Bonn, Germany – September 29, 2023
Hon. Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation for Ghana, delivered a compelling address at the Fifth International Chemicals Management Conference (ICCM5) in Bonn, Germany, on September 29, 2023.
In his speech, Minister Afriyie underscored the pivotal objective of ICCM5: to establish a robust global framework for the responsible management of chemicals and waste. The aim is to mitigate adverse impacts on human health and the environment, emphasizing the urgency of elevating chemical issues on the political agenda to ensure a sustainable and safe use of chemicals worldwide.
Recognizing pollution as one of the three pressing planetary crises, alongside climate change and biodiversity loss, Minister Afriyie emphasized the far-reaching consequences of chemical pollution on socio-economic development, particularly in developing nations such as Ghana. He highlighted the challenges stemming from knowledge disparities, weak regulatory systems, and the toll chemical pollution exacts on populations.
Minister Afriyie commended ICCM5 for addressing the interconnectedness of chemicals management, climate change, and biodiversity loss. Ghana, he noted, is a committed party to various international chemical and waste agreements and frameworks, including the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).
However, he highlighted the pressing issue of insufficient and unsustainable financial support for implementing these agreements, stressing the need for an integrated approach to financing sound chemical and waste management. This integration would entail aligning activities with national development agendas, aiming to meet the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Minister called for the establishment of a dedicated international fund to support these efforts.
Ghana’s proactive stance on confronting chemical and waste challenges was emphasized. The country has enacted multiple legislations and policies to address environmental issues, including climate change. Notably, Ghana has developed a comprehensive 10-year strategic plan for the sound management of chemicals and waste in 2021.
Furthermore, through the Climate Action Programme for the Chemical Industry (CAPCI), initiated by the Government of Germany, Ghana is actively engaged in capacity-building efforts. These initiatives lay the groundwork for addressing the nexus between chemistry and climate change, culminating in a roadmap for the chemical industry to contribute to the net-zero climate change agenda and fulfill commitments under the Paris Agreement.
In conclusion, Minister Afriyie urged decisive action and reaffirmed Ghana’s readiness to collaborate with the global community to create a planet free from harm caused by chemicals and waste, securing a healthy and sustainable future for all.