Participants at the just ended 7th Annual Harmattan School have observed that poverty is still high in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions due to over-dependency on aid.
They said it was possible the country would achieve the UN Millennium Development Goal targets of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015 without those three regions.
These were contained in a three-page communiqué issued by participants and delivered by Dr Seidu Al-Hassan, Director of the Centre for Continuing Education and Interdisciplinary Research (CCEIR) of the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Tamale.
Organized by CCEIR-UDS, the two-day lecture series was dubbed “Accelerating Socio-Economic Development in Northern Ghana through Culture and Climate Change Adaptation”.
The Annual School discussed a range of issues including steady progress in infrastructural development, acute shortage of teachers resulting in high illiteracy and the vulnerability of the area to climate change.
It was recommended that government as a matter of agency should assent to the draft National Climate Change Policy and give it the needed institutional support.
Participants, urged the National Development Planning Commission to lead the process of mainstreaming climate change in the national development planning process by encouraging the wide-scale acceptance of climate smart planning and budgeting by all Municipal, Metropolitan and District Assemblies.
Civil Society groups were also tasked to complement government’s efforts toward climate change mitigation by focusing their attention on tree-growing to regenerate depleted forest.
Among the suggestions the group put across was a call for the critical re-examination of the nation’s culture and making maximum use of the good aspects of culture that protects the environment and promotes socio-economic development.
Participants reminded government on its pledge to empower the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to engage in productive activities and quality human resource development that would generate opportunities for the transformation of the three regions.
They expressed concern about the current practice of relying on aid for the development of the country and recommended that the government should build internal capacity to increase trade for development.