She said the structures must revolve around proactive physical planning backed by an integrated approach involving all stakeholders to build resilience against the menace."It is important for city authorities to deploy early warning systems to mitigate the impact of climate change because its impact on livelihoods and the country is dire," she stressed.
The minister made the call at the opening of the Seventh International Climate Change and Population Conference on Africa in Accra on Nov 11.
The conference is a collaboration between the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana, Legon, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and other stakeholders.
Held on the theme: "transforming cities' resilience to climate change," the conference drew participants from academia, regulatory agencies, civil society organisations (CSOs) and members of the public.
The United Nations (UN) Habitat estimates that about 60 per cent of the world's population will be in urban areas in the next 20 years.
It adds that the increasing urbanisation would put pressure on cities and create challenges that require countries to take steps to build resilience.
Climate change has manifested in Ghana through rising temperatures, fluctuating rainfall patterns, rising sea levels and high incidence of weather extremes and disasters.
It is estimated that the average annual temperature of Ghana has increased by 1°C in the last 30 years because of climate change.
The minister said the devastating effect of climate change required that city authorities became proactive by putting in place measures to stop plastic pollution and other activities that contributed to the menace.
“There is a lot of indiscipline in the putting up of structures because people build anyhow and at anywhere.
Plastics and other pollutants get gutters and drains are choked leading to flooding that causes destruction in towns and cities,” she said.
The Director of RIPS, Prof. Joseph Yaro, said the time had come for issues of environmental protection to be prioritised to mitigate the impact of climate change on the country.
“Our whole existence is contingent on how we mange or are able to steward our environment. As populations gravitate towards cities, the issues of climate change become more critical because our cities are prone to disasters,” he said.
He said stakeholder collaboration and sharing of knowledge were key requirements to build resilience against climate change.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) focal point in Ghana at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr
Yaw Oppong Boadi, said the EPA was collaborating with other state institutions to implement measures that would help address the menace.
He said the implementation plan for the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) had been prepared awaiting parliamentary approval to be rolled out.
The Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ms Sabine Nolke, said it was important for partnerships at the national and international levels to address climate change challenges, especially in developing countries.
She gave an assurance that Canada would continue to contribute to funding initiatives that were targeted at fighting climate change.