Speech by Daniel Owusu-Koranteng ( President of GNAAP) on the induction ceremony
Dated: 18th January, 2020 at Legon Credit Union Conference Centre
The Immediate Past President of GNAAP and Chairman of the induction ceremony
The Patron of GNAAP
The Executives of GNAAP
Members of GNAAP
Ladies and Gentlemen
We wish to thank the Patron of GNAAP, Immediate Past President of GNAAP and team of executives and the entire GNAAP membership for entrusting us with the responsibility of leading such a prestigious professional regulatory body for the next 3 years.
The history of GNAAP indicates that a team of public spirited Ghanaians led by the Patron Mr. Alex Nartey who were inspired by the desire to use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve conflict as well as promote access to justice for Ghanaians, established the Ghana National Association of ADR Practitioners (GNAAP) in August 2013 and commissioned the association with 24 people in attendance on January 14th January 2014 at Wags Hotel in Obomeng-Kwahu.
It is a common statement that if you do not know where you are coming from, you are likely to miss your destination.
The Founders of GNAAP were people of vision imbued with a high sense of patriotism and driven by a strong desire to contribute to peace building using the broad spectrum of ADR tools for conflict resolution. They were guided by the following objectives to build a strong ADR Professional Regulatory body:
1. The acceptance and use of ADR
2. The provision of education , training and research in ADR
3. The development and maintenance of high standards of practice in ADR.
4. The use of ADR to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts and disputes in line with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act, 2010 (ACT 798).
The sacrifice and commitment of the Founders of GNAAP can be located in the popular statement Martin Luther King, Jr. that, “ Man must evolve for all human conflicts a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation . The foundation of such a method is love.”
The establishment of the Institute of Paralegal Training and Leadership Studies (IPLS) as part of the GNAAP objective of education, training and research in ADR, has supported the creation of well-trained ADR professionals with different background: Chiefs, Lawyers, Members of Parliament, Business Executives, Teachers, Engineers, Clergy, Development Consultants, Public Officers, Security Experts, Trade Unionists, CSOs and other professionals.
IPLS started its training programme from 2nd August to 30th August 2013 with 26 trainees. The statistics indicate that IPLS has trained over 1,000 ADR Professionals all over the country.
Hon. Robert S. Mensah, I have taken the trouble to trace the path of growth of GNAAP and to remind the new leadership and members of GNAAP of the sacrifice and the commitment of the previous leadership in laying a strong foundation for us.
We have inherited a GNAAP with great potential of over 1,000 trained ADR Professionals and potential members of GNAAP who have expertise and competencies.
We would not have any excuses if we are unable to take off because we have been given the wings to fly.
Now to the task ahead of us. That ADR holds the key to improving access to justice for most Ghanaians and promotion of peace building is no more a subject of contest.
It is said that only 20% of disputes in Ghana end up in our regular courts. Some of the social and cultural barriers that prevent access to justice include poverty, education and some institutional barriers. Some of our people find the court system too intimidating and citizens sometimes resort to deities and spiritualism to seek justice.
Even with the low level of dispute settlement in courts, the courts are suffering under a heavy backlog of unsettled cases resulting in frustration and litigation fatigue for many disputing parties.
We have taken over the mantle of leadership of GNAAP with the foremost objective of harnessing the human and material resources of GNAAP to build a strong ADR professional regulatory body to advance the objectives of GNAAP-to promote ADR as a dispute resolution tool and for peace building. In contrast to the adversarial and expensive nature of the court system, ADR is a cost effective dispute resolution tool, which ensures timely resolution of disputes in addition to its conciliatory benefit for the disputing parties.
Ghana has the potential to be the ADR hub for the West African sub region and Africa. Ghana has been recognized as a key actor in peace building initiatives, conflict resolution and conflict management efforts in Africa and globally.
We have the task to position GNAAP as the foremost ADR professional regulatory body to champion the implementation of the provisions in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act, 2010 (ACT 798). Most importantly is the need for advocacy for the establishment of Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre (Section 114) to facilitate the practice of alternative dispute resolution.
The ADR Act 2010 (ACT 798) provides for a Governing Board of the alternative dispute resolution centre which is composed as follows:
· a chairperson who is a lawyer of not less than twelve years standing
· one member of each of the following, nominated by the respective body,
(i)Ghana Chamber of Commerce (ii) the Ghana Bar association (iii) the Ghana Institute of Surveyors (iv) the Judiciary (v) Institute of Chartered Accountants (vi) a woman nominated by the President
· one representative of organised Labour
· one representative from industry
· the Executive Secretary of the centre
The composition of the governing board of the ADR Centre without representation from an ADR professional body is a gap and GNAAP should lead the advocacy for the review of the ADR Act ,2010(ACT 798) to reflect current realities. This is based on the principle of “Nothing about us without us”.
The task ahead is daunting and we have to build a strong GNAAP with active members to promote the objectives of making ADR very relevant in our justice system.
GNAAP has the potential in terms of the competencies of its membership base to march up to the task ahead of us.
Hon Chairman, it is sad to note that less than 10% of the potential 1,000 members of GNAAP are active members. We need to develop strategies to increase the active members of GNAAP. Ghana has what it takes to be the shining example for the promotion of ADR to increase access to justice for the majority of Ghanaians especially the poor and for peace building in Ghana, in the sub region and Africa.
We would require your support and prayers for us to succeed in building a peaceful country where ordinary people will have access to address conflicts through ADR.
I thank you for the attention.
Long Live GNAAP
Long Live ADR
Long Live Ghana
May God bless us all