Climate adaptation strategies must be mainstreamed into development plans

Jesse Coffie Danku
Jesse Coffie Danku

Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) have been urged to mainstream climate adaptation strategies into their medium-term development plans to help mitigate climate change effects and water crisis.

WaterAid Ghana, a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) focused organisation, noted that challenges of climate change posed significant stress to livelihoods of rural communities, especially access to safely managed drinking water.

It said it was imperative for the various assemblies to incorporate into their development strategies, key climate responsive measures including the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) to help mitigate the challenges and assist communities to adapt to emerging ones.

Mr Jesse Coffie Danku, the Head of Programmes, WaterAid Ghana, made this known to the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a capacity building workshop in Bolgatanga, organised on NAPs and NDCs for MMDAs in the Upper East Region.

It was organised by WaterAid Ghana, in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and facilitate assemblies’s incorporation of the measures in their development plans.

Mr Danku observed that government’s strategies on climate change, including the NAPs and NDCs, usually remained at the national level with its implementation having insignificant impact on the targeted communities.

He said most of the time the regions and districts were not aware of the existence of such policies and, therefore, unable to support their implementation.

This results in the deepening of the climate crisis, especially the communities’ access to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities.

He said WaterAid Ghana was committed to influencing policy direction of government and its agencies to prioritise safe water for all communities and fight climate change.

“Due to climate change, safe water is at risk and if people will have to travel long journeys to access water, it affects their livelihoods,” Mr Danku said.

“Women and girls are the ones who suffer more to bring water for household chores and others, so, we are saying that government should lay emphasis on WASH issues in all adaptation plans and the implementers of these strategies at the district levels…”

Dr Antwi-Boasiako Amoah, the Director, Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation, EPA, said challenges of climate change were worsening with high temperatures, drought and inconsistent rainfall patterns being witnessed across the country, affecting agriculture and livelihoods of rural farmers.

“We are emitting more greenhouse gases, and this is causing global warming and the effect is the changes in weather patterns we are witnessing”.

He said increased population, industrialisation, urbanisation and major development drives, which used fossil fuel, were major causes of climate change and advocated a paradigm shift to innovatively reduce emissions to help fight climate change.

He said the assemblies must provide leadership in the restoration of vegetation cover and forest reserves and regulate activities that caused harm to the environment.

Mr Asher Nkegbe, the Upper East Regional Director of the EPA, commended WaterAid Ghana and its partners for the initiative, and said it was an important intervention to tackle climate change and desertification.

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