STATEMENT BY HER LADYSHIP CHIEF JUSTICE SOPHIA AKUFFO AT THE 2ND NATIONAL REDD+ FORUM AT THE ACCRA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE ON 19TH OCTOBER, 2017 THEME: STRENGTHENING LAW ENFORCEMENT FOR EFFECTIVE REDD+ IMPLEMENTATION

  1. E. The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,
  2. E. The Vice President, Dr. Alhaji MahamuduBawumia,

Her Ladyship the Former Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, Chairperson of the Event

The Inspector General of Police, David Asante Apeatu,

The Chief of Staff and Deputies,

Honourable Ministers and Ministers of State,

The Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission,

Development Partners,

Members of the Diplomatic Corp

Members of Security Agencies,

Nananom, Niimei, Naamei,

Distinguished Invited Guests,

Members of the Media,

Teachers and Students of various Second and Third Cycle Institutions,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed heart-warming to be here at the 2nd National REDD+ forum which is programmed to sensitize and create awareness on the importance of law enforcement in forest governance.

Your Ladyship the Chairperson,

The theme for this year’s event, which is “STRENGHTENING LAW ENFORCEMENT FOR EFFECTIVE REDD+ IMPLEMENTATION”, falls within my direct purview as the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana and I consider it a key component in the management of Ghana’s Forest and Wildlife Estates, considering the alarming increase in illegal activities that take place in these forest and wildlife estates, and the rigid resolve of the perpetrators of these acts to continue amidst all Government’s interventions, to the contrary.

Your Ladyship the Chairperson,

The Judicial Service in recent times, under your administration, has contributed to enforcing the law on these perpetrators of forest illegality in diverse ways. One of such was the designation of specialized courts for the prosecution of cases of illegal mining to assure the needed focus, and effective dispositions that these cases require.

The Judicial Service was also very instrumental in the training of the Forestry Commission’s special prosecutors who were commissioned into office by the Attorney General’s Department to handle cases of forest illegality, particularly illegal logging, which impact negatively on the forest ecosystem, as well as revenue accrual into the national coffers. We, as a Service, believe that there is still a lot more that we can do to contribute to the fight against deforestation, forest degradation, unsustainable forest management as well as other activities that cause environmental degradation in Ghana and contribute to global warming, and we plan to expand the base of specialized courts to cover all environmental issues and threats.

Without doubt, a strong law enforcement regime is critical to achieving the goals and objectives of Ghana’s REDD+ program.  If Ghana is to set an example to the Global world on good forest governance, sound punitive measures need to be in place to serve as deterrence to the perpetrators of forest illegality. I therefore implore all gathered here to contribute to the achievement of REDD+ goals and objectives.

We cannot afford to fail the future generation, thus the fight must be waged with all seriousness; and none should be the weak link.  We must all remember that for the time we spend on this earth, we are only custodians of the earth’s resources, and duty-bound to preserve them for posterity.  For our children and theirs, we cannot afford to fail in this duty, because to do so is to consign future generations unborn to a life of disasters such as floods, droughts and extreme temperature events.

 

Your Ladyship the Chairperson,

Under your tenure of office, you laid a very strong foundation on which to build, and together with the other arms of government, I will also build on this foundation to achieve more results, towards the eradication of all vices that threaten our good earth.

 

I make a special call to the men and women of the security forces, the Forestry Commission and all relevant agencies not to rest on their oars but rather to ensure that those who deforest and degrade the environment are arrested and prosecuted, for the relevant punitive measures to be ordered against those convicted.

Finally, on the part of the judiciary, I will ensure that all perpetrators are speedily tried and those found culpable given deserving punishment to serve as an effective deterrence to would-be law breakers.

We have only one earth. Let us keep it safe. God bless our Homeland Ghana.

Thank you.

JUDICIAL SERVICE OF GHANA

P.O. Box GP 119, Accra

Tel: (+233) 0302-663951, 663954, 666671

LAW COURT COMPLEX ACCRA

Tel: (+233) 0302-748100, 748101, 748102

 

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