President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday said the world must step up efforts in fighting the threat of climate change, the biggest threat to the survival of humans.
He said global negotiators and parties must streamline access to international climate finance to complement national funding as Africa strives to halt the impact of climate change.
He urged all Africans to support and join in the fight, saying; “It is imperative that we join the call as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals to protect, restore, and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial eco-system, land, forests, combat desertification, and stop land degradation”.
President Akufo-Addo said this at the opening of the Africa Climate Week (ACW) underway in Ghana, on the theme: “Climate Change Action in Africa: A Race We Can Win”.
As the Co-chair of the United Nations Group of Eminent Advocates of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the President said climate change was threatening the realisation of the Goals and becoming an issue of grave concern to world leaders.
The world is recording rising sea levels, severe and extreme weather conditions, long droughts, floods, erratic rainfall patterns, and increasing desertification.
President Akufo-Addo cited the recent devastation caused by the tropical cyclone Idia, in Mozambique, and sympathised with delegates from that country and neighbouring ones like Zimbabwe and Malawi for their loss.
The President described the Africa Climate Week as an important conference for Africans since the ravages of climate change affect Africa the most.
He said the week-long event, therefore, affords the opportunity to showcase the progress Africa was making in tackling the phenomenon as well as deepening the partnerships required at the global level to combat it.
“We suffer the most in Africa because our economies allow us to be susceptible to the effect of climate change, and our capacities to withstand the shock are unknown”.
President Akufo-Addo mentioned agriculture, water and energy as essential drivers of development in African countries but at the same time were characteristically sensitive to changing climate.
“This week-long conference affords us the opportunity to showcase the progress we are making in tackling this phenomenon as well as deepening the partnership required in the global level to combat it.”
He said it was in the interest of African nations to consider the economic fortune of the Continent and step up their collective efforts to fighting global warming decisively.
The President said the recent report by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows the global community had only 12 years to stop the phenomenon, a development that required aggressive actions to tackle.
He noted that though the discourse on climate change had different dimensions, the most important aspect of it was that majority of nations had committed to tackling and reducing the current global temperature to two degrees Celsius minimum below pre-industrial level, and increasing it to 1.5 degree Celcius above pre-industrial level.
President Akufo-Addo said in conformity with the Constitution, Ghana’s development plan, which would be implemented from 2017 to 2024, had been submitted to Parliament, while major policy interventions had been introduced to combat the impact.
He cited programmes such as the Planting for Food and Jobs, One Village One Dam and One-District-One-Factory (IDIF) geared towards boosting industrialisation and rural development as well as building the country’s resilience to climate impacts.
“The Strategic focus of the IDIF initiative in the northern regions of Ghana is to provide all-year-round access to water to smallholder farmers to practically have a more variable alternative livelihoods during the dry season.”
“We are also determined to making the natural gas, which we have in abundance, available for the generation of electricity,” President Akufo-Addo said, adding that the country, in her 2019 Budget, provided special incentives for the introduction of electric cars in Ghana.
He expressed the belief that the ACW would throw more light on practicable ways to mobilise financial resources to support the implementation of national climate actions.
Mr Michal Kurtyka, the COP 24 President, said countries needed to increase efforts towards climate mitigation and adaptation, especially those that bore the brunt most.
He called for more voices on the table to share ideas and best practices on how best to handle the issue as the fight could not be won in isolation.
Mr Avais Sarmed, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nation Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC), said efforts must be hastened as there was little time left for the impact to hit alarming proportions.
The ACW is the first of the three regional climate week summit to be organised by the UNFCCC, designed to act as a critical stepping stone towards the two primary ambition driving events, to be held this year.
The other two are the Secretary-General’s Climate Session in September, and the COP25 to be hosted in Chile in December.
It is being hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, the UNFCCC, the Nairobi Framework Partners and the West African Development Bank.
The event is to discuss how Africa could partner to implement the NDCs to mitigate climate change.