Mr Benito Owusu Bio, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, says government has committed to an aggressive afforestation and reforestation programme to restore Ghana’s lost forest cover and contribute to global climate action.
He said interventions such as the Green Ghana Project, Ghana Cocoa REDD+ Programme, Shea Landscape Emission Reduction Programme, Ghana Forest investment Programme, Cocoa and Forest Initiative and the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining Project were all aimed at safeguarding the environment from further degradation.
“Government is conscious about the drivers of deforestation and climate change; our concentration is to ensure that at least we plant more trees to arrest the rate of deforestation and forest degradation.”
Mr Bio said this at the opening of the maiden Environmental Sustainability Summit (ESS) 2022 organised by the B&FT, on the theme: “The Socio-Economic impact of population on natural life,” on Wednesday, in Accra.
He said the issues of environmental pollution, deforestation and forest degradation and their resultant effects on the environment and the planet, and more importantly on natural life, were very critical and, therefore, required the attention of all stakeholders.
“In this ever-evolving global competitive economic and business environment, business leaders and policy makers need to understand that the issues of pollution of any kind are fundamental threats to economic stability and, therefore, required thoughtful management, prudent investments and technological innovation both from the public and the private sector of economies.”
Mr Bio said air, water and land population were the three common types of pollution affecting Ghana.
“Science, data and events at both national and global levels indicate that the earth’s climate is changing, and sadly, humans are a major contributing factor. Our actions and inactions have led us to this path. It, therefore, calls for concerted efforts to reverse the trend of the effects of climate change on the earth’s ecological systems.”
The Deputy Minister noted that although Ghana was already experiencing the effects of climate change, in the coming decades, the impacts would affect natural resources, livelihoods, food and water security in significant, but highly uncertain ways.
“There are strong indications that developing countries will bear most, the brunt of these adverse consequences. This is largely because of high vulnerability levels, and low adaptation capacities.”
He called for collective effort by stakeholders to put in place the necessary measures that would help reduce the rate of climate change, saying “government is committed to ensuring environmental sustainability and ready to partner any institutions that will complements…”
Mr Jeroen Verheul, Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, said countries had a joint challenge assignment to reduce the emission of climate change causing greenhouse gases and called for cooperation of all stakeholders.
“We have a challenge. The world is at extreme risk due to failure of economies to take account of depletion of the natural world, and in order to safeguard the planet for ourselves we need to focus not only on green growth but collaboration.”
He said, “Netherlands is mainly focusing on promoting public private cooperation in order to turn energy, electricity generation into something, which does not contribute to pollution.”
He urged government to change Ghana’s energy mix to enhance the contribution of renewable energies.
“The economy, energy, and environment must be balanced for us to get things right. Together let us change Ghana’s energy mix which is mainly solar and wind in electricity generation and the Netherlands will be very happy to support that effort.”
Dr. Godwin Acquaye, Chief Executive Officer, B&FT, said the objective of the summit was to mobilise expert opinions on key developments and issues of the environment, illuminate public understanding of key policy measures, brainstorm and offer solutions to identified challenges on environmental sustainability and elicit opinions and inputs of key stakeholders into government policies.
He noted that there was the need for a balanced natural cycle between the environment and the lives and activities of human beings, plants and animals, hence the theme for the summit and urged all to come on board to change the status quo.