Climate Diplomacy Day 2015 - Information Session in Ghana on "The Road to Paris"
The celebration of a Climate Diplomacy Day was first launched last year by the UK and German Foreign Office climate departments to build a political momentum towards a new global climate deal at the end of 2015. Over 80 key climate stakeholders active in Ghana gathered today to exchange views with a panel of speakers including diplomats and Ghanaian representatives on the state of play of international climate negotiations and Ghana’s preparation to Paris.
In a keynote address, the French Ambassador to Ghana, Frédéric Clavier, explained that "the road to Paris is the road to what we call the “Paris Climate Alliance". It is an agreement that we wish to build together that can give a clear signal to our citizens throughout the world, our communities and our businesses, that we are determined to initiate a transition to low carbon economies, while ensuring equitable access to sustainable development".
The objective of a global agreement in Paris at the Conference to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) is to contain the rise in average global temperature to a maximum of 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Info Session was the occasion to discuss the impact of climate change on Ghana. In developing countries like Ghana, climate change is having a disproportional negative impact as it exacerbates problems related to rapid population growth, existing poverty and a heavy reliance on agriculture, natural resources and the environment.
Opening the Session, Dr Mamadou Ouattara, Director of Department of Graduate Studies at WASCAL, presented the need for reliable climate research to understand the full scope of climate change impact in West Africa. "The impact of climate change and climate variability on rainfall is one of the most important challenges facing West African populations, including increase in occurrence of extreme events and high variability of rainfall".
WASCAL was established in 2012 with the support of Germany with the cooperation of 10 African countries, including Ivory Coast, Benin, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo under the auspices of Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS). The objective of WASCAL is to serve as a hub, connecting regional partners, facilitating research including computational infrastructure and capacity building.
Ignacio Burrull, Head of Cooperation, European Union in Ghana, welcomed the recent opening of a WASCAL office in Accra. He presented an overview of the EU Climate Diplomacy. "We, as EU and EU Member States, want to express our support to the Ghana’s climate negotiators to ensure that they will be delivering a strong and sustainable input to the upcoming 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris".
Dr Emmanuel Tachie-Obeng, UNFCCC National Focal Point for Climate Change, Education, Training and Public Awareness, Environment Protection Agency (EPA), returning from a set of international meetings in Bonn, Germany, went on to provide some insight into the state of play of climate diplomacy in Ghana. "Ghana considers climate change as a development issue under the Shared Growth Development Agenda and is committed to climate change resilience on adaptation and sustainable development", he ensured.
Ahead of Ghana submitting its National Contribution to emission reduction to the COP21 after the summer, Dr Tachie-Obeng highlighted some opportunities in the transport; electricity; waste and agriculture/forestry sectors. He further explained the process of Ghana’s INDC preparation, including broad consultations with all stakeholders. Ghana’s commitments are expected to be adopted at cabinet level by the end of the summer.
Representing the voice of a network of Civil Society Organisations in Ghana, Kwame Mensah, KASA Network Coordinator, deplored the low level of awareness among the population in the country, as well as the lack of coordination among key stakeholders. "Stakeholder consultations are critical to developing transparent, credible INDCs. Government should use the structures it used to develop the National Climate Change policy to engage Stakeholders in order to ensure a credible INDC", he urged.
He highlighted the importance of providing feedback on the outcomes of international climate negotiations and how it affects Ghanaians. He concluded that it was essential for Africa to adopt a common position on the issue of climate funding and adaptation.
The First Secretary from the Embassy of Denmark to Ghana, Lars Jøker, Team Leader for Business & Green Growth, concluded the presentations with a case-study on the example of the support provided to the set-up of a Ghana Climate Innovation Center (GCIC).
He explained that the GCIC was providing local institutional capacity to support Ghanaian entrepreneurs and new ventured offering solutions to climate adaptation. The objective was to grant support, mentoring, training and funding to 100 companies in Ghana in the next 5 years.
For more information, go to: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/ghana/press_corner/all_news/news/2015/17062015_climaediploday_en_01.htm