The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in 1994 to improve and protect Ghana’s environment, oversee the implementation of the National Environment Policy’s, and find solutions to global environmental problems. With offices throughout the country, it is the public body responsible for planning, managing and regulating all environment-related projects, policies and programmes. Ensuring that environmental factors are included in development strategies at national, regional, district and community levels is central to the EPA’s work.
For the EPA, public participation, new scientific and technological innovations, good governance and partnerships are all crucial to looking after Ghana’s air, land and water. Due to ARAP’s particular focus on environmental governance in Ghana, the EPA is a fundamental partner for the programme. Its expertise helps facilitate the training for judges and prosecutors in environmental law, as well as ARAP’s public education activities.
Within the environmental governance sector, ARAP has identified small scale mining as a serious environmental problem in Ghana. Joint efforts with the EPA have focussed on monitoring small scale mining, creating a reporting mechanism to address any non-compliant and illegal practices. Such monitoring is a priority to strengthen environmental governance and tackle related corrupt activities. EPA also helps to lead the programmes’ awareness campaigns to prevent such illegal and unsafe practices.
This line of work is very much in line with the Government of Ghana’s strategic outlook on digitisation.
Compliance: Monitoring and Enforcement
Anti-corruption programmes are proven to work better with a specific focus issue or sector. ARAP has selected environmental governance, a cross-cutting issue that enables working with the prevention and enforcement elements of accountability and anti-corruption.
Enforcement-related work is carried out between ARAP and CJS institutions. Prevention-related work is alongside the EPA, supporting a better compliance monitoring e-system for EPA permits. This has been developed and tested in the small-scale mining sector of selected districts, with the intention of expanding it to the EPA’s entire portfolio.
ARAP works closely with the EPA to improve complaints management and ensure citizens’ complaints and reports are adequately followed up by the appropriate institutions. Here, a specific line of action focusses on public education to encourage demand and accountability.