The Country Director of ActionAid Ghana, Mr John Nkaw, has called for regular and varied research on climate change in order to enhance the world’s understanding of adaptation and to help influence public and private actions as well as stimulate investments in vulnerable communities.
He said the net effect of ongoing climate change “is affecting agricultural production, while the sector also presents emissions reduction opportunities.”
For him, the impact of climate change had impacted negatively on people living in poverty and exclusion, who are particularly vulnerable to deviations in average climate conditions such as prolonged drought and natural disasters such as floods, thereby undermining the sustainability of their livelihoods in the long term.
Mr Nkaw made the call when ActionAid Ghana held a national stakeholder seminar on climate change in Accra.
The two-day national stakeholder seminar, which was organised on November 8-9, this year, was on the theme: “Building climate resilience in Ghana through multi-stakeholder collaborations.”
The event brought together experts, academics, farmers, civil society organisations, government agencies and departments as well as development partners to deliberate on key issues that needed to be looked at in the fight against climate change.
According to a World Bank research, climate change has a huge potential of driving 216 million people to move within their own countries by 2050.
Climate change is affecting crop yields, particularly in the world’s most food-insecure regions and smallholder farmers are said to be predominantly bearing the brunt for the climate induced loss and damage.
Mr Nkaw said the seminar was organised as a result of the European Union’s commitment to funding projects that seek to build the resilience of smallholder farmers against climate-induced loss and damage.
That, he noted, the theme for the event sets the tone for “our deliberations and our determination to proffer actionable proposals and strategic approaches towards combating climate change in Ghana and beyond.”
He expressed the hope that “I firmly believe that this seminar’s outcome will be a driving force for a sustainable path towards building Ghana’s resilience against the devastating impact of climate change in our lives.”
Mr Nkaw was of the view that the journey to attaining a climate-resilient country cannot be single-handedly achieved by any one organisation or individual and that ActionAid Ghana, as part of its contributions, had teamed up with other institutions, including the University of Energy and Natural Resources and the University of Environment and Sustainable Development with a view to realising the objectives of building a climate resilient country.
The partnership, he noted, aims at leveraging “our strengths to champion sustainable development by supporting research and development, capacity building, and joint seminars on climate change and climate justice.”
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural and Natural Resources, Sunyani, Professor Elvis Asare-Bediako, who was the Chairman for the event, said climate change threatens people with food insecurity, water scarcity, flooding, infectious diseases, extreme heat, economic losses, and displacement.
For him, even if efforts to minimise future warming are successful, some effects will continue for centuries, including rising sea levels, rising ocean temperatures, and ocean acidification.
He explained that responding to the impacts of climate change “involves both mitigation and adaptation”, adding that “mitigation means reducing greenhouse gas emissions and removing them from the atmosphere.”
Prof. Asare-Bediako therefore commended ActionAid Ghana for holding the national stakeholder event, noting that the seminar will help highlight the impact of climate change on smallholder farmers, particularly in Northern Ghana, engage with representatives of government agencies, institutions and make recommendations to improve Ghana’s solutions to climate change.
Additionally, he said, the two-day national stakeholder seminar on climate change will help to disseminate research findings and recommendations from the academia and civil society on climate change and identify opportunities for advocacy to influence policy.
He said the University of Energy and Natural Resources was ready to partner institutions such as ActionAid Ghana and the government in the fight against climate change in the country.
“UENR has Schools in the University such as the School of Geosciences, School of Agriculture and Technology, School of Natural Resources, School of Engineering, School of Sciences, the Earth Observation Research and Innovation Centre, and Centre for Climate Change and Gender Studies that are undertaking innovative researches relating to climate in order to provide policy options on mitigation and adaptation to climate change,” Prof. Asare-Bediako explained.