Dr Eugene Owusu, Presidential Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has lauded the Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin for his efforts to combat climate change.
He said the Okyenhene had a great vision about environmental sustainability, which deals with the essential threats of climate change to the world.
He said the Okyenhene’s vision had some pillars, one of which revolves around tree planting, and is consistent with the government’s Green Ghana Agenda.
He said under the Okyeman Environmental Foundation, the project would support local initiatives to plant three million trees over the next three years to restore degraded landscapes and create awareness on best agroforestry practices within the Okyeman Traditional Area.
Dr Owusu said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a visit by a delegation of the United Nations Team in Ghana.
The delegation, led by Mr Charles Abani, the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, paid a courtesy call on the Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin at the Ofori Panin Palace in Kyebi in the Eastern Region.
The visit was to enable the UN Team to share updates and progress on the Project with the Okyenhene and the leadership of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area.
Dr Owusu reiterated Ghana’s commitment to mitigating the impact of climate change while ensuring the sustainable use of resources.
“Climate change is truly an existential threat and all of us really need to join hands and deal with this menace because we need to secure the future for not just for the future generation but we actually need to secure the future for today’s generation,” he said.
He said within the Okyeman Environmental Foundation, there was also a major component around community empowerment so that communities could take responsibility for their resources.
“Part of the project is also around alternatively livelihoods, particularly, where the environment has been dominated by illegal mining; and the point being that, as we deal with the menace of illegal mining, it is also important that we provide alternative livelihoods for those who have been working certainly in that domain,” he said.
“My Office, the SDGs Advisory Unit in the Office of the President, has been working with the Okyeman Environment Foundation and also the UN Country Team to develop a holistic programme to address some of these challenges.”
With regard to the UN SDGs, Dr Owusu said the 17 SDGs were now a global compact to transform the world and that there were five pillars within that compact.
He said Ghana, as a signatory to the SDGs, had demonstrated very strong commitment to their implementation.
He said Ghana had set up a very solid architecture to support the SDGs implementation, adding that there were a lot of practical things happening on the ground and at the policy level to support the implementation.
At the event, Mr Charles Abani, the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, announced a 2.3-million-dollar grant in support of the Fostering Reforestation, Environmental Sustainability and Tourism in the Okyeman Area (FOREST Okyeman).
The grant is to support biodiversity conservation in five of the 14 districts of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area in the Eastern Region.
The amount is made up of one million dollars from the UN Human Security Trust Fund to implement development initiatives together with the Okyeman Environment Foundation and other stakeholders.
This will be supported with co-funding of another $1.3 million from the participating UN Agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Programme (UNV) together with OEF, to address multiple development issues and provide an impetus to sustain the process.