Government committed to efforts to battle climate change – President

Accra, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday pledged government’s commitment to back efforts at stemming forest degradation and deforestation, a critical factor in the fight against global climate change.

He said all efforts to arrest climate change was a priority of his government, because the phenomenon was the most compelling threat to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and was fast becoming a developmental issue of grave concern to most leaders across the world.

Our fight against the illegal mining phenomenon, also known as galamsey, is a case in point. In the 2016 Manifesto of my party, the New Patriotic Party, we indicated strongly our commitment to reforestation, forest rehabilitation and forest protection activities, realising that forest cover has been depleted significantly in the last two decades, President Akufo-Addo said.

We intend to undertake massive forest plantations, with both indigenous and exotic tree species, and also develop the bamboo and rattan industry, as they would serve as effective substitutes for furniture and other wood products.

President Akufo-Addo gave the assurance at the second National REDD+ Forum, on the theme: Strengthening Law Enforcement for Effective REDD+ Implementation.

REDD+ programme is a United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries, launched in 2008 to support nationally led processes to conserve and manage forest sustainably to reduce green house emissions and carbon footprint.

This is because the impact of climate change has lead to rising sea levels, severe and extreme weather conditions like droughts, floods and erratic rainfall patterns.

President Akufo-Addo said though the discourse on Climate Change had different dimensions, the most important aspect of it was that majority of nations across the world had committed to tackling it by reducing the current global temperature to a two degrees Celsius minimum, well below pre-industrial levels, and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

He said all countries had recognised the need to achieve this target in accordance with the 2015 Paris Agreement, and have submitted their Nationally Determined Contributions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) towards achieving this goal of global temperature decline.

Ghana, as a signatory to the UNFCCC, had prepared her own Nationally Determined Contributions, he said, adding that; Their successful implementation requires the concerted efforts of each and every one of us…

He called on Ghanaians to rise up to the occasion of reducing carbon foot prints as what we make of our natural resources would be what determines our existence.

The President, therefore, urged farmers and local communities not to allow illegal logging and mining to continue, and charged security agencies on the roads, ports and borders not look on unconcerned and allow illegal timber products just to pass without confiscation or with corrupt purpose.

Most importantly, the Forestry Commission should strengthen its law enforcement measures to curb illegal logging, mining and unsustainable harvesting of forest products. To our students gathered here, I urge you to inculcate the habit of tree planting and conservation. As you do this, you begin to build a generation that is more sensitive to issues of environmental conservation, he added.

To media houses and other civil society actors, the President said: Your work on advocacy is critical to keep all of us on our toes. Do not relent in your efforts, and deepen even further your knowledge on environmental issues and their reporting.

President Akufo-Addo also urged the Chief Justice and members of the Judiciary to ensure that the fines and punishments that are pronounced on perpetrators of illegal forest activities are deterrent enough, and quickly delivered and effected.

Source: Ghana News Agency