As part of Ghana’s preparation towards the Conference of Parties (COP 23) of the United Nations to be hosted in Bonn, Germany, a Pre-COP Climate Festival has been held in Accra to sensitise the public on climate change risks.
These include the impact on growth and development, potential of conflicts, poverty, migration, disease and suffering.
COP 23, scheduled for November 6th to 17th, would be chaired by Fiji, with support from the German Government, and it would help discuss and strengthen commitments of countries towards climate change mitigation, adaptation and funding activities to relieve the world, especially, developing countries like Ghana, of the impact of climate change.
The COP is the next most significant UN global event after the UN General Assembly meeting, and Ghana is among many countries that have ratified the Paris Climate Agreement to implement policy actions towards greenhouse gas reduction and adaptation to climate change, based on its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
The sensitisation event was organised by the Regional Institute for Population Studies, (RIPS), of the University of Ghana, in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), the Ministries of Finance and Food and Agriculture, with the support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the International Development Centre of Canada.
Dr Benjamin Delali Dovie, a Senior Lecturer at RIPs, said the Pre-COP climate Festival was one of the flagship projects of the Institute, intended to bring as many diverse groups of people and actors together to raise awareness and deliberate the State of Ghana, in respect of climate change.
He said the festival that started as an international climate change colloquium, had since 2012, deliberated on issues of climate change which concerned society and development most, rather than for academia.
He said the SDG 13 on climate action urged all to act in ways that minimised pollution, accompanied by appropriate adaptation to save the planet earth from total collapse “because we are approaching a tipping point”.
“We have a responsibility as a nation, both as state and non-state actors, to educate our population about the dangers of climate change because of its impacts on growth and development, conflict, poverty, migration, disease and suffering,” he noted.
He said the Conference was thus bringing key actors “to unite in our fight against climate change through knowledge dissemination and information”.
Mr Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh, the Director-General of NADMO, said the number of severe weather and extreme climate-change related events in recent years had led to disasters of devastating consequences to many countries, thus, arousing keener interest of the public and policy makers in climate change.
He said it would be difficult to implement the Paris Climate Agreement to the letter, unless the consequential needs of technology development and transfer, capacity building, cost and financing were addressed.
“Subsequently, the State must be committed in supporting policies that solve key climate compatible development and climate risk reduction challenges, and intellectual leadership and innovation,” he said.
“As a country, we must respond to the multi-dimensional issue of Climate Change towards our nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMA).
“One such innovation is the partnership between NADMO and the German Cooperation on Integrated Climate Risk management and Transfer on drought risk insurance towards resilient agriculture and food security, central to our NDCs”.
The NADMO boss said the next 13 years provided a window of time in which the world economies must shift toward low-carbon development and resilience, making the NDCs, a priority for NADMO.
Mr Hans-Hagle Sander, the Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy, said: “Germany supports Ghana in its efforts to identify and implement adaptation measures in the agricultural sector and the development of Climate Smart Agriculture.
“Those measures aim at strengthening the resilience of smallholder farmers and the ability of the Government of Ghana to adequately react on drought calamities.”
Additionally, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Natural Resources, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) GIZ supports the Ministries of Finance and Fisheries, and the NADMO in the accession process to the African Risk Capacity (ARC).
Mr Sander said the ARC was established as a specialised agency of the African Union to support member states to improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters.
He said dealing with climate change was a key element of Germany’s efforts to develop business with West Africa and that the German Chamber of Commerce in Accra would be organising the West African Clean Energy & Environment Exhibition and Conference for the sixth time, this year, in November to among other things, display state-of-the-art renewable energy technology.