By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
Seventy-two (72) regular students of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC), together with twenty (20) external participants from security services and maritime related agencies in Ghana, have been schooled on the intricacies in the Management and Operations of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the country’s maritime domain, at the prestigious military college.
The 15th edition of the course, which opened on Monday, the 10th of February, 2020, and had twenty-six (26) of the regular students coming from sister African countries, also had the Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission of Ghana – Egbert Isaac Faibille, being the Guest-of-Honour.
The course has been designed to ensure a more professional and wholistic understanding of EEZ management and operations by all stakeholders, to engender the political and institutional will needed, to favourably consider decisions affecting the effective and efficient protection of the enormous resources in the zone.
The objectives of the training were to; i) develop the ability to make critical analysis and assessment of the country’s operational readiness to manage the resources in the EEZ, ii) develop practical knowledge, experiences and skills, to actively participate in policy formulation in the implementation, iii) evaluate the EEZ matters, from an informed and enlightened perspective and iv) develop institutional cooperative framework, to achieve effective and efficient management of the EEZ.
Ghana’s exclusive rights for the exploitation of the extensive sea areas is approximately 64,000 square nautical miles, with her EEZ sovereign rights extending up to 200 nautical miles of exploitation, conservation and management of natural resources, with 90% of all fishes currently caught (which provides well over 70% of the total main source of protein for the population), being harvested within the EEZ.
“In Ghana, further exploration is yielding new oil finds which could soon put her among the oil giants on the continent. In this regard, it must be noted that the efficient management of the EEZ, strategic and operational objectives, is also reliant on good intra-government cooperation and strengthening private sector cooperation”, he stated.
“The EEZ also empowers states like Ghana, to take authoritative fishery management decisions, which control, not only the behavior of her nationals, but also that of other states as well”, which the Mr Faibille opines as essentially important, when one considers the increasing menace of Illegal Unregulated Unreported Fishing (IUUF) and other criminalities that take place in the maritime domain.
The astute legal mind said that Ghana’s efforts to properly regulate the management and operations of her EEZ, should be guided by international conventions and modes of practices, the ISPS Code, regional frameworks such as the African Integrated Maritime Strategy, ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy, as well as the Yaoundé Architecture of Code of Conduct and local laws, as stated in the Shipping ACT 2002, Maritime Security ACT 2004 and the Ghana Shipping Offshore Assets Protection Regulation 2012.
Mr. Faibille opined that in developing countries, such as Ghana, efforts in addressing the EEZ concerns are often hampered by inappropriate institutional designs and organizational cultures, poor institutional coordination, as well as the lack of resources, among others, and that overcoming these challenges would require clear strategic direction, that should be within appropriate policy framework.
“To this end, systematic EEZ management and control involves a number of activities, which fit into the categories of a) management of primary resources including minerals and technological resources, b) maintenance of law and order at sea, consisting of prevention of illegal activities c) safety of navigation and transit through the EEZ, d) safety of lives and properties at sea, e) protection and preservation of the marine environment”, he posited.
Present at the United Kingdom government cum Petroleum Commission supported program, included the Commandant of the military college – Rear Admiral Moses Beick-Baffour, other heads of maritime related institutions and Directing Staff of GAFCSC.