By Nana Osei Kyeretwie, GNA
Accra, July 27, GNA – A four-day International Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Africa (ICCCSDA) 2017 was on Tuesday opened in Sunyani to express Africa’s position on the Climate Change adaptation landscape.
Hosted by the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) and organised jointly by the Centre for Climate Change and Gender Studies (3CGS) and the Earth Observation and Research Innovation Centre (EORIC) of the University, the conference would also increase the understanding of Climate Change.
The conference, on the theme: « Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Strengthening Africa’s Adaptive Capacity », is being attended by about 120 participants comprising of researchers, policy-makers, development practitioners, representatives of civil society organisations and other stakeholders from Ghana, Algeria, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa, Togo, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
The four-day event, seeks to create a platform for knowledge sharing which would lead to informed decision-making in climate sensitive areas such as natural resources, agriculture, food and water security, energy, science and technology and transport.
Professor Harrison Kwame Dapaah, Conference Chair and Vice-Chancellor (VC) of UENR, speaking at the opening ceremony said the conference provided « space for co-creation and dissemination of adaptive measures that have worked, ones that have not, as well as improvements that need to be made at national levels and collectively as a continent ».
He stated climate change remained the largest environmental threat, which could have negative implications for human existence if not addressed.
The UENR VC observed that attention was being paid to ‘Climate Change’ at the global level due in part to a growing understanding of its devastating effects and its intricately woven relationship with ‘Sustainable Development’.
Prof. Dapaah expressed worry that Africa’s natural resources were under pressure because of increasing population growth and gradual intensification of agriculture.
He said Africa had both an extremely low research capacity pool and dearth of expertise on ‘Climate Change’ and described the situation as « unfortunate considering the fact that Africa is extremely vulnerable to the effects of Climate Change ».
Mr. Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, in an address read on his behalf lauded the conference as very significant, saying; the Regional Coordinating Council was proud to be associated with it since « governance and development are all about ensuring sustainable development within climate-friendly environment ».
He said issues of climate change had gained global prominence and the earlier Ghana and Africa sought homegrown approaches towards adaptation and mitigation of the impact of the menace, the better it would be for Ghanaians and Africans.
Dr Mercy A. A. Derkyi, Chair of the local organising committee said the idea to organise the event meant to be an annual programme was geared towards taking proactive steps in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 13- « Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts ».
Dr Derkyi, also a lecturer at the UENR expressed optimism that the conference would help chart a positive course for Africa and the world at large towards sustainable development, mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
It was sponsored by a number of agencies and organisations including Ghana Water Company Limited, Ghana Climate Innovation Centre, Newmont Ghana, Global Environmental Facility Small Grant Programmes – UNDP, Forestry Commission, the Chinese Embassy in Ghana, Zenith Bank and the United States Agency for International Development.
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