EfD Ghana hosted a horizon-scanning workshop to discuss the developments and challenges within Ghana's environment and natural resource sector. The workshop served as a platform for researchers and representatives from government agencies and ministries to engage in meaningful research-policy conversations, informing EfD Ghana's research agenda.
Among the areas proposed for future research were cross-sector studies on land use in Ghana, the development effect of tax breaks, procurement in the natural resource sector, and studies on the effectiveness of governance institutions.
Encompassing the key research thematic areas of EfD Ghana -- namely fisheries, energy, mining, agriculture, water, and forestry -- the workshop also delved into sector-specific issues, raising pertinent research topics. On the fisheries sector for example, participants proposed studies investigating the use of heavy metals and their impact on fishing, how small-scale fishers can contribute to climate change mitigation, and studies on the benefits of using cash transfers instead of the premix fuel subsidy, among others.
The discussion on mining, energy, and water also generated ideas such as studies on the link between large-scale land acquisition and illegal mining, energy pricing, and willingness to pay.
In addition, the workshop provided an avenue to inform participants about current and upcoming studies. For instance, participants were pleased to learn that EfD will soon start a study on unconditional cash transfer -- one of the areas attending fisheries sector representatives highlighted for consideration.
Participants satisfied with workshop outcome
Researchers expressed their satisfaction with the outcomes of the horizon scanning exercise, highlighting its usefulness and timeliness in engaging with multiple stakeholders. They believed that the workshop provided valuable insights to enhance the relevance of their research outputs and their uptake by policymakers and practitioners.
Participants also shared positive feedback regarding the workshop. Dr. Steve Mateaw, Co-Chairman of the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, commended the event.
"It offers practitioners and other stakeholders in the natural resources and environment sector the opportunity to contribute to setting the research agenda and lay the foundation for meaningful policy dialogues and reforms in the sector," he said.
Vida Osei from the Forestry Commission and Dr. Eric Obutey from the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC), Ghana, also emphasized the importance of bringing like-minded stakeholders together to define potential research areas.
The workshop took place on July 6, 2023, at the Hill View Guest Center in the Ga East District of Accra, facilitating an environment conducive to productive discussions and interactions. The event builds on EfD Ghana’s demonstrated commitment to promoting research-policy linkages and advancing sustainable practices in Ghana's natural resource sector.
By Vicentia Quartey