To all Media houses
9th April 2018
PRESS STATEMENT ON ACCRA MARCH FOR SCIENCE 2018
On Saturday 14th April 2018, scientists and well-meaning people all over the world are embarking on a global march for science to celebrate our passion for science and draw attention to the need for science-based evidence in policy formulation. The march is an annual event which was first held on Mother Earth Day on 22nd April 2017 with series of rallies and marches in more than 600 cities across the world including Abuja and Washington DC.
In Ghana, the theme for the march is: “Building Ghana: Let’s end environmental destruction and poverty through science informed actions.” We chose this theme to drum home the point that unless government prioritises science by investing a lot more in technological research, and begin to adopt the outcome of research works by scientists when making policy decisions, there is no way we will succeed in ending poverty in our country. We also want to draw attention to the fact that there is a direct correlation between protecting our environment from degradation and ending poverty.
The march will draw attention to Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2 and 3, and the role meeting them can play in accelerating Ghana’s development.
Goal 1: No Poverty – “End Poverty in All its Forms”
Goal 2: Zero Hunger – “End hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”
Goal 3: Climate Action – “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”
In summary, the objective of the march is to draw attention to how science can be used to fix the problem of widespread poverty and environmental destruction in several parts of Ghana.
Specifically, we are asking that;
1) Government increases investments in scientific research from the current 0.2 to 0.6% every year, to at least 1% of GDP as has been recommended by the African Union, and work towards reaching the United Nation’s target of at least 3.5% in order to help break the poverty cycle. It is not enough that government only pays research scientists salaries at the end of the month; President Akuffo-Ado must invest heavily in science and technology. The United Nations has insisted that increased investments in science and technology will be crucial in helping countries escape poverty and address urgent crises such as climate change. And Ghana must take this advice seriously.
2) It is about time government expanded its measures geared towards dealing with illegal mining and destruction of forests across the country because of its implications for the survival of Ghanaians in rural areas. 100 years ago, Ghana had more than 8.2 million hectares of forests which has now been depleted to about 1.6 million hectares, with no clear plan to replace them. This has had a devastating impact on agricultural productivity as climate change kicks in with its attendant extreme drought and flooding incidents. Climate change is real and we must all act to end it, especially government. The recent ban on the harvesting of rosewoods is supposed to be in force but we continue to hear stories about them being harvested. This must stop. We acknowledge the work that our security agencies through “Operation Vanguard” are doing to deal with illegal mining but more needs to be done.
3) Government needs to do more extend scientifically informed support to farmers as a way to ensure food security and lift rural communities especially out of poverty. There are lots of scientific innovations and improved Agric technology including biotechnology that have been developed at research institutions here in Ghana which are not reaching farmers as a result of poor extension services, lack of investments in agriculture generally and cumbersome regulatory procedures. A recent University of Ghana research revealed that more than 80% of smallholder farmers are not benefitting from government support. The current ratio of farmers to extension agents is about 1 to 3,000 when in fact the ideal ratio should be 1 to 50. Government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme will not do much to transform this country unless these bottlenecks are fixed.
There is a direct correlation between scientific investments in science, ensuring the technologies reach farmers and poverty reduction. That is why we are marching to draw attention to that link and encourage the prioritisation of science and technology. We calling on all science loving Ghanaians to step out for this march and support this just course. You can find out more about the march on; https://allianceforscienceghana.org/what-we-do/
Plan for March
Date: Saturday 14th April 2018.
Time:6am – 9am
Venue: CSIR Premises, near 37 Military Hospital, Accra. https://goo.gl/maps/ckrYAxZL5sm
Routes: CSIR Premises at 37 to Christ the King Church near Flagstaff House to Lands Commission office near 37 station to Opeibia Junction and back to CSIR Premises at 37. Upon return, we will hold a 45-minute forum during which various speakers will address the crowd on various aspects of the themes mentioned above.
Reuben Nana Yaw Quainoo – 0240763318
(Executive Member, Alliance for Science Ghana)