IBIS Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), will this year undertake a programme to track budgets of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) towards mitigating the impact of climate change on the citizenry.
Mrs Safia Musah, Programmes Facilitator of IBIS Ghana, who announced this at a forum at Gbullung in the Kumbungu District, said the aim was to assess what government was doing in relation to mitigating climate change effects given that it (government) received as well as allocated substantial funding to the issue.
She said it was also to ensure that MMDAs were accountable in the allocation and use of funds meant for climate change activities, as well as advocating for effective implementation of the climate change adaptation strategy and plan for enhanced environmental rights and sustainable livelihoods.
The forum, organized by the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC), an NGO, in partnership with IBIS Ghana, brought together state institutions, civil society organizations and youth /women groups from Savulegu/Naton Municipality, Sagnarigu, Kumbungu and Central Gonja Districts.
They deliberated on ways to fight issues of climate change. It was also to enable participants to identify local ways of responding to changing climate, as well as reducing human actions that enhanced climate change.
Mrs Musah said the ultimate objective of the climate change programme being implemented by NORSAAC in partnership with IBIS Ghana, was to ensure that government came out with an effective policy that would safeguard the environment and ensure that local livelihoods were not affected by the changing climate.
She said the changing climate was taking a toll on the livelihoods of all, especially farmers, in the form of low crop yields, and diseases attacking livestock, amongst others, which required effective policy to address.
She urged climate change working groups created under the project in the districts to partner with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Agriculture, amongst others, to ensure continuity of the project.
Mr Charles Akurugu, Assistant Director of Administration at the Kumbungu District Assembly, said MMDAs spent the five per cent budgetary allocation to be used on climate change and disaster management on planting trees, sensitization on bush fires, amongst others, to safeguard the environment.
Mr Akurugu urged climate change working groups in the project districts to constantly engage the district assemblies in their activities, to ensure the effective implementation of climate change mitigation programmes.
Mr Musah Adam Jafaru, Northern Regional Programmes Officer of the EPA, urged the public to reduce the use of polythene and other non-degradable materials, to safeguard the environment and ensure the free flow of drainage system.
Mr Jafaru said EPA was distributing seedlings to schools in the region to plant trees to serve as wind breaks during storms, and urged communities to also plant trees.