Hajia Alima Mahama, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, has been appointment as a member of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Leadership Council.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was appointed by the UN Secretary General as one of the co-chairs of the Eminent Persons on the Advocacy Group on Sustainable Development Goals.
This placed Ghana in a special position to provide leadership on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including leadership for the Clean Cooking Agenda, which is clearly reflected in 10 out of the 17 SDGs.
At a ceremony to announce her appointment, Hajia Mahama reiterated the need to adopt and have access to affordable, clean sources of energy for everyday life as a sure way to improving public health and safety.
It would also help mitigate climate change and potentially attract investment and job creation.
Hajia Mahama said the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), (Agenda 2030) was inter-linked with the objectives of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and provided a unique opportunity for fast-tracking development growth, improved service delivery and industrialisation.
She said there was a growing enthusiasm and vibrancy in the clean cooking sector of Ghana, which was largely driven by active civil society organisations, private entrepreneurs and government policy.
Hajia Mahama said the Government was collaborating with stakeholders to sensitise the public and carry out further research on the project.
She said the World Health Organisation estimated that about three billion people in the developing world were exposed to smoke from traditional cookstoves and open fires, which caused nearly four million premature deaths each year, including 17,000 deaths in Ghana.
The Minister said women and young children were the most vulnerable and most affected, with more than 2,200 children in Ghana dying every year because of acute lower respiratory infections caused by smoke from open fires.
That, she said, was the reason the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves was advocating the use of clean, safe, and efficient cookstoves and clean fuels to drastically reduce fuel consumption and exposure to harmful smoke.
Hajia Mahama said cookstoves contributed positively to good health, unpolluted environment, prolonged livelihoods and better chances for achieving the SDGs.
She expressed her determination to support and promote the use of cookstoves and fuels as the preferred energy in the fuel sector, and ensure that local authorities created the enabling environment to promoting investment in cookstoves.
This, she said, could be linked to the One District One Factory programme and support metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to construct kitchens fitted with clean cookstoves for the School Feeding Programme.
“I would also encourage Inter-sectorial and agency collaboration and partnership to create a sustainable and thriving market for clean cooking fuels and technology, broaden the scope of technology transfer through the manufacturing of fuel (wood, sawdust and agricultural waste) into briquettes and pellets to meet standards for the export market and enhance the collaboration of government, civil society and entrepreneurs in this sector.”
Hajia Mahama said the Government was embarking on processes leading to a transformation of the economy through industrialisation including the promotion of the One District One Factory Policy.
It was government’s keen expectation that districts endowed with resources for cookstoves and clean fuels could woo investors into the sector, she said.
She said an effective mechanism for the implementation of this laudable project would be to incorporate it into district centres for commerce, agriculture, and technology that would coordinate and facilitate investment opportunities in the manufacturing of cookstoves and fuels.
Mr Kwesi Sarpong, the Global Alliance Clean CookStoves Regional Representative, said the exposure to smoke by the use of traditional cookstoves, the primary means of cooking for nearly three billion people in the developing world, was high.
He said more than 75 per cent of Ghana’s population relied on solid fuels for their household cooking needs and that the reliance on biomass increased pressure on local natural resources, leading to environmental degradation.