Does the Atewa Forest Landscape need a Strategic Environmental Assessment?
Globally, Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is increasingly being recognized as a means by which sustainability goals can be reached. It focuses on policies, plans and programmes that promote integration of environmental, social, cultural, economic and climate change considerations into development strategies and sector reform.
Following the intention of the Government of Ghana to set up an integrated bauxite and aluminium industry in Ghana, the parliament in 2018 passed the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation Act, 2018 (Act 976) to establish the Integrated Bauxite and Aluminium Corporation.
The Act provides the legal framework for the corporation to oversee the development and regulation of an integrated bauxite and aluminium industry. Act 976, however, did not make any provisions for the conduct of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).
Further, the current legal framework on environmental assessment in Ghana (Act 490 and L.I. 1652) did not make any provision for the performance of a SEA even though in practice SEAs are occasionally undertaken . This notwithstanding, there seem to be no indication for the conduct an SEA for the proposed bauxite and aluminium industry. The Atewa Range Forest Reserve, among other sites, has been earmarked for the mining of bauxite in Ghana.