By Kofi Adu Domfeh
Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says his government has taken the policy decision to integrate climate action into the country’s national development agenda – the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (2017- 2022).
According to him, the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13, which demands urgent action to combat climate change and its impact, are providing the framework for Ghana to forge ahead in this direction.
Speaking at the R20 Austrian World Summit on Climate Change, the President revealed all local assemblies in Ghana have been mandated to address climate change issues in their medium-term development plans.
Upon assuming office in January 2017, his Government decided to clamp down on the reprehensible activity of illegal mining that has been destroying the nations’ forests and water bodies.
A ban has also been imposed on the harvesting of rosewood timber as one of the measures to protect Ghana’s forests and endangered species.
Also through the “Youth in Afforestation” Programme, over 20,000 youth have been employed to plant 10 million trees across the country, as a way of increasing carbon sinks in the country.
Towards realizing Ghana’s international obligations under SDG 7, on access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy, as well as SDG 13, President Akufo-Addo reiterated Ghana’s commitment of promoting the deployment of renewable energy, in line with government’s policy target of 10% renewables in the energy mix from the current 1%.
To this end, in the course of this year, Jubilee House, the seat of the nation’s presidency, will be powered by solar energy, as an example to other public institutions. The target is to install 200 megawatts of distributed solar power by 2030 in both residential and non-residential facilities, and in state agencies.
President Akufo-Addo revealed further that he has engaged a select group of CEOs from the private sector to push forward Ghana’s “Green Agenda”, in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The response, the President stressed, has been very positive, with commitments to create a Green Fund, to be financed largely by the private sector, in place.
This Fund, he added, would be used to drive the nation’s Agenda of ensuring access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all in the country.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that “what we do in Ghana affects the people of Nepal, or Mozambique or Austria. That is why we need concerted Global action to tackle this menace. Success in addressing climate change will be one of the greatest legacies that our generation can give to the next.”