Members of Council of State and Government’s Economic Management Team have signed a commitment Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Adaptation Programme (AAP) to address climate change concerns in Ghana at the highest level.
“We, Members of Council of State acknowledge that Climate Change poses one of the greatest threats to the economic and social development of our dear country, Ghana, and the well being of present and future generations.
“In recognition of the need for urgent action to address the adverse impacts of climate change and protect human life, nature and property in Ghana and globally.
“We commit to use our position and influence to promote awareness and the integration of climate change concerns into national development programmes and ensure that adequate human and financial resources are allocated for climate change activities in the country,” a copy of the signed document stated.
The Members signed the document after participating in a high level interaction on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Issues in Ghana organised by the African Adaptation Programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment Science and Technology (MEST) and UNDP.
Other Institutions which signed the MOU are NDPC, Environmental Protection Agency, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Town and Country Planning, Ghana News Agency, MEST and Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The High Level Interaction on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Issues is being attended by Members of Council of State, Ministers of State, Traditional Authorities, Chief Executive Officers of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Government’s Economic Management Team, and Stakeholders on the environment.
The Interaction was to form a partnership between governmental sectors and key environmental groupings as well as prepare economic actors, law makers, and traditional authorities to be advocates of change and make available the necessary resources to protect the country from the imminent dangers of climate change.
Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology said the country stood the danger of facing a recurrence of the events of the early 1980?s unless all and sundry took concrete measures to deal with the threats that climate change posed.
She observed that agriculture in Ghana was predominantly rain-fed, which exposed it to the effects of present climate variability and the risks of future climatic changes. Apart from the agricultural sector, climate change was also having its impact on the coastal zones and marine ecosystems, water resources, energy production, infrastructure development and human health, she said.
Ayittey noted that Ghana’s development efforts were faced with the risk of being thwarted directly and indirectly by changes and variability in climate. There was therefore, the urgent need for proper planning and careful implementation of development paths that integrated climate change mitigation.
She said Ghana needed to inculcate climate change adaptation, low carbon emissions and disaster risk measures into the National Development Planning and Budgeting processes.
“To a large extent, Ghana’s success in achieving the above and ensuring a climate-resilient economy will depend on an enhanced understanding and acceptance by key decision makers,” the sector Minister stated.
Daniel Amlalo, Acting Executive Director of EPA attributed the increased climate variability, temperatures, unpredictable rainfalls and, floods, to the impact of climate change.
He noted that climatic extremes pointed to greater future threats; the adverse impacts of climate change on the natural resource base and the sustainable livelihoods of rural communities could translate into increased poverty and limited economic development and therefore, could derail the envisaged rate of socio-economic growth for the country.
“Overall, the impacts of climate risks are likely to magnify the uneven social and spatial distribution of risk in Ghana. As a response, we need to take appropriate steps to develop strategies and strengthen institutional capacity in disaster risk management including a country-wide hazard mapping covering the broad geographical distribution of disaster exposed areas for key hazards,” Amlalo stated.
He said in this regard, the EPA under the auspices of MEST and AAP was collaborating with the Ghana Meteorological Service to establish functional Early Warning Systems.
These, together with other measures, would strengthen Ghana’s adaptive capacity and build social and ecosystem resilience to absorb current and future climate change impacts.
Amlalo cautioned that “As we transform our natural resources for wealth, we must also transform our decision making and planning processes and attitudes in order to reduce the effects of climate change on our nation.
“It is hoped that we would translate the challenges offered into opportunities that will facilitate and sustain Ghana’s efforts at ensuring a climate-resilient economy.”