The Ghana government through the Ministry of Environment Science and Technology is developing a National Climate Change Policy Framework (NCCPF) to provide strategic direction and co-ordinate the national framework to address issues of climate change broadly in the country.
National strategies are also being targeted to enable the execution of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the co-ordination and harmonizing of climate change activities in the country, through the National Climate Change Committee.
Daniel Tutu Benefor, a Senior Programme Officer at the Energy Resources and Climate Change Unit, of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made these known at the Second Climate Change and Development Colloquium held in Accra.
The Colloquium, which was organised by the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS), of the University of Ghana, under the African Adaptation Research Centre of Excellence Initiative (AARC), engaged policymakers, development organizations, scientists and other stakeholders to promote science-policy debates and networking.
Benefor, who spoke on the topic “Climate Change and Sector Planning: Post Durban Analysis,” said Ghana had Climate Change on its Shared Growth Development Agenda and that national strategies were being targeted at mainstreaming climate issues into national development planning programs.
His presentation analysed the fate of Ghana’s sector planning in mainstreaming climate change through local action, to respond to challenges of the UNFCCC and the outcomes of the recent Convention of parties (COP) 17 in Durban, South Africa.
He noted that studies conducted by the EPA concluded that, Ghana will need about $697.2 million by 2020 and $701.7 million by 2050 to implement adaptation measures to contain the effects of Climate Change, adding that, profitable cocoa production by 2080 would be a challenge if nothing was done.
Benefor explained that the phenomenon was defined by factors like geographical spread, income levels, gender risk gradation and livelihood sources, and mentioned the savannah and coastal areas as examples of geographical spread, while the low income of farmers in rural areas, as an example of income of areas that will be severely vulnerable to the effect.
He noted that gender risk gradation would also leave children, women and the aged most vulnerable, adding, “climate change impacts are already affecting key sectors of the Ghanaian economy”.
“It would have a negative impact on women, who are particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change, given their relatively higher levels of poverty and their responsibilities for household water, food and fuel”, he added.
The Climate Change expert explained that the main concerns on the potential impacts of climate change increased pressure on water, reducing the potential for hydropower and the impact on agriculture, with reduced yields, would lead to increased poverty and food insecurity, and a great loss of national revenue from cash crops.
Deteriorating human health, as a result of increased incidence of diseases and reduced access to water and food, compounded by the disruption to the delivery of health infrastructure.
Benefor said there will be severe impacts on land use, which will lead to loss of biodiversity and soil fertility, land degradation and increased deforestation, whilst health services and transport would be greatly affected.
Already Ghana is losing 9.6 per cent of her Gross Domestic Product to the cost of environmental degradation, according to the World Bank report.
Sam Codjoe Deputy Director of RIPS said African institutions were being confronted with the challenge of mainstreaming the impact of climate change into their development planning and policy and there was the need to strengthen the national adaptation strategies and provide viable roadmaps for development investments.
He said AARC initiative was designed to deliver timely information, scientific advice and expertise for adaptation investment and policy decisions across Africa.
John Gyapong, Pro Vice Chancellor, Office of Research of the University of Ghana, who presided, tasked RIPS to follow-up on issues that go beyond the discussions of RIPS.