Illegal encroachments on the Sakumo Ramsar Site

We recall that the Sakumo Ramsar Site together with five other wetlands sites of global conservation significance were designated under the wetlands management (Ramsar Sites) Regulations of 1999(LI 1659), following the ratification on 22nd June 1988 by Ghana of the convention on wetlands of international importance, especially as waterfowl habitat, which was adopted by the international community at Ramsar, Iran on 22nd February 1971.

We are however appalled by the continued encroachment and degradation of the site by some recalcitrant and unscrupulous persons who have continued to put up residential structures at the site.

Our investigation revealed that none of the encroaches have authorization from the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) or the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission as required by regulation five of the LI 1659.

We are concerned that the encroachment is taking place without any action being taken by the Tema Metropolitan Assembly or the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission which maintains a field office at the site. We believe that lack of decisive action from the Ministry and other state institutions charge with the responsibility of ensuring the proper management of the site is encouraging further encroachment. This situation would effectively negate all previous efforts to demolish illegal structures which were carried out at great cost to the state.

We therefore appeal to state authorities in charge, to demonstrate its commitment to conserving the site by taking decisive action to stop all illegal encroachment and come up with concrete program to conserve and manage the site.

Meanwhile, we wish to commend government for its attempt to sanitize the Sakumo Ramsar Site and to rid the site of illegal encroachment and conserve the site as an international heritage.

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