The Permanent Delegate of Ghana to UNESCO H.E. Mrs. Johanna Odonkor Svanikier has received a certificate signed by Madame Irina Bokova Director-General of UNESCO inscribing Lake Bosomtwe of Ghana in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.The designation was made by the International Co-ordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme during its meeting in Lima, Peru from the 18th to the 19thof March 2016. This designation is in recognition of the Lake’s ecological, economic and cultural valuenot only to Ghana but to the world. The proposal for the Lake outlines plans for the sustainable management of the natural resources of the Lake and its immediate environs andits contribution to sustainable development as a whole.
Situated in the Ashanti region of Ghana, Lake Bosomtwe is unique and exceptional because it is one of only six meteoritic lakes that exist in the world. The southernmost section of the UNESCO designated site overlaps with the northern section of the Bosomtwe Range Forest Reserve creating a combination of forest, wetland and mountain ecosystems. The biosphere reserve sustains 35 tree species, including some used for timber. The site is also home to a great diversity of wildlife and to a human population of over 50,000 inhabitants whose main economic activities are farming, fishing and tourism as the lake is a major national and international tourist destination. The area is widely used for research focusing primarily on climate change, as well as environmental education for schools and universities.
The successful designation of Lake Bosomtwe as a World Biosphere Reserve will first and foremost grant the Ghanaian site international visibility. It will also enable more efficient management of the site including capacity-building of human resources for those managing the site, an increase in scientific research and development and further help identify commercial activities for the site that have a sustainable development-based approach. The designation will benefit the international scientific community as the Lake now serves as a window for knowledge sharing, exchange of experiences and the promotion of best practices.
About the World Network of Biosphere Reserves
The World Network of Biosphere Reserves is composed of 669 biosphere reserves in 120 countries. It is a dynamic and interactive network of sites of excellence acting as demonstration areas and learning sites to understand the interaction between people and nature for sustainable development. The UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) of the Natural Sciences Sector is home to this network and ensures the rational and sustainable use and conservation of the resources of designated biosphere sites for the improvement of the overall relationship between people and their environment.
This immense achievement is due to the initiative and hard work of the National MAB committee who submitteda nomination file to the UNESCO MAB Secretariat which then extended its recommendations to the International Co-ordinating Council (ICC), the governing board of the MAB programme. The ICC Bureau serves as the final decision-body which approves nomination files based on the recommendations of the Secretariat. The Lake Bosomtwe submission was particularly appreciated because ofthe creation of a well-organized management system which operates through its Community Resource Management Areas (CREMA) mechanism. This mechanism requires communities to manage their natural resources sustainably forthe economic benefit and livelihood of the community.
The Ghanaian Permanent Delegation to UNESCO is delighted by this positive outcome and hopes to continue working in partnership with communities in Ghana to leverage the immense resources to which our membership of UNESCO gives us access, especially in the fields of Education, ICT, Science and Culture. The Permanent Delegation may be contacted through the website of the Embassy of Ghana in France.
Click here to download a publication on the Sustainable Management of Lake Bosomtwe in the Ashanti Region of Ghana written by António D. Abreu, Alberto Hernandez Salinas and Miguel Clusener-Godt.