Illicit trade in marine resources costs West Africa $26 billion (minister)

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Abu Jinapor – Minister of Lands and Natural Resources.

Mr. Samuel A. Jinapor, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, said the West African sub-region loses $26 billion annually due to illicit trade in marine products, including illegal fishing.

“Economically, Interpol estimates that 38% of global crime proceeds come from crimes against nature,” he said.

Mr. Jinapor was speaking to some members of the media at the Ghana Natural Crimes Workshop, organized by the United States Agency for Global Media-USAGM, held in Accra.

He said crimes against nature were diverse and affected various sectors of the economy, including land, forestry, mining, environment, fisheries, maritime sector and waste management.

“Crimes such as illegal fishing, illegal mining, illegal logging, illegal export by land, under-declaration of products, mislabeling of products, poaching, cash trafficking wildlife, illegal wildlife trade and land degradation continue to threaten our environment, our biodiversity and the lives and livelihoods of millions of people around the world, while depriving us of the resources needed for development. , declared the Minister.

He said these crimes had damaged some vital and vulnerable ecosystems around the world, such as forests, wildlife, oceans, wetlands, coral reefs and mangroves.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reports that globally, nature is declining at a rate unprecedented in human history and species extinction is increasing. is accelerating at an alarming rate, he cited.

IPBES, he said, estimates that around one million animal and plant species are now at risk of extinction in the coming decades, adding that these crimes have also affected global efforts to halt change. climatic.

The minister cited a report jointly produced by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WFF) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC), according to which crimes against nature accounted for about 26 percent of global emissions. and remained a major stumbling block to reaching 1.5 degrees. Celsius objective.

He said the government had taken a comprehensive and coordinated approach to tackling crimes related to logging, mining, wildlife and land conversion.

They include law enforcement measures, policy, legislative, regulatory and operational reforms, stakeholder engagement as well as the use of technology to prevent, detect, investigate, prosecute and punish these crimes.

While working to prevent these crimes, we continue to implement our aggressive afforestation and reforestation program, including the flagship Green Ghana project, to restore what has already been lost and mitigate the impacts of climate change, he said. -he declares.

On the other hand, he said, for those who saw crimes against nature as a means of survival, the government had, for example, introduced a community mining program to help them engage in legal, sustainable, responsible and environmentally friendly mining practices, as well as a community mining program. a National Alternative Employment and Livelihoods Program (NAELP) to provide alternative sources of livelihood to these people.

He said the measures would not yield the expected results without the collaboration of other stakeholders, especially the media, with their power of engagement and information.

Fisheries sector specialist Mr Kyei Kwadwo Yamoah said illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing had been identified globally as a major threat to the sustainability of fisheries resources.

“Globally, IUU fishing is estimated to be worth more than $10 billion and African countries in the Gulf of Guinea, which have little or no capacity to monitor their fisheries, are the main victims of this practice,” did he declare.

Mr Yamoah said most IUU fishing practices have taken root among fishermen due to a long absence of effective and sustainable enforcement measures, as there is weak enforcement of fishing laws and regulations in due to insufficient resources (both human and financial) and insufficient conflicts. resolution mechanisms.

Mr. Kevin J. Brosnahan, Press Secretary of the United States Embassy in Ghana, Public Affairs Section, encouraged media professionals to help the public understand crimes against nature, by not only being whistleblowers but also journalists of good and positive news.

He said the US government was committed to combating nature-related crime and advised Ghana to protect its natural resources so as not to cause serious damage to the ecosystem.

Joan Mower, Director of Development and Training at USAGM, Mr. Todd Brown, Photography and Television News Production Trainer, Voice of America, Ms. Ann Mikia, Senior Media Trainer, guided the journalists through the practical steps in creating a digital story, solutions journalism, among others. others.

Apart from this, the participants had a field visit to Ghana’s ports and ports, Tema Fishing Port, as part of the workshop.

Source: GNA

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