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At the Africa Climate Week 2019: Let’s fight climate change …in Africa – President

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on African countries to collaborate and start taking bold steps to tackle the adverse effects of climate change on the continent.

“For the sake of today’s generation and generations yet unborn, we have a solemn duty to take immediate, bold and concrete steps to protect global climate from warming beyond unreasonable limits.”

“It is in the interest of African nations to consider the economic fortune of the continent and step up their collective effort to fight decisively global warming,” President Akufo-Addo said at the opening of the high-level session of the on-going African Climate Week 2019 (ACW) in Accra yesterday. 

The weeklong event, on the  theme  “Climate Change action in Africa: A race we can win” has since Monday, created the platform  for discussion on how to advance national climate action plans, also known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and Sustainable Development Goal 13 on climate action, among other goals.

Organised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), about 2,000 participants from across the world are in attendance including government officials, policy makers, investors and representatives of the UNFCCC, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

The President, who is also a UN Co-chair for Eminent Group of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocates, said the climate change was perhaps the biggest threat to the realisation of the goals and in view of this, called for a coordinated effort to help to overcome it.

He said Africa was suffering the highest impact of climate change because agriculture, water and energy which were essential drivers of developments and economies were at the same time sensitive to the changing climate.

President Akufo-Addo said it was imperative for all Africans to protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial eco-system, sustainable land forest, and combat desertification and stop land degradation

He said the recent report by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which said the global community had only 12 years to stop climate change, called for aggressive steps on climate change.

 “While we strive to do our bit to halt climate change at the national level, we expect also a lot to be done at the international level. One major issue of concern to us is the need to streamline access to international climate finance to complement national funding,” he said

Mr Michal Kurtyka, COP24 President urged countries to practicalise their NDCs and take bold steps for the sake of posterity.

 “We need to step up because we have a very short time, about 12 years, available to us to hit alarming warming of the climate around the world,” Mr Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, said. 

Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) said government’s efforts to mitigate climate change to include tree planting to decrease deforestation, construction of sea defence, promotion of clean stoves and irrigation projects had led to the reduction of two million tonnes of greenhouse gas over the last few years.

BY YAW KYEI AND JONATHAN DONKOR 

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