Post Rio+20 conference opens in Accra

Ghana flagsA three -day international conference on post Rio+20 has been opened in Accra on Wednesday.

The conference on the theme: “Beyond Rio+20: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities,” is being attended by several African think tanks to share their views on post Rio+20, deepen their understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead and lay the foundation of a collective reflection  on the ways to better implement the outcomes within Africa.

Rio+20 was a United Nations Conference on sustainable development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from June 20- June 22, 2012, with participating countries striving to promote green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Dr Robert Darko Osei, Head, Economics Division, at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana Legon, said the conference would help mobilise political will throughout the continent and better incorporate the voice of Africa in the global policy debate.

“African think tanks can play a critical role and provide the indispensable evidence that will improve the quality in policy decision making with regard to sustainable development both locally and in the international scene,” he said.

He said some of the expected output of the conference would include an edited book capturing the best output of the programme, research papers related to post Rio+20 gathering, policy briefs on specific and relevant topics as well as national seminars and outreach events using the conference materials.

“In terms of outcomes, the conference will contribute to strengthening the research capacity of the participating institutions, especially in the area of green economy, enhance their research quality and allow for peer learning in the context of the collaborative initiative.”

Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana said the time has come for the African continent to develop at a faster rate.

He therefore urged the participants to use the conference to explore solutions in addressing issues confronting the continent.

Dominic Sam, Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme, said the conference was timely as it would provide valuable insights towards the development of Africa.

He urged policy makers to come out with concrete measures to achieve sustainable development on the continent especially reducing poverty.

Marie-Laure Akin-Olgbade, Resident Representative, African Development Bank (ADB), Ghana’s Country Office, urged the participants to think outside the box and challenge the existing thinking and paradigm with regards to climate change issues and poverty.

She noted that the issue of climate change poses a challenge to the development of the Africa and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

She said ADB has introduced an initiative dubbed: “Climate Smart Programme,” with a capital of 10 billion dollars to support programmes geared towards renewable energy, water and other issues related to climate change.

She said the programme which started in 2011 would end in 2015.

Dr LamourdiaThiombiano, Deputy Regional Representative of Food and Agricultural Organisation Africa, said even though Africa is possessed with diverse natural resources, it is yet to be translated to the welfare of the people.

He therefore called for a commitment from political leaders and other policy makers to help promote sustained development for the benefit of the people.

Source: GNA

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