An assessment of institutional capacity for environmental management in Ghana

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One major challenge for development is how to apply those means of development that will maintain or improve the quality of the environment. There is therefore the need for the integration of environmental goals and those of development for the achievements of development to benefit succeeding generations. This demands the planning and the maintenance of an environment of high quality that will ensure that the stock of natural resources is covered to support a continuing process of development. This is the prime object of environmental management. Environmental management requires effective policy and legislative backing and well- established environmental institutions working in a co-ordinated manner. Furthermore, there is the need for a well-informed populace who are prepared to assist environmental institutions in the maintenance of sound environmental quality. The study therefore looked at the capacity or environmental institutions in Ghana. This covered such issues as the relationship among the institutions, the effectiveness and adequacy of standards and legislative backing, human resource development, funding, logistics, technology requirement and the adequacy of information. The study covered 17 environmental institutions being governmental institutions, international institutions and Non-Governmental Organisations. It was revealed that although the GERMP assisted in strengthening some environmental institutions; in the main, these institutions are plagued with such problems as ineffective legislative backing, inadequate finding, logistics, manpower and technology requirement, weak institutional linkages and constraints involved in the generation of information. To help offset the problems enumerated above, the study made some recommendations that focused on effective manpower development, proper standards and legislative backing, NGOs support and strengthening, partnership building in environmental management, information generation and dissemination and sub-regional approach to environmental management. The study also made recommendations on adequate financial support, logistics and technological development. Policy recommendations also dwelt on decentralisation of some environmental institutions, commercialisaion of some activities of environmental institutions and restructuring of some institutions to incorporate environmental management in their organisational structure. The search for concrete solutions to the aforementioned problems will greatly enhance environmental management and sustainable development in the country.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in National Development Policy and Planning, 1999