Friday, July 6, 2012

Government presents Climate Change Policy framwork to Ghanaian

The Ghana Government through the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST), has developed a policy framework on climate change.

To facilitate the polishing of the framework, the ministry held a stakeholders, consultative meeting that brought together diplomatic corps, security agencies, women groups and the academia, to discuss the draft policy to help the country cope with Climate Change.

The Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Sherry Ayittey, stated that since the Copenhagen Conference in 2009, stakeholders have worked in a concerted manner to come out with a common national vision and guidelines that will guide the country in dealing with the issue of Climate Change, which threatens lives, the existence and economic progress.

"We aspire to ensure systematic integration of climate change into national development processes for sustainable development, we want our sectors to develop efficient reporting, communication and awareness programmes and we want to provide a national voice for Ghanaians to contribute to the climate change debate both at home and abroad," she said.

The Minister said the draft National Climate Change Policy hinged on seven main themes including, Governance and Co-ordination; Capacity Building; Research and Knowledge Management; Finance; International Co-operation; Communication; Monitoring and Reporting.

Ms. Ayittey said the signs of Climate Change are obvious to even the less discerning members of society today and the scenarios are set to manifest even more forcefully in the coming years.

"We are in November and we all expected to feel some dry air or see signs of harmattan but we are experiencing intermittent rains," she explained, and added, climate change could undermine all the investments Ghana has made over the past years to reach a middle income status.

The Minister, therefore, commended the National Climate Change Committee for working with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to integrate climate concerns into the 2011 budget.

"Today is an opportunity for all of us to comment on, contribute to, express opinions and views, review portions of the text and if need be generally enrich it," she encouraged, announcing that the Ministry intends to subject the policy framework to international discussions as well.

Professor Chris Gordon, Head of the Institute of Environment and Sanitation Studies at the University of Ghana, said Ghana's economy is tied to climatic changes since many people, especially in the rural areas, depended on the environment for their livelihood.

He noted that Ghana's response to Climate Change mattered to the rest of the world and explained that the policy framework aimed at building a climate resilient society, adding, "We need to make sure that our development is climate compatible."

Prof. Gordon urged government to embark on outreach programmes to the grassroots to enable them to understand and possibly adjust their lifestyles.

Nana Kobina Nketiah V, Chief of Essikado Traditional Area, who chaired the forum, emphasised that Climate Change is a challenge to the very existence as human beings.

"Climate change will have an impact on all of us and we should all be part of the solution," he said.

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