A consultative workshop for stakeholders in policy development and practice to discuss policy challenges in the area of clean technology innovations and governance mechanisms that can help improve the clean technology sector in Ghana took place in Accra, yesterday.
The workshop, held on the theme: "Creating an Enabling Environment for Scaling up Climate and Clean Technologies in Ghana", was organized by the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA), in collaboration with the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC).
About 40 Ghanaian experts, including policy makers with responsibility for the implementation of national development strategies, officials from key ministries, researchers and representatives from the private sector, non-governmental organizations and civil society groups attended the workshop which was expected to help inform policies for scaling up climate and clean technologies in Ghana.
The overall objective of the workshop was to provoke debate among the experts and stakeholders in policy development and practice on what can be done to address policy barriers and gaps in the climate and clean technology sector in Ghana.
Delivering the key note address at the opening of the workshop, Mr Fredua Agyemang, Director of Environment, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, noted that with anticipated increases in temperature, extreme weather events and unpredictable rainfall in Ghana over the next century, climate change was expected to pose a growing threat to socio-economic development and progress.
Mr Agyeman said Ghana faced unique challenges such as increased frequency of storms, flooding, erosion, rising pressure on agriculture and agricultural ecosystems, deforestation and environmental degradation, depletion and waste of resources and health problems due to pollution, as these effects become more severe.
He said aware of these challenges, and in an effort to address them, the Government of Ghana was engaging in national and regional efforts to promote adaptation--one of which efforts was the GCIC project which sought to provide financing, mentoring, training and business advisory services to support emerging entrepreneurs and new ventures involved in developing locally-appropriate solutions to climate change mitigation and adaption.
He said government recognized the need for climate action and sustainable development to follow a country-driven, gender-responsive and a participatory and fully-transparent approach.
Mr Agyeman noted that it was becoming increasingly accepted for government to require the direct involvement of the private sector and other partners for meaningful results in the clean technology sector.
In her remarks, Ms Charlotte Ntim, a representative of the World Bank, noted that removing the barriers to innovation in the climate sector was essential for Ghana in achieving "green growth", leading to economic development and job creation in an environmentally-sustainable manner.
Ms Ntim said the objective of the GCIC project was to establish local institutional capacity to support Ghanaian entrepreneurs and new ventures involved in developing profitable and locally-appropriate solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
She said through its programs, activities and financing, GCIC and its network of partners and stakeholders would provide a country-driven approach to solving climate, energy and resource challenges and support economic development through job creation.
The program, she said, would provide targeted support, mentoring, training and funding facilitation to up to 100 companies in Ghana over 5 years.
Welcoming participants to the workshop, Dr Elias Ayuk, Director, UNU-INRA, disclosed that UNU-INRA had the responsibility of implementing the policy and regulatory component of GCIC, adding that the policy and regulatory component of the project aimed to address the policy and regulatory challenges of clean technology in Ghana.
Dr Ayuk underscored the importance of the workshop as a platform for dialogue that would help identify essential information and pressing priorities for the development of policy in the clean technology sector.
Clean technology refers to any process, product, or service that reduces negative environmental impacts through significant energy efficiency improvements, the sustainable use of resources or environmental protection activities.
Clean technology includes a broad range of technology related to recycling, renewable energy (wind power, solar power, biomass, hydropower and biofuels, among others.
Although in Ghana, the interest for innovation is growing and the country has seen the deployment of clean energy mini-grids as a way of improving the power sector and to expand electricity access, the rate of growth falls short of that which can enable the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 7 and 8 on access to modern energy and decent work and economic growth, respectively.
Added to the inadequate growth rate is the lack of a clear policy and regulatory instruments, limited government support, inadequate budgetary allocation for the implementation of policies, inadequate regulatory enforcement and poor co-ordination among Ministries, Departments and Agencies--all of which serve as barriers for the large-scale deployment of clean technology solutions.
The USD 17.2m GCIC project, a global partnership of the World Bank and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), is, therefore, an intervention to remove the barriers and pave the way for innovation in clean technology development in the climate sector.
The project is being implemented by a consortium of four-- Ashesi University College (Ghana), the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV), Ernst & Young and the United Nations University (UNU) Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA).
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)