News

    Ghana Environmentalists Concerned by Oil Law Delay

    President John Atta-Mills' government is drafting laws to regulate how oil revenues will be spent and how Ghana's environment will be protected, but that legislation has not yet reached parliament, causing concern among environmentalists.

    Activists of Greenpeace dance outside the Ghana embassy to congratulate the Ghana embassy staff on the 'banning of the light bulb' in Ghana, in New Delhi (File)
    Activists of Greenpeace dance outside the Ghana embassy to congratulate the Ghana embassy staff on the 'banning of the light bulb' in Ghana, in New Delhi (File)

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Environmentalists in Ghana are concerned about the delay in laws regulating next year's start of offshore oil drilling.  

    Ghana's offshore Jubilee Field could earn the country as much as $1 billion a year when it starts producing oil and natural gas next year.

    President John Atta-Mills' government says it wants to make sure the windfall benefits the country.  So it is drafting laws to regulate how oil revenues will be spent and how Ghana's environment will be protected.

    But that legislation has not yet reached parliament, and environmentalists are concerned the delay could mean oil starts flowing before Ghana is ready.

    Hannah Owusu Koranteng works with a non-governmental organization that is helping prepare communities near the oil fields.  In all 28 of those communities she has visited, she says there is still little understanding of the potential environmental impact.

    "They did not see the environmental impact statement before it was discussed at the public hearing," said Koranteng.  "So if you ask about what their expectations are they still think that oil production is still going to bring a lot of benefit, and they have not really assessed the environmental issue."

    Most of the people near the oil fields earn their living by fishing.  While the lights of the rigs are attracting more fish, the area around the platforms is being fenced off to secure production.

    Both the government and oil producers have spoken of the need to protect the local fishing industry.  Kyei Kwadwo Yamoah's civil society group is working to make sure that is more than just talk.

    "Whoever the fish provides livelihood for must be given certain incentives to operate," said Yamoah.  "We have formed community environmental management and advocacy groups in each district to build their capacity to engage on the oil, specifically they will be looking at the mitigation measures, how the mitigation measures will be implemented.  And they will also be looking at the issues of corporate social responsibility projects, how it fits into the community development agenda."

    Ghana need look no farther than neighboring Nigeria to see how quickly squandered oil wealth can bring violence and environmental destruction.

    President Atta-Mills says he is mindful of that example and is determined to learn from the experience of others.

    Olive Igbuzor, the International Head of Campaigns for Action Aid Nigeria, says with proper planning, Ghana can avoid the misery that oil has brought to the Niger Delta.

    "The civil society in Ghana should be able to engage with government to ensure that the basic principles of proper natural resources and environmental governance are put in place," he said.  "There must be adequate laws and policies put in place even before the commencement of exploitation."

    Koranteng says civil society groups are still waiting to see the government's plans for resource allocation and environmental protection before large-scale drilling begins.

    "It is important for us to look at all these things, define a policy for us to see how we want to use the oil resource and then ensure that we gain from it," said Koranteng.

    A study by the aid agency Oxfam America and Ghana's Integrated Social Development Center says the transparent management of oil funds not only improves public spending, but gives the public greater confidence that their money is being spent wisely.  

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora