The Deputy Western Regional Minister, Mrs Gifty Kusi, has stated that climate change was a contemporary issue which cuts across all sectors of development and has significant implications for developing economies such as Ghana.
She noted that Climate Change was caused by human activities that led to increasing emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere resulting in problems such as floods, drought and increasing temperature among others.
Mrs Kusi who said this at the opening of a two capacity building workshop on “climate change, risk assessment and vulnerability” in Takoradi, called for a holistic approach by all to address the impact of climate change.
The workshop was organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) in collaboration with USIAID –Ghana Integrated Resources and Resilience Planning (IRRP) Project.
The workshop attended by district coordinating directors, planning officers and Head of works of all the districts in the Western Region was to among others, enhance the capacity levels of local planning officers in meeting NDPC’s guidelines of mainstreaming climate change issues into their local development plans, budgeting and reporting process.
It was also to build awareness around effectively integrating extreme weather and climate change risks into district level energy frameworks and planning. The Deputy Regional Minister pointed out that the government as part of its international commitment to address climate change has in the past years taken steps to incorporate climate change into development planning in all sectors at the national level and in development plans prepared at the decentralised level of governance.
“Over the years the state through NDPC has been working to build the requisite capacity to facilitate effective integration of climate into development plans at the various governance levels.”
Mrs Kusi said in achieving this, the government has produced a National Climate Change Policy, National Climate Change Adaption Strategy, National Climate Change and Green Economy Learning Strategy. She commended USAID-Ghana for their support in the project that sought to offer technical assistance and build capacity for the integration of climate change into development plans and urged the participants and stakeholders to support and remain committed to the project so that development plans of the districts and the nation could be resilient to the hash and intense weather and climate impacts.
Mr Antwi-Boasiko Amoah, a Principal Programme officer at EPA in Charge of Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaption, said evidence of climate change was increasingly gaining scientific grounds and that it continued to affect agriculture, coastal lands, health, energy and infrastructure in many countries including Ghana .
Mr Amoah pointed out that climate change was real and asked that the necessary measures should be put in place to address it, noting that the government was facilitating the implementation of United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as well as mainstreaming climate change into national development.
Dr Ananth Chikkatur, Chief of Party for the Ghana IRRP project, announced that through the EPA and NDPC, the IRRP project was supporting the mainstreaming of climate resilient planning at the district level, adding that the Western Region was selected as a prime location largely because of its high potential for climate risks and vulnerabilities.
According to him, prior to the workshop, a baseline assessment of climate risks and vulnerability was conducted through a survey in all the 22 districts in the Western Region. Dr Chikkatur pointed out that Ghana’s economy and infrastructure was impacted by various risk and uncertainties, including increased stormed surges, extreme rainfall, sea-level rise, flooding and increased frequency and severity of drought’
“Reports indicate that by mid-century, the average annual temperature in Ghana is projected to increase by 1.2 degree Celsius with change in annual precipitation remaining in uncertainty”. He said floods, droughts and extreme weather conditions were creating challenges for Ghana’s economic development, community livelihoods, infrastructure stability, rain-fed agriculture, food security, spatial planning and energy security.
Dr Chikkatur indicated that through USAID, the IRRP would redouble its efforts in strategic energy planning by supporting the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and the EPA, which were the mandated authorities for environment sustainable development.
He further said the IRRP project would support the existing policies of the Ghana government, including Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda, National Climate Change Policy, National Adaptation Strategy and National Climate Change and Green Economy Learning Strategy.
The participants would be taken through topics such as, climate change risk and vulnerabilities in Ghana, Ghana’s development planning process, Best practices for mainstreaming climate change into development planning, Building climate adaption and resilience into Ghana and the Region, Introducing funding for climate mitigation and adaptation as well as potential role of climate finance.