During the 7th session of Africa’s regional forum on sustainable development, a declaration was made, urging all African countries to “redefine and develop economic models that incorporate the protection of natural resources, the promotion of renewable energies, the development of green and resilient infrastructure and inclusive digitization, informed by an awareness of the value of human capital”.

The charge was to rekindle the efforts of African countries to achieve the SDGs (Agenda 2030) and Agenda 2063; “Africa we want, of the African Union” amidst the vagary impact of COVID-19.

The forum also highlighted key messages which enumerated challenges and suggested scientific, socio-economic and socio-politically oriented solutions to aid Africa achieve the SDGs in the last decade of agenda 2030.

I believe the National Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining that took place last week is a laudable initiative taken by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources under the leadership of Samuel A. Jinapor.

The dialogue sought to curb the degradation of our natural resources as a result of illegal mining (galamsey) and also help efficiently formalize the regulation of small scale mining.

The successful implementation of these initiatives will thereby support the nation’s efforts towards achieving the SDG indicators in the area of natural resource management.

The dialogue reaffirms Ghana’s commitment to improve mining practices and preserve the Nation’s land and water bodies. Ghana has gained International recognition in this field due to her current work towards fulfilling the key messages from the forum on Sustainable Development.

Additionally, the dialogue is in line with implementing one key message from the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development that says, “state and non-State entities should put in place measures to ensure the sustainable extraction and use of natural resources and to promote investments in digitalization and modern technologies to increase productivity, bridge the digital divide, spur innovation and accelerate growth’’.

A similar message was delivered by the President of the Republic of Ghana who was also the guest speaker at the launch of the consultative dialogues, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akofu-Addo.

He called for a consensus on developing sustainable methods of mining the minerals in Ghana.

Despite the obvious importance of the dialogue, I know there is a section of the Ghanaian populace that is still skeptical about the efficacy of the dialogue, forecasting the onward implementation of suggestions.

This is partly because of bipartisan interferences that have surrounded the fight against illegal mining and the regulation of small scale mining over the years.

However, I believe the multi-faceted action plan of the dialogue, with the inclusion of various sector stakeholders, has the potential to bring the hydra-headed challenges in the mining sub-sector to moribundity.

One important nugget from the dialogue is the call for enforcement of mining laws, particularly sanctions /penalties imposed by the Minerals and Mining Act, 2019 (Act 995).

Ultimately, when agreements, proposals and resolutions from the consultative dialogue are thoroughly implemented in a timely manner, Ghana will be ‘killing two birds with one stone’; preserving her national natural resources as well as achieving the SDG indicators.

This National Dialogue on Small Scale Mining is a stitch in time that’ll ‘truly’ save nine.

Murdock Kwadwo Yeboah

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