Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Short Summary of Third Ghana State of the Environment Forum

Environmental Film Festival of Accra (EFFA), for the past nine years, has been raising awareness on environmental issues through film. They have also organised workshops for young filmmakers, to encourage them to create quality content.

Their overall goal is to rouse the general public to take action on environmental issues. Last Tuesday, 2nd July, the third State of the Environment Forum, part of the festival, was organised by EFFA in collaboration with Creative Storm Network at the British Council, Accra. The theme was "The Environment and Health in Ghana". The forum attracted stakeholders from academia, government, civil society, community groups, the media and development community. I provided coverage for the event through BloggingGhana.

 After initial deliberations, the forum was split into four focus groups:

1.    Climate Change, Degraded Environment and Flooding
2.    Ghana’s Oil Industry and Fisheries
3.    Water and Sanitation
4.    Mining and Forestry

Breakout sessions were led by thought leaders for each of the thematic areas. Some of the outcomes were quite revealing:

Overall, I think the focus on health and well-being is spot-on as recent trends in Ghana such as e-waste, poor sanitation and galamsey are impacting negatively on our health. I also like the idea of involving school children in the larger festival, through events such as drama and film-making workshops. However, I think the organisers can achieve more by modifying the target audience to include people outside "intellectual spheres"; that way all who are affected will benefit from the information disseminated. Similarly, there are many pressing environmental issues affecting people outside Accra. The issue of galamsey and deforestation, for example, is well beyond Accra's borders. So, why focus all activities in this one small space?

Next year, the festival will chalk its 10th milestone. I trust the resourceful teams behind EFFA and Creative Storm Network would raise the notch higher in their advocacy efforts.


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