ACCRA, Ghana’s Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) has signed a Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) agreement with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to enhance the sustainable management of wetland resources in this country.

The two-year project, worth about 390,000 US dollars, is expected to address issues militating against lagoons through a holistic approach, with the overall goal of enhancing the management of these resources. It is also to promote livelihood options and resilience of wetland communities in the Volta and Greater Accra Regions (Provinces).

Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said his Ministry had been working with the FAO over the years to ensure the sustainable management of wetland resources, and thanked the organization for agreeing to maintain its partnership in this area.

He said the project was of outmost importance to both the government and the various communities involved because of their socio-economic and cultural benefits, and called for stakeholder support to jointly manage lagoon resources for food, nutrition security and resilient livelihoods.

Dr Abebe Haile-Gabriel, the FAO Regional Programme Leader for Africa and Representative to Ghana, commended the government for recognizing the importance of wetlands in its policy document, and the need to preserve their biological diversity and cultural attributes for present and future generations.

The FAO, he said, supported MESTI some few years ago to assess the issues affecting major lagoons in Ghana, with respect to the forestry and fishery resources status and use, human activities, institutional responsibilities and management practices.

That assessment had helped in identifying certain gaps and challenges associated with sustainable management of these resources, some of which included communal and individual pressures through over-exploitation, drainage, conversion, pollution among other conflicting which continuously threatened the environmental sustainability of lagoons, he added.

Wetlands in Ghana were of an immense socio-economic importance to communities in their proximity, and to the wider society at large, because of the pertinent natural functions they performed, as well as the natural products they generated, while maintaining and preserving biological diversity as well as cultural attributes.