Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mainstreaming Climate Change in Ghana’s politics

By Kofi Adu Domfeh

KUMASI, Ghana (PAMACC News) - Climate justice activists going to Paris in December will be seeking political commitments from polluter nations to cut carbon emissions whilst funding adaptation programmes for the climate vulnerable.

The African Group of Negotiators (AGN), for instance, will be clamouring for the aspiration of vulnerable people on the continent to be upheld in the agreement.

Local farmers and communities would be the ultimate beneficiaries if a favorable deal is reached at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP20) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

However, the benefits would only trickle down when implementation of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) has strong political backing at the country level.

An INDC is both a government's political and technical proposed 'contribution' to the United Nations as to what it will do about climate change.

Ghana, upon submitting its INDC, joined the global efforts to put in fair and balanced future climate regime, which is expected to be agreed upon at the UN Climate Talks in Paris.

Ghana’s INDC will serve as the national blueprint on its enhanced climate action plan for 2020-2030.

The INDC is anchored on the Ghana Shared Growth Development Agenda II, National Climate Change Policy and the Low Carbon Development Strategy, as well as the anticipated 40-year long-term development plan.

Effective implementation of actions outlined in the INDC will largely depend on strong political will and commitment of the political party in power to deliver on the ‘contributions’.

In November 2016, Ghana will go into Presidential and Parliamentary polls.

There are already call for the mainstreaming of the country’s INDC in the manifestoes of political parties going into the General Elections.

“We are not interested in promises but we want promises that are doable. If we have these firmly in their manifestoes, then the political parties have it as an obligation to implement these things,” said Sam Kobina Afena, a rural youth development practitioner at a national forum on Ghana’s INDC.

According to him, “the politician must be seen to be championing the cause of the people; we have to demand from them because they are coming to us for votes; so we should name our terms and that is our developmental needs”.

Climate change is indeed a development issue – it can deny people and communities their ability to overcome poverty.

“Climate is a very critical issue; infact this year, we are only praying for a miracle to happen otherwise next year will be very critical for food production because the rains came very late,” observed Sam.

Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been holding awareness creation meetings with various stakeholders on the INDCs.

The objective is to solicit comments and recommendations for post-2015 review of the INDC and readiness activities as well as discuss implementations strategies.

Dr. Emmanuel Tachie Obeng at the EPA’s Climate Unit says there plans to engage the political parties to commit to the INDC.

“We have series of awareness creation for the politicians so that the INDC is going to inform their manifestoes,” he said.

There are expectations that progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should encourage parties at the COP21 to come up with a strong, fair and equitable climate agreement.

Strong engagements will also ensure that parties at the national level are delivering on the climate needs of local people.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh 

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