Government's policy direction is to integrate climate action into Ghana's national development agenda, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.
President Akufo-Addo said the Paris Agreement and SDG 13, which demands urgent action to combat climate-related hazards and its impact, provides the framework for Ghana to integrate climate change measures into its national policies, strategies and planning (the Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (2017- 2022).
Speaking at the R20 Austrian World Summit on Climate Change, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, the President said all local governments at the local level in the country had been directed to institute policies that would address climate change in their medium-term development plans.
For that reason, when President Akufo-Addo assumed office in January 2017, the government took a controversial decision to clamp down on the reprehensible activity of illegal mining that had destroyed the nations' forests and water bodies.
He said a ban had also been imposed on the harvesting of rosewood timber as one of the measures to protect country's forest and endangered species. The "Youth in Afforestation" Programme, he indicated, had engaged over 20,000 youth to plant 10 million trees across the country, as a way of increasing carbon sinks in the country.
To realise Ghana's international obligations under SDG 7, on access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy, as well as SDG 13, President Akufo-Addo reiterated Ghana's commitment to promoting the deployment of renewable energy, in line with government's policy target of 10% renewables in the energy mix from the current 1%.
To this end, in the course of this year, Jubilee House, the seat of the nation's presidency, will be powered by solar energy, as an example to other public institutions. The target is to install 200 megawatts of distributed solar power by 2030 in both residential and non-residential facilities and in state agencies.
President Akufo-Addo added that he has engaged a select group of CEOs from the private sector to push forward Ghana's "Green Agenda", in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. The response, the President stressed, has been very positive, with commitments to create a Green Fund, to be financed largely by the private sector, in place.
This Fund, he added, would be used to drive the nation's Agenda of ensuring access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all in the country. President Akufo-Addo stressed that "what we do in Ghana affects the people of Nepal, or Mozambique or Austria. That is why we need concerted Global action to tackle this menace. Success in addressing climate change will be one of the greatest legacies that our generation can give to the next."
President Akufo-Addo, on the sidelines of the Summit, held bilateral discussions with the President of Hungary, His Excellency János Áder.
The Hungarian President expressed his appreciation to his Ghanaian counterpart for an invitation to pay an official visit to Ghana in January 2020 and reaffirmed his commitment to deepening the relations between Ghana and Hungary.
President János Áder urged strong collaboration between Ghana and Hungary in the areas of agriculture, water, forestry and energy, citing the considerable experience of Hungary in these sectors.
On his part, President Akufo-Addo thanked the Hungarian leader for re-opening the Embassy of Hungary in Accra, which, he explained, presents an opportunity to scale up the relations between the two countries.
He looked forward to the visit to Ghana by President János Áder, adding that considerable opportunities existed in Ghana for Hungarian businesses to take advantage of.
President Akufo-Addo also met with Kristalina Ivanova Georgieva-Kinova, a Bulgarian economic analyst, currently serving as Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank.
Describing Ghana as "a success story", the World Bank CEO noted that, with $1.6 billion worth of investments in Ghana, the World Bank would continue to work with Ghana and help develop the country's capabilities in the areas of energy, human capital development, and the economy.
President Akufo-Addo, on his part, reiterated the government's determination to maintain fiscal discipline, manage the economy in a sustainable manner and ultimately, realise the vision of moving Ghana to a situation beyond aid.