The Environmental Protection Agency in collaboration with the World Bank has organized a training workshop on Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) for stakeholders within the northern sector at Ejisu in the Ashanti Region.
The workshop, which drew participants from the Ashanti, Bono, Northern and Savannah Regions, was to strengthen the capacity of project staff and other stakeholders at the national, regional and district levels to understand the GRM concept and its application during the project’s lifespan.
The GRM is a component of the World Bank-sponsored Africa Environmental Health Pollution Management Project (AEHPMP).
Mr. Larry Kotoe, AEHPMP Project Coordinator, said the five-year project, which began in 2020, is a World Bank-supported initiative with the aim to reduce exposure to mercury and unintentionally Persistent Organic Pollutants (uPOPs) and strengthen institutional capacity to manage and regulate mercury use in artisanal small-scale gold mining and e-waste in selected countries in Africa.
He said the project was being implemented in Ghana and four other African countries to augment the efforts of the countries to reduce the health risks associated with exposure to mercury and e-wastes.
Mr Kotoe said the AEHPMP is expected to produce many important outputs, including establishing clean mining demonstration centres for the training and promotion of alternative
mercury-free technology in selected mining communities and the construction of model collection and holding centres for electrical and electronic waste.
Mr. Osei Karikari, Safeguards Expert on the Projects, said the GRM had been developed to address grievances from the implementation of the AEHPMP and the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining (GLRSSMP) Projects
Mr. Karikari, presenting an overview of the various components of the proposed GRM to be utilized during the project’s lifespan, said the GRM would have a four-level structure, the national, regional, district and community levels to address grievances.
He said there were multiple channels under the GRM to lodge complaints or grievances to ensure no one is excluded, adding that grievances such as sexual exploitation and sexual harassment must be investigated and
resolved only by the mandated state institutions including DOVVSU and Social Welfare.
Mr. Justice Odoi, a Senior Environmental Specialist with the World Bank, stated that the framework was developed by the World Bank to ensure funded projects were sustainably managed to integrate environmental and social issues.
He said the environmental and social standards of the World Bank, which included stakeholder engagement and information disclosure, were relevant for the successful implementation of the project.
Madam Sarah Antwi Boasiako, Senior Social Development Specialist at the World Bank, explained that the concept of GRM was a requirement for all the World Bank’s funded projects.
She underscored the importance of contractors under the project developing their GRM to resolve grievances in a timely manner.
Mr. Samuel Oteng, EPA Ashanti Regional Director, said the GRM was an important mechanism since it would serve as an indicator for stakeholder participation in the project implementation.
He expressed optimism about the representation at the workshop as its diversity would help the smooth implementation of the GRM.