The Ghana Delta Alliance Wing successfully organised National and Local stakeholder Consultative Meetings on 2-3 February. The two meetings were organised and facilitated by The Development Institute (The DI) with funding support from Delta Alliance Secretariat, Netherlands.
Delta Alliance Ghana Wing
These meetings were held to discuss at both national and local levels the relevance of the establishment of a Delta Alliance Ghana Wing for the sustainable management of the Volta Delta and to seek stakeholders’ approval in giving The DI the mandate to continue to coordinate the Wing in Ghana. The DI, a Ghanaian based NGO with commitment to sustainable development began the process for the Delta Alliance Ghana Wing to be a member of the Global Delta Alliance Wing since 2011. The Ghana Wing received a provisional membership status in 2013. As a full member of the Delta alliance, the Ghana Wing receives some support from the secretariat, benefits, from complements of projects and deeper collaborations from other deltas across the world.
Delta regions including the Volta Delta are some of the stressed areas in the world, with great competition for land and water uses and are experiencing impacts from activities carried out in the river basins. The Ghana Volta Delta region is one of Africa’s delta regions experiencing many challenges due to factors such as the construction of the Volta dam, climate change, coastal erosion, intensive urbanisation and poor land use planning. These challenges create a gloomy future perspective for the Volta Delta. Hence, there’s an urgent need for the improvement of the resilience and sustainable management of the Volta delta of Ghana.
Objectives of the meeting
In view of this, the meeting sought to achieve four main objectives through the exchange of ideas, knowledge, experiences or expertise, and the application of collaborative and multidisciplinary approaches and good governance model. These objectives include to:
- Consult and ignite stakeholder support based on their expectations and priorities for the Volta Delta (through the DA Ghana Wing)
- Create a joint overview of the systemic challenges and needs of the Ghanaian stakeholders by defining adequate structures in the integral delta planning and management of the Volta Delta
- Define next steps for the strengthening and consolidation of the Ghana Wing of the Delta Alliance and to explore ways for collaboration in desired areas
- Share knowledge, good examples and interact with local stakeholders on ways to bridge the gap to local actions
The expectations of the attendees and presenters dovetailed with the meeting objectives as majority of the attendees present expected to have clearly defined boundaries of the Volta Delta as well as have a clear understanding of delta management and to device integrated and coordinated approaches to building resilient and sustainable delta ecosystems that benefits all.
The discussions revealed that the absence of an integrated and coordinated mechanism and good data resolution, unplanned infrastructural development coupled with environmental factors among others inhibit the proper functioning of the Volta delta. The presenters and attendees recognized the challenges or issues of the Volta delta as being complex and dynamic. Therefore, collectively defining actions, actors and boundaries of the delta was said to be vital to bringing solutions and impact closer. They also indicated and realised that there is an urgent need for a multi-disciplinary and interconnected networks of research and technological innovations and solutions to dealing with the challenges faced by delta regions. They recognized the need for good data, good governance and effective implementation of policies and laws as fundamental to sustainably managing the Volta delta. Also, since the locals depend largely on the resources of the delta (e.g. fishing) for their livelihood, it was agreed that it is vital to address socio-economic, financial or revenue streams for the locals as an incentive for them to manage the resources. The potentials for tourism and investment opportunities are huge; it is important to harness and to look for a mutually beneficial PPP for the Volta Delta. There is the need for clear criteria for investment, focusing on employment generation and green infrastructural development. The attendees also recognized that institutional capacity strengthening, international corporations comparisons and exchange, and arrangements as well as awareness and advocacy should be intensified. The discussions also centred on ensuring inclusiveness; that the locals’ voices are heard and gender considerations are addressed.
Follow up and conclusions
As next steps to seeing a vibrant DA Ghana Wing, the following actions were proposed:
- Form a Working Group (WG) to reduce institutional fragmentation, share data and information and work towards a common research and action agenda with international partners, national and local working groups
- Mapping and scoping existing data and knowledge to consolidate existing research findings, including stakeholder mapping, design/define framework and objectives for the Ghana Wing; and Define Volta Delta boundary
- The DI to formulate a ToR for the mapping and scoping exercise by March 30, 2017 and share with other stakeholder (WG) for input
- Organize stakeholder workshops every quarterly or biannually with funding support from DA Secretariat. Next meeting with stakeholders between April 6-18, 2017
- Create awareness and improve advocacy of challenges of the Volta Delta. Documentary/media involvement? Getting Ghana Wing website on-line
- Financial blueprint, management and communication structure for organization, and operations to be clearly defined or clarified
- Define research agenda (low hanging fruits) with universities in NL and elsewhere and start it in September
The two days of meeting offered the platform to share experiences, best practices, ideas, international network connections, approaches and tools as a starting point but in no means aimed to be final or conclusive. These meetings have only contributed to the start of a new approach to the Volta Delta and further understanding of the priorities and contributions of all the relevant stakeholders present. It is expected that the outcomes of this meeting will motivate all stakeholders to collectively work harder in a more consented, integrated and coordinated manner to achieve our collective vision and goals for the DA Ghana Wing.