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Ghana, Switzerland sign agreement to invest in green businesses

Ghana has signed a bilateral agreement with Switzerland to invest in green businesses aimed at mitigating the impact of climate change in both countries.

Under the agreement, Ghana will receive funds from the Swiss side for sustainable development projects while Switzerland takes carbon credits emission cuts to meet her climate commitments without compromising Ghana’s effort to achieve her own climate actions.

The deal falls directly under Article six of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change which encourages countries to mobilise finances and catalyse private sector investments to address the threat of climate change.

The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2016, challenges countries who form part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to work towards achieving a desired global goal of two degrees temperature reduction.

At a brief signing ceremony in Accra on Monday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey and the Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, Philipp Stalder, both appended their signatures to the agreement for implementation.

They were joined via video conference by the President of the Swiss Confederation, Simonetta Sommaruga and Ghana’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Ramses Joseph Cleland who witnessed the signing.

Sector Minister, Ms Botchwey in a remark explained that having identified practical ways of implementing the agreement, both countries are enjoined to prevent double-counting and not to claim credit for the same carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

It is also binding on both countries to ensure that green businesses established under the agreement do not harm the environment but rather respect human rights and support sustainable development.

“We have also made provision for a grievance mechanism to allow stakeholders to resolve complaints that may arise during implementation of the green businesses,” she said.

Ms Botchwey indicated that a major component under the agreement will be the implementation of Ghana’s National Clean Energy Access Programme (NCEP), expected to lead to the “transfer of mitigation outcomes known as Internal Transfer of Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs) to Switzerland in exchange for financial resources and the extension of Swiss technical knowhow as a demonstration of the scalability of Ghana’s conditional mitigation commitments.”

Mad Sommaruga, President of the Swiss Confederation, noted that the agreement which comes into force next year would enable the implementation of climate protection projects such as the installation of 700,000 decentralised solar systems under the (NCEP).

“This programme will strengthen the expansion of renewable energies and energy-efficient technologies and thus reduces CO2 emissions in Ghana particularly in clean cooking – where efficiency means less wood and charcoal is burned – and in lighting, where solar and LED technology is replacing kerosene lamps and candles,” she noted.

In addition, Mad. Sommaruga submitted that small businesses would be encouraged to use medium-sized solar plants in place of diesel generators, under the programme.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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