As Ghana geared towards the December 7, 2020 general elections, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is catching all the attention after unveiling what it described as the People’s Manifesto.

According to the party, the People’s manifesto came about after seeking the opinion of Ghanaians on what they want the next NDC government under the leadership of John Dramani Mahama, do for them.

As a media organization only interested in matters relating to the environment, ghenvironment.org is serializing some of the promise made by the party in relation to Ghana’s environment. In our subsequent edition, that of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) will also be published. But first to be published is the NDC.

In the People’s Manifesto, the next NDC Government is promising to work to end the crisis of access to secured and affordable land for residential and business purposes.

It is also promising to review the principles underlying Land Administration Project in collaboration with Development Partners and restructure it to make it more responsive to national needs.

It is also promising to examine the land administration system and develop a comprehensive policy to make land acquisition simple, less cumbersome, investor-friendly and affordable to the average Ghanaian.

“We will decentralise land management services as required by the Lands Commission Act, develop a Land for Wealth policy for the youth and vulnerable groups to make land cheap and accessible for their economic activities and wealth creation, create land banks and invest in the acquisition of lands in various parts of the country to support youth entrepreneurship in agriculture as well as accelerating the implementation of the digitisation of land records as commenced under the previous NDC Government”, the party promised.

The NDC has also promised developed a comprehensive plan to fight deforestation in the country in the event that, it wins the 2020 general elections.

It said in the People’s Manifesto, “the next NDC Government will help reduce the rate of deforestation and forest degradation, create and maintain healthy and resilient forests to support habitat for wildlife, carbon sequestration and opportunity for outdoor recreation and increase participation of the private sector, civil society, local communities and individuals in reforestation”.

The party is also promising to employ new technologies to convert small-diameter trees mainly from plantation into new products, increase forest reserve patrolling and enforcement activities in critical forests areas, supported by improved staffing, staff training, transportation and communications and develop forest plantation on de-forested lands, enrichment planting of degraded natural forests, and planting to protect water bodies and enhancing water quality.

On developing forest plantation, the party is promising to allocate portions of degraded forest lands to timber concessionaires as part of their social responsibilities to aid in the national forest plantation programme with an emphasis on engaging women and youth from the forest fringe communities in which they operate, including the establishment of a new Plantation Division within the Forestry Commission to be solely in charge of developing forest plantation

The party is also promising to establish a National Mining and Forestry Initiative to help tackle illegal logging and illegal mining (Galamsey), and improve seedling production and distribution through training of nursery supervisory staff, supported by an expert in forest nursery, management and operations as well as establish regional nurseries to distribute seedlings.

In order to ensure women participation in the forest sector, the NDC is also promising to establish women’s only co-operatives for nursery establishment and management to produce seedlings for distribution at the district level, as well as establishing a research unit within the Forestry Commission to research into silvicultural, productivity and utilisation characteristics of candidate species in collaboration with the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG-CSIR).

“The NDC will also promote the development of new products using modern technology and promoting regional clustering of SMEs in the development of the domestic market and for exports, establish regional or zonal clusters for legal wood processing, marketing and sales for both the domestic markets and for export and create a Youth in Climate Change and Afforestation Programme (YiCCAP) in partnership the private sector for afforestation and job creation.”, it added.