Ghana commits to supporting Commonwealth countries to respond to climate change
“We need to support countries to engage their populations in an all-of-society approach to reversing climate change, including adopting a standard Climate Change Act,” Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, said.
The Commonwealth, she stated, must continue to be a champion of small island states, supporting the need to build a non-partisan national consensus on climate.
Madam Botchwey said this during a lecture in Accra on the topic: “A Vision for a New Commonwealth in a Fast-Evolving World,” held on Friday by the Council on Foreign Relations Ghana to mark its Fifth Anniversary.
She called for a legal framework that recognised the phasing out of subsidies for fossil fuels to achieve net zero by 2050 and also empower states to implement policies supported by their citizens.
“We must explore ways to support the achievement of 100 per cent electrification by 2030, the introduction of electric vehicles, and the expansion of renewable energy sources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels,” she said.
The Minister said the Commonwealth should be in the lead in convening all relevant parties to define critical actions, through bold and innovative thinking, required to access, adapt, and exploit research and development on wind, solar, offshore wind, tidal, and wave energy.
“We must prioritise small states to better access sustainable financing, build resilience, and have a voice on the global stage.”
She called for advocacy to secure the uptake of Commonwealth ideas by strategic international decision-making bodies to benefit small states and achieve climate resilience and economic development.
“We need to achieve a resilient Commonwealth by enhancing climate change leadership and technical assistance, unlocking vital finance for vulnerable countries, and helping members to overcome external shocks,” she said.
Research reveals that Africa would need $580 billion by 2030 for its adaptation financing needs alone.
The Caribbean, Madam Botchwey said, was the most exposed region to climate-related natural disasters, with estimated adaptation investment needs of more than $100 billion, equal to about one-third of its annual economic output.
“We have to redefine Commonwealth values—the commitment to democracy and peace, justice, and human rights as the sum of a democratic dividend that includes guaranteeing a high living standard for each Commonwealth citizen and social protection for all generations,” the Minister said.
Ghana on Friday announced the candidature of Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey for the position of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth to succeed the current Secretary-General, Madam Baroness Patricia Scotland, a dual Dominican-British citizen.
The Commonwealth is an association of 56 countries working towards shared goals of prosperity, democracy and peace.
The Commonwealth Secretariat is the intergovernmental organisation, which co-ordinates and carries out much of the Commonwealth’s work, supported by a network of more than 80 organisations.
Among its objectives are to protect the environment and encourage sustainable use of natural resources on land and sea, boost trade and the economy, support democracy, government and the rule of law, and support small states, helping them to tackle the particular challenges they face.