SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Associate Executive Director Sandra Owusu-Gyamfi has been selected to represent the Coalition of NGOs Against Mining in Atewa (CONAMA) within the Atewa District. She will work together with A ROCHA Ghana’s representatives to assess and report on progress work in promoting Atewa Range Forest Reserve as an area for:
• The payment of ecosystem services
• The development of a National Park
• Community-based eco-tourism and community carbon sequestration projects
The team will also organise joint programmes and projects of mutual benefit to members of the coalition, including visits and exchange of scientific materials on Atewa to promote the reserve globally.
The Atewa Range Forest Reserve, listed as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International, is Ghana’s most biodiverse yet most threatened wilderness area. The reserve is home to the critically endangered Togo Slippery Frog (Conraua derooi; a close relative of the world’s largest frog, the Goliath Frog Conraua goliath) now restricted to the reserve. Numerous other amphibian species as well as a diverse non-amphibious flora and fauna including 700+ butterfly species also live in the reserve.
Unfortunately, Atewa Range Forest Reserve has become the recent focus of many international mining companies due to its large deposits of high grade bauxite. Should these companies be granted permission to carry out their mountaintop-removal mining operations, this habitat will be destroyed, affecting local biodiversity and clogging streams and rivers that supply +5 million Ghanaians with drinking water with silt and by-products from mining chemicals; a catastrophe that will be impossible to reverse. There is therefore, a wide consensus among scientists and NGO’s that the reserve should be upgraded to the status of a national park for its permanent protection. SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana (STF! Ghana) therefore, joined forces with other environmental NGOs to form CONAMA. Our first task was to prevent the issuance of prospecting licences by Government to mining companies which we have been successful with. The second phase now is pushing government to enlist Atewa Range Forest Reserve as Ghana’s 6th National Park. We subsequently held an international summit on the theme “Atewa Forest a Heritage at the crossroads, What Future?” to come out with a clear road map and strategies for consideration by government, policy makers and the legislature to put in place the necessary legal frameworks to ensure Atewa is upgraded to a National Park status. STF! Ghana’s call up to spearhead this task is an honor done the organization and we will continue to work with our global partners to ensure the realization of this goal.
We are grateful to all our global partners for their support in our fight for the creation of Atewa Range Forest National Park and we look forward to many more of such in the coming years.