Stakeholders dialogue on Climate Change Adaptation

Ghana needs to be innovative to generate new and improved products and processes to meet the challenges of Climate Change, Mr George Scott, Chief Director of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, said Tuesday.

He said innovation was a dynamic process that came with specific behaviours, performances and with obvious implications for outcomes.

Speaking at a policy dialogue on the theme: “Innovation for Climate Change Adaptation,” in Accra, Mr Scott noted that the concept of an Innovation System had become an important framework for understanding technology development and diffusion in recent times.

The dialogue was jointly organised by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and TMT Energy consult limited and supported by African Technology Policy Studies Network.

The framework stresses that innovation is neither research nor science and technology, but rather the application of knowledge (of all types) in production to achieve desired social or economic outcome, he said.

It is against this background that the policy dialogue was organised to present some of the innovations available in Ghana that could be harnessed for adaptation to climate change.

Giving a historical brief on Climate Change, Mr Scott said in 2001 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that Africa was one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to climate change.

This historical climate record for Africa, he said, showed a warming of approximately 0.7°C over most of the continent during the 20th century; a decrease in rainfall over large portions of the Sahel (the semi-arid region south of the Sahara); and an increase in rainfall in East Central Africa.

“Over the next century, this warming trend and changes in precipitation patterns are expected to continue and be accompanied by a rise in sea level and increased frequency of extreme weather events,” he said.

Mr Scott said there was the tendency to say that, ‘it is Africa but not in Ghana’, but noted that although ‘this may be true for political stability, it is not the same for Climate Change’.

“While there is widespread debate in Ghana, as in many other countries about the shape of climate change in the future, the conclusions of various models and projections apply to Ghana.”

Mr Scott said it was generally agreed that there were clear signals of warming in all models, but there was uncertainty on rainfall.

The trend has serious implications for agriculture and livelihood considering that a sizeable proportion of Ghanaians depended on the agricultural sector, he warned.

“Ghana relies on rain-fed agriculture,” he pointed out. “As a result, it is highly vulnerable to changes in climate variability, seasonal shifts, and precipitation patterns. Any amount of warming will result in increased water stress.”

The chief director, therefore, urged participants to send ideas from their various institutions and network with the other participating institutions and make informed input into the country’s Climate Change adaptation.

Dr George Essegbey, Director, Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, (STEPRI) of CSIR, said the policy dialogue had the overall goal of harnessing input from all stakeholders to guide the formulation or reformulation or review of policies, strategies and programmes in the national development context.

He said it was his hope that the outcomes would be of good effects in the national effort to address the challenges of climate change.

Source: GNA

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