Friends of the Nation [FoN] and its partners Center for Public Interest Law [CEPIL] and Oxfam in Ghana with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation [NORAD] have partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] of Ghana to collate inputs that will see to the finalization of Ghana’s National Oil Spill Contingency Plan. The development of the plan which started some time back spells out how a possible oil spill from Ghana’s offshore oil activities will be coordinated by the EPA. It also identifies critical stakeholders who needs to be trained and equipped; such as fishermen along the four coastal regions of Ghana, the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, among others.
After the draft documents were shared with some stakeholders, Friends of the Nation and its partners made inputs such as the need for an oiled wildlife response planning, natural resource damage assessment protocol, dispersant use policy, civil society representation on the national steering committee, updating of the coastal sensitivity atlas, and liability compensation regime.
The recent consultative meeting in Takoradi was to seek additional input from other stakeholders such as chief fisher folks, traditional leaders [Chiefs and Queen Mothers], oil companies, government agencies, local government authorities and Civil Society Organizations among others.
The Deputy Director in charge of Petroleum at the EPA Larry Kotoe commended FoN and its partners for the platform they give for engagements on the plan and other initiatives. He said the “EPA and Friends of the Nation has had some very positive collaboration in terms of submitting policy recommendations. These recommendations including the one on the NOSCP have been of immense addition to the work of the EPA. They have invited us for the third time to meet their stakeholders to enrich our review or update of the process. This platform given us is good, even before the EPA comes up with its engagement too in the four coastal regions of Ghana”.
The EPA is set to begin further consultative meetings in the central, greater Accra and Volta regions before the final NOSCP document will be produced.