Ghana now has a National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) that would provide strategies and actions, which when effectively implemented, would help mitigate the effect of climate change on the country.
The Policy, which was recently approved by Cabinet, is in three phases with the first phase being the presentation of the policy, analysing the current situation and giving the broad policy vision and objectives.
The second phase presents the initiatives and programmes identified in the form of action plans for implementation, while the last phase details how climate change programmes and actions, identified in the second phase, could be mainstreamed, time-bound, budgeted for and translated into annual work plans of implementing units.
Dr Bernice Heloo, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, who announced this at a workshop in Accra on Wednesday, said the main objective of the NCCP included effective adaptation, social development and mitigation to climate change effects.
She mentioned priority areas that would be tackled as agriculture and food security, disaster preparedness and response, natural resource management, equitable social development, and energy, industrial and infrastructural development.
The three-day workshop, being hosted by the INDEPTH Network, a Non Governmental Organisation, in collaboration with UNESCO and African University College of Communications (AUCC), has the theme: “Strengthening Climate Mitigation and Adaptation in the Sahel and West Africa”.
Participants include media practitioners, researchers and scientists from West Africa who would be discussing weather conditions and population level mortality in sub-Sahara Africa, weather variability and sources of news and information on climate change.
Other issues to be discussed include importance and challenges on reporting climate change and approaches/techniques and tools for reporting on climate change.
Dr Heloo said the meeting was timely in that it would help augment government’s efforts at optimising the opportunities that climate change presented for sustainable development.
She said like other problems confronting the human race such as HIV and AIDS, food crisis and natural disaster, climate change posed a greater challenge to the world, especially developing countries, and there was, therefore, the need to take a cursory look “at our development strategies and seize the opportunities presented by climate change so as to find solutions to these challenges”.
The Deputy Minister said in Ghana, the issue of mitigation had always been an important agenda for discussions and it was also regarded as a very crucial step towards adaptation to climate change challenges.
She said Ghana had also submitted a list of 55 Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which, when implemented, would lead to the attainment of Ghana’s emission reduction objectives for sustainable development.
Mr Tirso Dos Santos, Director and Representative, UNESCO, said the UN was making many global efforts at deepening the understanding of climate change among member states in its bid to help develop appropriate mechanisms to assist states and local communities in dealing with consequences of climate change.
He urged participants to deliberate and come out with decisions that would culminate in the adoption of an outcome report to feed into deliberations at the upcoming General Conference in Paris in November.
Mr Martin Banga, Capacity Strengthening and Training Manager of IDEPTH, said the meeting was being hosted to offer a better understanding on health and social implications of climate change and to enable participants to share country experiences to help in adaptation practices.
Professor Kwaku Armah, President of AUCC, said the University was particularly interested in the climate change mitigation meeting because of its critical role in training communicators who would, in turn, relay and disseminate information to the masses.
He said the University intended to discuss with UNESCO after the meeting to help restructure AUCC’s curriculum to feature lessons on climate change so that students would be well-equipped in that field and report accurately to the understanding of ordinary citizens including farmers.