Stakeholders at the opening of a climate change conference in Accra yesterday have underscored the need to build resilient urban cities in the country to control the effects of the global threat.
The two-day climate change and population conference, which is the 7th edition, gathered experts in the environmental field, academia, the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), civil society, school children, among others, to assess the country’s adaptation to climate change effects.
Convened by the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana, the conference is on the theme, “Transforming Cities’ Resilience to Climate Change.”
Panellists, including the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, High Commissioner of Canada to Ghana, Sabine Nolke and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Focal Person for Ghana, Mr Yaw Oppong Boadi, all agreed on the need to pay attention to proactive physical planning of the urban cities to control the damning effect of climate change.
Madam Dapaah observed that with the increasing population in Ghana’s major cities, making specific reference to Accra, there was the need to build stronger institutions and enforce environmental laws to minimise impact of climate change.
“There is lot of indiscipline in the city; we put up buildings anywhere, our drains are poorly maintained, waste is not properly disposed and because we cannot measure the quantum of rains that come in, we continue to experience worst forms of flooding.
“We need to have good planning systems in place to withstand these threats, we need to ensure that there are early warning systems to pick up early signals, and this must begin from the local level,” she stated.
To the sector minister said, “Cities are the future of humanity and we need strong physical planning, and this is crucial in times like these to fit into the national action plan on climate change adaptation.”
On his part, Mr Yaw Oppong Boadi disclosed that an implementation plan on the country’s intended nationally determined contributions (INDC) to address the threat was ready awaiting approval.
“Ghana has ratified the INDC which has plans and programmes to address climate change, and in order to achieve the objectives to address waste management, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is engaging various institutions through public sensitisations,” he said.
Mr Boadi indicated that, “the EPA is putting policies and strategies in place to address the challenge through partnerships with key institutions to attain a safer environment and future we yearn for.”
Contributing, Ms Nolke expressed her country’s commitment to raise US$ 100 billion each year in climate finance by 2020 to particularly assist African countries which are most vulnerable to climate change impacts.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH