife Division adopted the Community Resource Management Area concept and that, the CREMA concept is based on the establishment of areas where wildlife or natural resource management for that matter is incorporated into existing land use.
In his conclusive statement, he officially announced the inauguration of Sissala Kasena Fraah Community Resource Management (CREMA) and also called for a strong collaboration on the part of the executives of CREMA, traditional authorities, the Municipal Assembly, NGOs and other stake holders so as to effectively scale up the economic development of its peoples and the communities at large and thus called for the incorporation of the activities and development priorities of CREMA into the Municipal Assembly’s Medium Term Development Plan.
The chairman of CREMA Mr.Shaibu after being presented an official certificate signed by the Ministry of Environment and the former chief Executive Officer of Forestry Commission, expressed the preparedness of his team to implement plans outlined so far and craves for the support of the Forestry Commission and Wildlife Division when the need be. He concluded by also appealing for the incorporation of alternative livelihood intervention in communities most affected by conservation practices as their source of livelihood is sometimes curtailed and may lead to unsustainable practices on the environment.