Honour commitment to reduce greenhouse gases – Minister

Sherry Ayittey - Minister of Environment, Science and Technology

Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, has called on developed countries to honour their commitment to reduce their emission of greenhouse gases by at least 40 percent by 2050.

She said Ghana would not want to witness the demise of the Kyoto Protocol on African soil adding that “We stress the urgency of agreeing to a second commitment period in Durban and of elaborating measures to avoid a gap between commitment periods.”

Ms Ayittey said this when officials of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, the Environmental Protection Agency, Scientists, non governmental organizations and other actors interested in Climate Change issues met on Tuesday in Accra to discuss Ghana’s position in a run up to the 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) meeting scheduled for Durban, South Africa from November 28 to December 9, 2011.

COP 17 is a meeting of nations who are signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that adopt decisions and resolutions on the implementation of the convention.

Ms Ayittey giving Ghana’s position noted that the parties (nations) may not reach a legally binding agreement as had happened in previous years but expressed hope that critical political questions that the Cancun Climate conference did not answer would be addressed in Durban.

She said Ghana is a party to the UNFCC and has actively participated in the negotiations of the United Nations Conferences, notably the COP 15 and COP 16 held in Copenhagen, Denmark and Cancun, Mexico respectively.

The Minister said that during COP 15 developed countries made pledges to contribute 30 billion dollars from 2010 to 2012 and up to 100 billion dollars a year from 2020 to developing countries to address the impact of climate change, however, the pledges were not legally binding and most countries have not honoured the promise.

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the UNFCCC which sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries to reduce their emission of greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent.

Ms Ayittey said Ghana’s position is enshrined in the African position which was endorsed by the African Environment Ministers during their special meeting in Bamako in September this year.

She said developing countries emission reductions were voluntary and could be reviewed according to the change of national circumstances; however, it also depended on the availability of financial resources, technology transfer and capacity building of the developing countries.

She said: “…taking into consideration that social and economic development and poverty eradication were the first and overriding priorities for developing countries, parties should cooperate in achieving the peaking of global greenhouse gases.”

Ms Ayittey said Ghana will continue to support the establishment and operationalization of the Green Climate fund and the African Green Fund and underlined the need for developing countries to be able to have direct access to the fund.

Commenting on the need for Research and systematic observation in Africa and other developing countries, Ms Ayittey said Ghana supports the establishment of an African Climate Observatory for climate data collection and dissemination to help carry out studies on the ecosystems and population vulnerability.

She appealed to African negotiators to develop strategies that would enable the continent get a fair deal at the Durban summit.

Source: GNA

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