The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said Africa is disappointed at the failure of wealthy nations to honour their commitments of making available one hundred billion dollars (US$100 billion) annually to poorer countries to assist the continent in the fight against climate change.
Twelve years ago, at a United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen, rich nations made a significant pledge. They promised to channel US$100 billion a year to less wealthy nations by 2020, to help them adapt to climate change and mitigate further temperature rises.
That promise was broken. Figures for 2020 are not yet in, and those who negotiated the pledge don’t agree on accounting methods, but a report last year for the UN concluded that “the only realistic scenarios” showed the $100-billion target was out of reach. “We are not there yet,” conceded UN secretary-general António Guterres.
“Those same nations are, however, insisting that we abandon the opportunity for rapid development of our economies. That would be tantamount to enshrining inequality of the highest order, a totally unacceptable conclusion,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo, while delivering his speech on Tuesday, 2nd November 2021 during his turn on at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP 26, currently ongoing in Glasgow, urged world leaders including members of the G20 to identify an “equitable and fair” solution to climate change
“We must find a solution that levels the playing field; a solution that recognises the historical imbalances between the high emitters and low emitters. Ghana, therefore, supports the call for debt-for-climate swaps, which will address a multitude of issues in one fell swoop.”
Ghana acknowledges the importance and effects of Climate Change, and the urgent need to combat it, and we acknowledge equally the importance of protecting our development. We believe that a balance must be struck and maintained between our social, economic and environmental imperatives,” he stressed.
President Akufo-Addo emphasized the threats of climate change to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Agriculture, water, energy, and the extraction of mineral resources, the President said, are essential drivers of developments in African countries, but, at the same time, are characteristically sensitive to changing climate.
With the African Development Bank stating that Africa will need some US$3 trillion “in mitigation and adaptation by 2030” to enable her to implement nationally determined contributions, he noted that the question of financing Africa’s commitments naturally arises.
“The Almighty has blessed our lands with abundant natural resources, and it would be wholly unfair for the world to demand that Africa abandons the exploitation of these same resources needed to finance her development, and help us to cope better with the threat of climate change, at a time when many countries on the continent have only just discovered them,” President Akufo- Addo said.
He continued, “The development and industrialisation of the wealthy nations of today were also hinged on the exploitation of their natural resources. This development came at the expense of pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases. Even today, the western world is responsible for 76% of carbon emissions.”
He urged world leaders to use COP 26 as “a turning point to create a more prosperous, greener and fairer world, which maintains the balance between the social, economic and environmental requirements of all nations of the earth, rich and poor.”
Protecting Ghana’s Forests and Oceans.
President Akufo-Addo also participated in the World Leader’s Summit on protecting the world’s forests and oceans, held on the sidelines of COP 26.
Forest Plantation Strategy, aimed at restoring her lost forest.
“In June this year, I led the entire country, through the Green Ghana Project, to plant over seven million trees, far above the five million we had targeted. Next year, we aim to plant a minimum of twenty million trees, and we have already begun earnest preparations towards this,” he added.
The President assured that “from 2024 and beyond, we aim to reduce emissions by some ten million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in the cocoa-forest landscape, through the implementation of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme, one of five ecological landscape-tailored programmes in Ghana’s REDD+ Strategy.”
President Akufo-Addo hunted that through the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions in the forestry sector, “Ghana is committed to supporting the global target of halving emissions by 2030, and attaining neutrality by 2050.”
Reiterating Ghana’s commitment to managing sustainably her ocean, as the historic Transformation Document that was launched in December last year enjoins the country to do, the President added that the country is putting in place the requisite structures and processes to finalise her Sustainable Ocean Plan by 2025.
“The pressing threats we face are marine security, due to the prevalence of piracy and armed robbery on our seas, the mounting menace of Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing (IUU), overfishing and its attendant decline in fish stocks, and plastic pollution,” he said.
As Ghana deal with these challenges, in partnership with the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea, “we are also conducting an Ocean Governance Study to help us strengthen our legal and institutional framework for ocean management.”
Nana Akufo-Addo noted that Ghana as part of the measures to reduce the excessive pressure, over-exploitation and to replenish Ghana’s falling marine fish stocks has implemented a closed season for artisanal and industrial finishing.
“The results have been a phenomenal success, and we intend to continue to implement this policy with huge positive dividends over the medium-term. We must leverage our collective political influence, build strong partnerships with business leaders and influencers in civil society to drive effectively the implementation of the Transformations Document by all countries,” he added.
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