State Of Ghana’s Environment – Challenges Of Compliance And Enforcement
The country of Ghana is in Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Togo. Ghana has rich and diverse natural resources. These resources are exploited to meet the growing demands of the populace. The uncontrolled manner of utilisation of these natural resources has resulted in reversible and irreversible changes within the environment. Ghana has a long history of attempting to safeguard the environment from being abused by enacting and including environmental protection in appropriate legislation. The best result from all of these attempts is the establishment of an organisation solely responsible for the environment – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Ghana Environmental Protection Agency, since its establishment in 1994 as an Agency with powers to regulate the activities within the environment, has been using the Environmental Assessment Administration procedures as its major tool for achieving compliance with its legislation. The number of applications received for environmental permits within a certain time frame is used as a measure of environmental compliance. To be able to enforce the environmental legislation, the Agency promotes compliance by working in partnership with other stakeholders, especially those state organisations with an equal mandate to enforce certain legislation. Compliance monitoring is done by the Environmental Quality Department of the Agency in collaboration with other departmental staff within and outside the Agency. Non-compliance response involves mainly using statutory notices, site visits, and, as the last resort, legal action. The main challenges of compliance and enforcement are the political will to see the environment as a priority area, the lack of adequate resources for environmental management and the carrying out of compliance and enforcement activities. The other challenge is review of existing legislation to reflect the current trend of events and enactment of new legislation.
- Miscellaneous