Strengthening the capacity of environmental stakeholders in managing the environment at local level - a case study of the central business District in the Kumasi Metropolitan Area

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Over the past few decades, it has become increasingly evident that, the effective implementation of development projects depends on the availability and strength of institutional structures. Strategic Planning creates opportunities to move from sectoral to cross sectoral approach in planning and implementation, a goal that is achieved through the design of an effective institutional framework and cross-sectoral environmental management strategies. However, since traditional government structures based on sectoral ministries and departments are well entrenched in sub African region, in Ghana, no ‘model’ exists to promote cross - sectoral institutional development. In Ghana, sound environmental management practices are essential factors contributing to health, productivity and welfare of the people. It is identified in Ghana “Vision 2020” as a key element underlying health and human development. The document also identifies environmental protection and improved management of institutional structures as one of the key factors to sound environmental management practices. The study looked at strengthening the capacity of environmental stakeholders responsible for managing the environment at the central business district (CBD) in the Kumasi Metropolitan Area. A framework for assessing capacity was identified with certain indicators to determine the current level of capacity of the stakeholders. Environmental stakeholders were grouped into three categories, namely: Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), the private sector and the civil society. Purposive sampling method was used to select a sample size of 150 people. Interview guide was used to solicit information on the management of the environment at the CBD. Based on the indicators of capacity identified, the study examined the level of capacity in the areas of planning and decision making, organizing, control measures, coordination, staffing, staff training and finance. The assessment revealed that some of the key roadblocks in managing the environment at the CBD are lack of inter — institutional network system to facilitate collaboration between the MDAs, the Private Sector and the Civil Society, unavailability of enough trained manpower, inadequate financial resources and absence of training facilities. Low knowledge of environmental issues has led to apathetic attitude on the part of the private sector and the civil society to support the cause of managing the environment at the CBD. To this end, short, medium and long term solutions were recommended to form the basis for the formulation of a strategic plan for effective environmental management at the CBD. In the short term, it was suggested that all the stakeholders should be made to understand the issue at stake through intensive education in the area of information sharing, information technology, management skills, networking among others in order to appreciate the situation better. Developing an environmental management plan as well as identifying potential sources for financial support for the implementation of the plan was also recommended for the medium term. With the support of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), the MDAs should develop their research capabilities to identify appropriate approaches and new technologies towards promoting good environmental management practices at the CBD in the long term. The study concluded that, environmental management is therefore a public good. In that, improper waste deposal by an individual affects all other members; mosquitoes that breed in one place bite people in another place; just as contaminated food stuff will affect consumers and not only the seller. Ensuring good environmental management is therefore the responsibility of all citizens, communities, private sector entrepreneurs, NGOs, and government institutions.
A thesis submitted to the Institute of Mining and Mineral Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements of a Master of Science degree in Environmental Resources Management, 2002