The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF) has awarded about 200,000 US dollars grants to five civil society organisations (CSOs) to implement various projects towards the elimination of mercury in gold mining.
The beneficiaries as Tuning Point of Advocacy, Moaduri Women Development Projects, Ghana Institute of Sustainable Development, Zintang Healers Association and Firm Health Ghana Foundation.
A press statement issued by the UNDP in Accra, copied the Ghanaian Times said the grant sought to promote sustainable artisanal and small-scale mining in the country.
The Assistant Resident Representative of UNDP Ghana, Louis Kuukpen, emphasised the country office's commitment to support Ghana in the formalisation of the artisanal and small-scale mining sector with training, technology transfer and knowledge management to promote mining without mercury in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector.
He added that UNDP through the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme was piloting the Zero Mercury programme to support the government's new policy framework to regularise and reform mining activities in the country.
According to the statement, Mr Kuukpen urged the beneficiary CSOs to work with the government institutions in executing their projects, for greater impact.
"We congratulate the new grantees and trust that they will work closely with the Inter-ministerial Committee on Small-scale Mining, the Minerals Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the relevant district assemblies to ensure synergies and linkages between the national programmes and our projects," he noted.
On behalf of the awardees, the Chief Executive Officer of Turning Point of Advocacy, Dr Naa Dedei Tago, expressed gratitude to UNDP and GEF for the opportunity and promised to put the grants into efficient use to benefit the society.
"We will put the resources into judicious use to improve the sector where miners will work sustainably, and the government wouldn't have to put a ban on small scale mining," stated Dr Tagoe.
The National Programme Coordinator, Dr George Ortsin, indicated that the competition this year was very keen as over 65 applications were received. The selected projects were based on innovative ideas and technologies that would be introduced in line with the national priorities and the geographical importance.
The UNDP GEF Small Grant programme has been providing financial support to local communities to invest in environmental management over the past four years and has so far supported 33 community-based organisations within the coastal and Northern Savannah ecosystems with an amount of US$2.61 million grants.
The programme has also built the capacities of over 1,500 community members to mainstream biodiversity conservation in natural resource management, which has impacted positively on the conservation of environmental resources in the country.
The intervention was to support the country towards the implementation of the Minamata Convention, which Ghana ratified on March 3, 2017, to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and the release of mercury compounds.