Ghana officially launched the 2015 International Year of Light (IYL) and Light-based Technologies at a ceremony in Accra on Tuesday.
The celebration is under the theme ‘Harnessing Light and Light- based Technologies for Africa’s Development’.
The IYL 2015 is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.
Ghana, in partnership with the Permanent Declarations of Mexico, Russia and New Zealand, initiated the process that led to the UN’s proclamation of the IYL 2015 at the 190th session of the UNESCO Executive Board in Paris on December 20, 2013.
Ghana’s creativity has brought on board global partnerships involving the optical societies, scientific unions, and photonic giant industries around the world to harness the benefits of light.
In a speech to launch the event, Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama said Ghana’s initiative had brought into the limelight the need to explore further the potentials of light to improve livelihoods, build communities and connect people in many ways.
“As indicated in the state of the nation address to parliament, my government has made tremendous effort to put clean energy at the doorsteps of the rural folks as part of our commitment to fully incorporate renewable energy into our energy supply mix. A number of solar and biomass projects are being pursued,” he said.
The UNESCO Representative to Ghana, Tirso Dos Santos, acknowledged the critical role that Ghana played in having this year proclaimed as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies.
“To Ghana, Mexico, Russia, the African Physical Society, the European Physical Society, we say a big thank you and congratulation for your great vision,” he said.
He said UNESCO intended to use the year-long celebrations to raise public awareness on the essential theme, assuring Ghana of UNESCO’s full support in pursuing these objectives.
As part of the celebrations in 2015, Ghana, as a lead country, will host an Africa Regional Conference and Exhibition in Accra in May.
The Conference and Exhibition will serve to promote interaction and dialogue among academics, industries and professionals in using optics and photonics concepts in tapping developmental strategies with a view to enabling policy-makers appreciate the relevance of support for science in national advancement.
The celebration of the IYL 2015 has four expected outcomes.
They will lead to the upgrading of the Laser and Fiber Optics Center at the University of Cape Coast into a full-fledged institute for capacity-building, and the establishment of a sub- regional Laser Medical Application Laboratory (LMAL).
It will lead to the setting up of a Solar Technology Research Center to enhance the study and promotion of solar science and the use of alternative energy as well as the establishment of a Museum of Light and Light-based Technologies as part of solutions to emerging needs in the post-2015 UN development agenda. Enditem