Government has, therefore, become fully conscious of the risks and opportunities climate change poses to the realization of long-term development objectives of the country and is willing to tackle it head-on, said Dr Bernice Heloo, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.
The Deputy Minister was speaking at the opening of the 11th Meeting of the Cartagena Dialogue for Progressive Action on Climate Change in Accra on Thursday.
More than 60 delegates from 30 countries across Africa, Europe, Latin America, Oceania and Asia were in attendance to deliberate on topical climate change effects, such as loss and damages, finance and adaptation of climate change impacts that would help member countries to collectively tackle the issues.
Also in attendance were the Ambassadors of France, Grenada, Switzerland and the High Commissioner of Australia, as well as members of civil society groups.
Dr Heloo called on delegates to help disseminate information on climate change measures to people at the grassroots, saying that people in the rural areas, especially women and youth, needed to understand issues on climate change.
This, she explained, would enable them to effectively participate in activities aimed at mitigating the impact of climate change on the environment.
She said Ghana was already experiencing the negative impact of climate change, which continued to pose serious threats to key and sensitive productive sectors of the economy.
“Government has initiated measures including submitting its “55 List of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) in compliance to the Copenhagen accord, prepared a national action plan on sustainable energy for 2030, enacted renewable Energy Act (Act 832) and currently designing its feed-in-tariff scheme”, she stated.
Dr Heloo said since climate issues cut across all countries in the world, the Accra dialogue was very important, timely and apt and, therefore, charged the delegates to deliberate on issues that would help mitigate the menace of climate change.
She said: “We must walk the talk and push the agenda forward, climate change cuts across nations and gender, among others.”
Mr Samuel Anku, Deputy Executive Director of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said the desire to combat climate change had become more imperative for Ghana because the manifestations of climate change were vividly becoming evident.
“In Ghana, one cannot rely on weather predictions. For example, farmers who rely on weather do not know when to start planting or even plant at all as extreme weather events like wind, storms, flooding are becoming common”, he said.
Mr Anku said that gains made over the years by developing countries regarding climate change, would be threatened unless collective efforts were made to address the problem.
He said the dialogue was, therefore, an important platform to galvanize momentum among like-mined countries and to create the necessary high-level awareness to change the course to climate-proof development pathways.
Mr Andrew John Higham, representative of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), called on countries to find a common ground to fight against climate change effects and to implement all agreements reached.
Mr. Samuel Dotse of the Climate Action Network, a non-governmental organisation tackling climate change, appealed to Cartagena “to provide a platform for equity on climate change mitigation measures among all countries from now till 2015’’.
The delegates would undertake a field trip to some coastal communities to observe the effects of climate change in Ghana.