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World Environment Day Celebration 2016

ABOUT THE WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY (WED)

World Environment Day (WED) is an important day organized by the United Nations to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it is celebrated on the 5th of June every year and has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.

Through decades of WED celebrations, millions of people from all over the world and from all sectors of society have taken part in environmental action. By bundling their energy, WED has the power to generate hugely positive impacts on the planet.       

Since its inception in 1974, WED has developed into a global platform for raising awareness and taking action on increasingly urgent issues, from marine pollution and global warming to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. Millions of people around the world have been motivated by the ‘people’s day’ for action and are increasingly weaving their activities into a global movement.

Each WED is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. WED 2016 is themed on the illegal trade in wildlife under the slogan ‘Go Wild for Life’. The Theme ‘Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife Trade’ is aimed at bringing to light the booming illegal trade in wildlife products and its eroding effects on precious biodiversity hence robbing humanity of natural heritage and pushing whole species towards extinction.

GII MARKS THE DAY

Greener Impact International (GII) in partnership with the Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) with support from the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) marked the day with a youth event on the 3rd of June at Deks Educational Complex. The purpose of the event was to sensitize the youth about the day, educate them on environmental issues in Ghana, and to develop a youth statement for the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.

The youth event was marked with support from Unilever Ghana and was commemorated with a local slogan of “Join the race to green Ghana and Protect Wildlife.”

The forum included activities that made up this year’s Ghana World Environment Day, aiming to sensitize the youth about environmental issues and the role they could play in addressing the challenges of environmental degradation.

The colourful event brought together the Deputy Executive Director (Field Operations) of the Environmental Protection Agency, a Director of RSIM representing the Hon. Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, representatives of cooperate bodies, staff and students of DEKS Educational Complex. The school brass band led the dignitaries and the guest speakers amidst drumming and the blowing trumpets to the forum grounds.

In her address, Mrs. Sonia Coliffie Yakung, Headmistress of Deks Educational Institute, welcomed everybody. She expressed appreciation and gratitude to the organizers for selecting her school among the many schools in the Tema Metropolis and added that their doors are always opened to accept subsequent programs like this. She pledged the commitment of her school to the greening concept, adding that desertification could only be stopped through tree planting.

The Chairman for the occasion and General Manager of Deks Educational Institute, Mr Mark Dei, urged the students to put the lessons learned on the environment from the forum and in their classrooms into practice and also pledged the readiness of the school in joining the tree planting campaign.

Mr. Kassim Hussein, the Executive Director of Greener Impact International, in his statement, suggested that there was the need for all stakeholders to assist in mobilizing resources and re-double efforts at conserving the environment. Mr Kassim emphasized the need to build the capacity of the youth for them to be able to play effective roles in protecting the environment which are been destroyed through forest depletion, water pollution, poor waste management practices, and illegal mining.

The Global Representative of Greener Impact International, Ms. Stefanie Robins from Denmark, made a brilliant presentation on the global theme “Go Wild for Life.” She explained the importance of protecting wildlife, the benefits it brings to individuals and the nation as a whole, and how important it is for future generations.

She urged the international community to wage a relentless war on the destruction of wildlife. She added that illegal trade in wildlife will lead to a devastating consequence for the stability of the ecosystem and hence threaten the survival of life on earth.

Mr. Kassim Gawusu from the wildlife society of Ghana and the National Cordinator of the Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) also gave his statement on the role of the youth in joining the race to “Green Ghana” and protect wildlife. He advised the youth to play an active role in protecting the environment and wildlife and also encourage their parents and friends to join the race. In his presentation, he advised the youth to observe the code of the wildlife club of Ghana and do their best at all times to protect wild animals and the places these animals live so as to ensure their prolonged existence in Ghana.

Deputy Executive Director in charge of Field Operations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr. John Pwamang, urged the students to avoid actions that degrade the environment. He opined that environmental conservation and protection ensured the continuity of life.

He described the forum as appropriate because promoted environmental consciousness and inculcated in the younger generation the importance and benefits of environmental conservation and protection and the need to refrain from practices that degraded the environment.

Amidst these speeches and presentations were performances from students of the school, which included environmental poems and sketches.

The keynote address was delivered by a representative of the honorable Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Mr. Mahama Ayariga, Mr. Ben Asomani, Director of RSIM/ National Committee Chairman of the Environmental. He urged the youth to not only plant trees,t but to grow them into maturity. Mr Asomani noted that trees were vital to the existence and well-being of the environment and described tree planting as a positive environmental action that protected the environment, provided shade in the dry season, wind protection in windy seasons, and improved air and water quality. He added that trees provided food and shelter for human beings and wildlife, mentioning that it contributes to climate control. He commended GII for the initiative and pledged the ministry’s support in making the forum sustainable.

The forum was brought to an end with ceremonial tree planting by Mr. Benard Asomani of the MESTI and Mr. Pwamang of the EPA respectively to symbolize the day.

On the day, 5th of June, the Youth from the forum joined staff of MESTI at the Michel Camp to commemorate the day, perform and present the Youth statement to the Hon. Minister of Environment Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Hon. Mahama Ayariga.

In his address, the Hon. Minister appreciated the role the youth has in protecting the environment and urged GII to keep up with the good work while promising to take into considerations the recommendations of the outcome of the youth forum.

On the day, GII also presented a package consisting of a PACE book, CD for the winners of the “National What Do You Know” competition organized by the Ministry.

Publication of the GII day on the Ghana Government website:

http://www.ghana.gov.gh/index.php/media-center/news/2814-greener-impact-international-holds-awareness-creation-forum-for-students-to-mark-world-environmental-day

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