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Coordinator, Environmental Science Programme, University of Ghana;

Member, National Biodiversity Committee


CBD SBSTTA National Focal Point & Global Taxonomy Initiative Coordination Mechanism, Council for Scientific & Industrial Research




Information management systems for each of the conventions

Description of linkages of Reporting with SOE

Gaps in information and data


(a) For reporting on biodiversity-related convention

(b) For reporting on SOE

(c ) On how linkages can be improved



Project provided for Ghana the opportunity to think through ways to streamline reporting on the level of development of the country through the development of an all embracing state of the environment reporting format.

Seven elements that have biological components and therefore of relevance to the five biodiversity-related conventions to which Ghana has signed are herein discussed.

-Data required under the convention for reporting

- Periodicity of reporting

-Responsible authority

- Designated Implementing Institution

- Data capture

- Mechanism for preparation of report

existing reporting mechanism and ims used for the preparation of reports

Existing Reporting Mechanism and IMS used for the preparation of reports

1.UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

Ghana signed the convention on 12 June 1992 and ratified it on 29 August 1994

Data Required under the convention for reporting include:-         

Components of biodiversity requiring urgent conservation measures and those which offer the greatest potential for sustainable use

-       Processes and categories of activities which have or are likely to have significant adverse impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity

-      Modified organisms resulting from biotechnology which are likely to have adverse environmental impact that could affect the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity

-Alien species which threaten ecosystem, habitat and species


Mechanism for the preparation of Report

No mechanism exists to extract information from the various stakeholders and as a result no report has ever been submitted

Data capture

From reports and documentations in routine office files; projects undertaken by ministries, their departments and agencies(MDA’s) of special studies undertaken by MDA’s

Periodicity of reporting: Not properly defined

Responsible authority: Ministry of Environment and Science (MES)

Designated Technical institution:National Biodiversity Committee

Designated Implementing institution:None

other institutions that have custody of information

Other institutions that have custody of information

. Ministry of Lands and Forestry and its agencies of Wildlife and Forestry Divisions of the Forestry Commission

. Agencies of the Ministry of Environment and Science including the EPA and CSIR institutes

-Ministry of Local Government & rural Development (including District Assemblies and Traditional/ Local authorities)

-Ministry of Food and Agriculture and its departments

-Ministry of Trade and Industries

-The Universities and other research institutions

-Ministry of of Justice and Attorney General’s

-Non Governmental Organizations


2. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora-Ghana ratified the convention on 14 November 1975 and the convention entered into force on 12 February 1976.

Data required under the conventionCITES listed in trade, the sources of these, origin, description (live) and dead etc destination.Periodicity of reporting: Yearly

Responsible authority: Ministry of Lands and Forestry Designated Implementing institution (Focal Point):Wildlife Division of the Forestry CommissionDesignated Technical institution:Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) of KNUST


3. Convention on Conservation of MigratorySpecies of Wild Animals (CMS)-Ghana signed her accession to this convention on 19 January 1988

Data required under the convention

 - Number and type of migratory species from other habitats to Ghana

- Data on the total population of the various species that cross borders each reporting period

-Scientific data available on the migratory species including factors which may be harmful to the species

-Number and types of non-endangered migratory species

-Data on the rate of propagation and replenishment of the endangered migratory species

-Data on the mode of migration and range or distance of movement

Periodicity of reporting: 3 years. Last report was in 1991. Date of next report is expected to be 2004.

Responsible authority: Ministry of Lands and Forestry

 Designated Implementing institution (Focal Point):Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission

 Designated Technical institution: None

Mechanism for preparation of Report: Not regulated.


Other related institutions/organizations that have custody of information-Forestry Services Division of Forestry Commission-Ministry of food and Agriculture-Custom Excise and Preventive Service-Ministry of Tourism and Modernization of the capital city-Ministry of Trade-Universities and other research institutions-Non-Governmental Organizations-Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development-Ministry of Justice and Attorney General-Ministry of Foreign AffairsMinistry of InteriorData Capture:From reports on certificates for permits

4 ramsar convention on wetlands of international importance

4. Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance

Data required under the convention

1. Institutional Information

2. Progress made towards universal membership of the convention

3. Wise-use of wetlands 

(a) Wetland integration into national planning including decision-making on land use, ground water management, catchment/river basin and coastal zone management, economic evaluation, EIAs and ecological character of Ramsar Sites in the country.

(b)  Wetland restoration and rehabilitation activities

(c)   Paticipation of local communities including indigenous people and women in wise-use ofwetlands

(d)  Participation of civil society and private sector in wetland conservation.

4. Communication, education & public awareness undertaken within the period

5. Institutional capacity for the achievement of conservation of wise-use of wetlands

6. Listing of sites of International Importance (i.e. designation of additional or new Ramsar Sites in the country).


7. International cooperation & collaboration with other conventions, agencies, governmental and non-governmental8. Institutional mechanisms and resources availablePeriodicity of reporting: 3 years. Last report 2002. Next report 2005.Responsible authority: Ministry of Lands and ForestryDesignated Implementing institution (Admin/Focal Point):Wildlife Division of the Forestry CommissionDesignated Technicalinstitution:National Wetlands Committee(under formation)

mechanism for preparation of report
Mechanism for preparation of Report

Ramsar Secretariat notifies WD through Administrative Authority to

Initiate process of National Report in an approved electronic format within specific time frame

Draft Report discussed with stakeholders

WD facilitates and collates relevant information from stakeholders and completes Reports

Report Finalized by WD

Report submitted in electronic format to Ramsar Secretariat

5 world heritage convention whc ghana ratified this convention on 4 july 1975

5.World Heritage Convention (WHC) -Ghana ratified this Convention on 4 July 1975

Data required under the convention

Numbers, state of conservation and management responses under the following 2 categories of heritage (as defined in the convention)

·         Cultural heritage

- monuments: architectural works, works monumental sculpture

- group of buildings

- sites

- cultural landscapes: landscapes of cultural importance

- groups of urban buildings

·         Natural heritage

-         natural features

-     geological and physiographical formations

-          natural sites


Periodicity of reporting: 6 years. Last report in 2001, next report in 2007.Responsible authority:National Commission on CultureDesignated Implementing institution (Focal Point): Ghana Museum and Monuments Board (GMMB)Designated Technical institution:Monument Division of GMMB A mechanism exists, following the WHC guidelines. Reports have always been submitted (see next figure )

mechanism for preparation of report16
Mechanism for preparation of Report

WHC requests from GMMB


GMMB to staff of MD to collate information and prepare Draft report for internal discussion

External experts stakeholders inputs etc

Finalized by MD

Submit to GMMB



Description of the linkages between the Reporting Mechanisms for the biodiversity-related conventions and SOE reporting mechanisms

There are no linkages between the reporting mechanisms for the biodiversity related conventions and the SOE reporting mechanisms. While each biodiversity convention reports separately the SOE reporting is also handled separately by the EPA.

Ghana has not published a State of the Environment report as at the date of this exercise. The first attempt at producing such a report started sometime in 1996/7. Though some work was done, the SOE was not completed.

In 2002, another attempt was made to prepare an SOE. That effort led to the preparation of a complete SOE report which unfortunately, has not yet been published.

steps in the preparation of the draft soe

Steps in the preparation of the draft SOE

A West African sub-regional workshop was held in May 2002 on Integrated Environmental Assessment and Reporting which trained participants in SOE report writing.

The style of reporting adopted for the 2002 draft report involved the Driving forces, State, Pressure, Impact and Response (DSPIR) system.

The data and information used in preparing the report was based on themes but there was also room for flexibility.

The themes were agreed through extensive discussions between the EPA and the stakeholder institutions.

Teams were composed to work on the specific themes. The report covered several themes including the following:

·        Biodiversity

·        Forest resources

·        Fresh water

·        Marine and coastal resources

·        Natural disasters


ApproachThe approach involved the merging of Related themes and issues to avoid duplication and repetition.Observed A major problem observed in the SOE report preparation was the value and currency of the data used and the inadequate funds to carry out the project.Gaps in information and data existing in the countryThere are gaps in information, both in its capture and storage. Data gapsThe gaps cover the following: -               the types of vector-borne diseases transmitted through air, water, and soil -                new introductions of plant/animal varieties-                status of invasive alien species-                status of inland waters including wetlands and their biological diversity-                status of marine and coastal areas and their biological resources -                information on urban flora and fauna and their contribution to urban health and sanity-                rate of exploitation of land and water resources-                status of forest biological resources-                effect of climate on biological diversity, especially in arid areas and wetlands.Data custodiansData custodians do not share information because of their set up as discrete units with self imposed bureaucratic structure and organisation.In other areas, several overlaps exist. These refer to data that border on cross cutting issues, for example, information on alien invasive species, environmental impact assessment, and public education and awareness.


Recommendations including the necessary actions to be taken by the Government, on how to streamline the national reporting under biodiversity-related conventions

A national institution, which has authority to coordinate biodiversity issues at thenational level, namely a National Biodiversity Commission, should be established by government.

The functions of this body will be:

-to assemble all the reporting line items of the 5 conventions plus the SOE requirements from the various organisations

- to repackage these to provide a comprehensive synthesis report to the institutions that handle the biodiversity-related convention reports and SOE reports.

    The institutions that prepare the reports to the five biodiversity-related conventions namely: Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission (Ramsar, CMS and CITES), National Biodiversity Committee (CBD) and Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (WHC) as well as the EPA which prepares the SOE report, should then sift through the synthesis report (see next figure) in order to:

- select those information that satisfy the reporting format required

-submit to peer review process within the institution, and

-  despatch approved final report to the secretariat of the conventions


Recommendations, including the necessary steps to be undertaken by the Government, on how the linkages between the reporting mechanisms for biodiversity-related conventions and the SOE reporting mechanism can be ensured or improved.

Since the SOE reports are meant to cover the following broad areas, namely:

-     Human health and environment

-     Fresh water

-    Marine and Coastal Areas

-    Urban Areas

-    Forest Resources

-    Land Resources

-  Atmosphere

the biodiversity components in these areas, particularly those that have work programmes in any of the five biodiversity-related conventions, must be reported as follows

Human health and environment

The report is to capture trends of vector-borne diseases transmitted through air, water and soil. Other issues such as new introductions of plant varieties (GMOs) and invasive alien species could be commented on.

Fresh water

The The report is to capture urban flora and fauna and their contribution to urban health and sanity including aesthetics.


Marine and Coastal AreasThe report is to make reference to CBD work programme on marine and coastal areas, and evaluate the status of the country’s marine biological resources.Urban AreasThe report is to capture urban flora and fauna and their contribution to urban health and sanity including aesthetics.Forest resourcesThe report is to make reference to CBD programme of work on forests, relate it to other international obligations (ITTO), and establish status of the resource both in the wild and in the supply chain.Land resourcesThe report is to consider effect of exploitation of land resources on biological diversity, especially in mining and mineral prospecting, and other land use activities AtmosphereThe report is to consider effects of the atmosphere including climate on biological diversity. This is to support activities of the climate change effect and desertification monitoring groups in the country.


-For the SOE report, EPA should submit to all the relevant stakeholders which constitute the peer review process before the final product is printed for distribution.-There are 7 areas that are considered as the basic focal areas to which all the five biodiversity-related conventions converge and about which specific knowledge are relevant.-These are co-operation, conservation and sustainability methods, traditional knowledge, monitoring and evaluation, research and training, communication, education and public awareness, and financial resources


It is recommended therefore that:- Co-operation is considered and promoted by government at all levels including at the national, regional and international, so as to ensure effective and useful legal agreements- General measures for conservation and sustainable use policy direction and institutional oversight are taken seriously to enable easy determination of status of biological resources and compliance of the basic regulatory frameworks


- Contributions of traditional knowledge including the involvement of the local, traditional and indigenous communities are constantly assessed and monitored to ensure proper reward system and benefit sharing arrangements.- Monitoring and evaluation are properly taken on board in policy direction and institutional oversights to enable the opportunity to account for any changes in the species component structure of habitats and invasions of foreign species.


-Research and training, through the proper policy of ensuring human and institutional capacities development at all levels, should provide insight into capacity needs for assessment- Policy on direct and easily available channels of information flow through communication, education and public awareness programmes, should continue, to ensure the identification of information gaps and the urgent needs to fill them.- There should be secure financial resources for implementation schedules and execution of programmes in order to eliminate financial shocks and difficulties that will stifle progress


Recommendations on how the information management system for the reporting can be improved, including possible information support from outside the country.

7. - There is need for Ghana to rationalise and improve the integrity of its data

collection system to facilitate environmental reporting

- The clearing house mechanism (CHM) is the desired product here.

CHM will eliminate most or all of the information gaps in data capture.

- CHM development is necessary and long over due. Through CHM, it is possible to exchange data from outside the country.

- Government, as a matter of urgency, should develop a CHM for the country. Government should identify requirements for both human and institutional capacity development for CHM for the country.

-Reporting requirements of the five biodiversity related conventions are out of phase in the reporting cycles, and this makes it difficult to harmonise. It is necessary toharmonise the phasing of reporting times at the international level for the fivebiodiversity-related conventions.