Gomoa West District Assembly
Gomoa West, the seventeenth district of Ghana, has challenged the youth there to become more active participants in the local governance of the country. Leading this initiative is Mr.Theophilus Aidoo-Mensah, the District Chief Executive for Gomoa West. He has stated that in order to ensure that resources were being properly utilized in the best interest of the people, there has to be a presence to check allotment of funds and resources.
Mr. Aidoo-Mensah’s announcement followed the release of a video documentary that exposed the youth’s role in the Decentralization Policy Framework and Action Plan at Apam, the capital of Gomoa West. This video was created at the hands of the Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF), a youth focused non-governmental organization (NGO) that receives sponsorship from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee in Decentralization (IMCC).
Along with this video release, Mr. Aidoo-Mensah made several statements regarding Ghana’s form of decentralized government. He noted that while Ghana is known to have a fairly successful decentralized structure, it is still lacking in its civilian participation, and there still exists a high level of voter apathy. It is this predicament that makes youth participation necessary. He is now urging the youth to pursue a higer education so that they may be able to actively engage in the governance of Gomoa West.
Over the past few years, South Africa has slowly been making progress in environmental reforms. So far, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has found reductions in carbon and energy have taken place, as well as better management of its natural resources, including water, biodiversity, and mineral resources. Moving towards a lower-carbon and more energy efficient society has allowed South Africa to maintain a better environmental quality of life.
In many cases, South Africa has been able to catch up with the developed world in its environmental standards, sometimes even surpassing the accomplishments that the developed world has made. Regardless, the country still releases great quantities of carbon emissions, and as a result many of South Africa’s rivers and lakes are polluted. Indoor coal and paraffin stoves decrease the air quality inside homes for millions of people across South Africa.
Environmental reform in South Africa faces some challenges as it progresses. One challenge is integrating the consideration of biodiversity when making policies for mining, energy, and coastal management. In the past these activities had been unchecked, especially during the urban development period, leaving a many river ecosystems endangered, depleting water resources, and damaging the country’s biodiversity. The country has made much progress in the area of environmental reform, but still has some changes to make to its policies before it can truly set an example for the rest of the world.
Fatou Bensouda, an International Criminal Court prosecutor
In 1998 the Rome Statute, a treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), was ratified by many countries throughout the world. The first country to ratify this treaty was in fact Senegal, giving “the court the power to prosecute individuals for international crimes such as genocide.” Today however we see that the world, particularly the African continent, is directing a lot of criticism towards the ICC. The critics are claiming that the ICC only pursues cases against African leaders. There are many who believe that the ICC is merely a mechanism to target African leaders and contribute to fostering a negative view towards the continent of Africa.
Against this background, around 60 Senegalese law students have teamed up with various activists to discuss the faults of the ICC. Surprisingly, the result of the discussions has been that the criticism is unfounded. While all of the cases since the ICC was established have been targeted towards African leaders, this is because most of the genocides and war crimes were in fact committed in the African countries. This should not call people to criticize the ICC, instead it should make people strive to achieve democracy and stable institutions to ensure that there is never a need for African leaders to go to court in Netherlands. The students also concluded that if there is a disdain towards the ICC’s activities in regards to Africa, there should be a larger population of Africans who become more involved in the court as lawyers and judges so that they can change the focus of the court. Keeping all of this in mind, it is still prevalent in many African’s mindset to question the credibility of the ICC on account of the lack of support from the United States and Israel. However, this debate and discussion can contribute to further improving the position of the International Criminal Court and subsequently, providing justice.