The Minister for Environment, Science and Technology Ms. Sherry Ayittey has urged all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to make climate change resilient policy and sanitation cleanness the topmost priority in their development plans or programmes to spare the country from both natural and man-made disasters.
She observed that, the recurring floods in parts of the country had cost the country millions of cedis in reconstruction, repairs and relief items. The floods which she blamed on the indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste that choked the major water run-ways also cost Ghana millions of cedis to resettle flood displaced people in Accra and Northern Ghana.
“We need to go green to reduce the impact of climate change not only on livelihoods but on the national economy. We can not go forward if we continue to dispose plastic waste indiscriminately in the country”, she said. The Minister said the only way to deal with plastic waste in the country was for people to change their attitude to disposal of used plastics.
The minister said this when she addressed the District Chief Executives (DCEs), District Coordinating Directors (DCDs) and Planners during one of the series of a nationwide high level interaction on climate change and plastic waste in Ghana held in Kumasi.
The programme which sought to encourage the mainstream of climate change into development planning in Ghana was organised by two international organisation includes, Care International Ghana under the auspices of Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP), Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment Science and Teachnology (MEST), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Japan International Development Agency (JICA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The training programme was aimed to educate the government and public office holders on the need to mainstream climate resilient and sanitation cleanness into their development programmes at various levels. It was also to encourage physical and economic planning in the country that takes climate change and environmental and anitation cleanness into consideration.
The minister indicated the government of Ghana spent closed to amount of 62 billion old Ghana cedis on floods relief victims in the northern sector, central and western regions. This amount was said to be exclusive of various contributions made by the development partners and that Ghana has had her fair share of the harsh climate effects and could not wait to manage disasters anymore but takes proactive measurse to avoid them.
Ms. Ayittey commended Care International Ghana’s Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) for making impacts on the lives of rural dwellers in parts of northern and Upper East region. ALP is implementating community based adaptation that includes education on climate variability and linking communities to agencies such as Ghana Meteorological Department (GMD), Ministry of Food and Agriculutre (MOFA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Savannah Agriculture Research Institute (SARI).
These agencies provide necesary information to farmers to plan their crop production. The minister urged the MMDCEs to urged to put in place environmental sound policy to deal with plastic waste to ensure environmental sustainability.
The Manger for Care International Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) Mr. Romanus Gyang explained that the effects of climate change on livelihoods were too devastating to leave it for the governments alone to deal with. He said that while CARE International was collaborating with the government through the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP) it was also implementing communities based adaptation at various communities and supporting them to diversify their livelihoods in relation to climate change and their vulnerability. Explaining the effects of climate on national economy, Mr. Gyang stated that if nothing is done immediately the devastating effects of climate change and climate variability on the national economy in the near future would be great to bear.
The Ashanti Regional Minister Dr. Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah said that climate change represents a key challenge to the development of the country. He said the effects of climate change will increase the financial burdens of governments and limit their ability to provide infrastructure. He said agriculture sector has already been affected by the effects of climate change and called for action to reduce its effects on the people. This was contained a speech read on his behalf during the training workshop on climate change in Kumasi.
The president of the National Association of Local Government Authority (NALAC) Mr. Ebenezer Akuoko Frimpong pledged on behalf of the MMDCEs in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo region to mainstream climate change into local development programme. He observed that extreme climate variability in Ghana may grind development into a halt if nothing is done about it.
He cited rises in temperatures, low crop yield, flood and erractic rains and long droughts as some of the frightening signs of effects of climate change in Ghana. He appealed to his colleague leaders of Local government authority to take climate change issues very serious to reduce its negative impact on livelihoods and development.