We are pleased to report on the eight edition of the annual international Environmental Film Festival of Accra held from 08 to 15 June 2012. Over 600 people including several school children gathered at British Council for the launch with its focus on water. The engaging image of two children at a water pump and other symbolic images of Ghana’s quest for safe and affordable water on the festival’s publicity materials attracted much public attention and got a lot of people talking about how we manage this critical resource and the environmental challenges facing us. The media response was keen and consistent with the steady progress of the festival over the last seven years ago.
This year, we were pleased to receive the support of our longstanding partners, Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, Wienco Ghana Ltd, Royal Danish Embassy, French Embassy in Ghana, Third World Network, Australian High Commission, Canadian High Commission, European Union, UNICEF, Nestle Ghana, Yara Ghana, Zoomlion, British Council, Goethe-Institut and Alliance Francaise. We also welcomed African Women’s Development Fund.
The Environment Channel
The second 15 part series of the Environment Channel Television series was completed in the course of the year and is now ready for broadcast on Ghana Television. A by-product of EFFA, this project, with its potential to embrace mass audiences across the country was produced with support from Wienco Ghana Ltd, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology and Third World Network. We also produced a documentary on innovative solutions to sanitation challenges as part of our collaboration with the French Embassy in Ghana. These kinds of collaborations have broadened the scope of EFFA and expanded its role as public educator of the environment.
The Environment Forum
The second edition of the State of the Environment Forum took place on Tuesday, 12 June 2012 at British Council, bringing together 200 participants from across Ghana to deliberate and report on progress towards environmental sustainability in Ghana. The forum was supported by the European Union (through the National Authorising Officer for the EDF in Ghana, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning), Third World Network, African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and Royal Danish Embassy. This year, the issues that inform the role of women in the environment were also highlighted in all the plenary sessions. AWDF supported us to bring more women participants and presenters to the forum. This enriched the sessions and turned out to be a much welcomed initiative.
Presentations were made in three thematic areas: Climate Change, Degraded Environment & Flooding, Water and Sanitation and Natural Resources. These were followed by small group discussions and plenaries. The Forum was opened by a speech from Ms. Sherry Ayitey, Minister of the Environment, Science and Technology, read on her behalf by Mr. Samuel Anku, Director at the Environmental Protection Agency. Presentations were also made by Ms Theo Sowa, Chief Executive Officer, AWDF and Mr Bart Missinne, First Secretary, European Commission.
In all, the discussions were spirited and engaging as civil society organizations, NGOs, and corporate representatives interacted with government officials, policy makers and leading development agencies on environmental issues. Most participants suggested that the Environment Forum be made a permanent feature of the annual festival.
The film Programme
This year’s festival brought over forty films on environmental and social issues to Accra’s popular cultural venues. As in previous years, the programme included award winning films from Ghana and from around the world - films that challenge us to broaden our perceptions and understanding about the environment around us. The 2012 selection included the internationally acclaimed film about Climate Change, A Thirsty World (La Soif du Monde), The Light Bulb Conspiracy, the Spanish film questioning unlimited global consumption and Up in Smoke, about the causes of deforestation and global warming.
The programme also included The 4th Revolution: Energy Autonomy, exploring technologies that will take us away from reliance on fossil fuels towards clean, renewable energy, Llueve (It Rains), a beautifully shot drama exploring environmental choices, Turning the Tide 2, exploring new trends in Ghana’s sanitation and waste management, Pfad, Vorgaten Kollaps, the critically acclaimed German film about the crucial next steps in an eco-friendly future. There were equally fascinating films about the impact of global warming, food security, pollution, on wildlife, energy conservation, fishing and electronic waste.
An innovation this year related to the Young Film Makers Workshop component of the festival. Six school children were given mobile phones with cameras to create a video report on various environmental issues. A series of one minute films were produced by the participants on:
• Noise pollution in markets, churches and public spaces
• Water wastage within urban areas
• Garbage pollution
• Health and environment etc
The Young Film Makers Workshop component has over the years been supported by UNICEF, Environmental Protection Agency and Zoom Lion. As in prior years, these short films turned out to be the festival’s favorites.
At the festival launch and schools screenings, the young ‘film stars’ spoke candidly about the wonderful experience the festival afforded them to allow their voices to be heard. They selected films of interest to them; that affected their daily lives at home, in schools and in their communities. After the film was premiered, the participants received enthusiastic applause from the audience for their refreshing films on Ghana’s environmental challenges.