Developing Ghana’s Green Economy, The Way Forward – Kwabena Adu Koranteng Writes
For Ghana to effectively fight the impact of climate change, it should be able to develop and sustain a green economy that will sustain and protect the environment and the climate while providing jobs that do not lead to the depletion of the environment and the ozone layer.
The key elements of green economy transition are: value of natural capital; appropriate economic regulations and incentives; appropriate environmental regulations; sustainable production and consumption patterns; fair distribution of income and social standards; and investment in training and environmental education.
The value placed on natural capital suggests that the protection of ecosystems helps in tapping their economic values. This is crucial for especially poor people in developing countries since they heavily depend on natural resources for their livelihoods and are more vulnerable to environmental contamination and degradation.
These elements also imply that a green economy seeks to create incentives for economic activities that ensure environmental sustainability and social inclusion.
As such it suggests that the core objective of the transition is to aid the transition from the current economic development paradigm, to an economy that generates economic profits while safeguarding environmental sustainability and social inclusion. Though green economy emphasizes the environment and economy nexus, the social dimension had been made clear by expanding it to ‘inclusive green economy’ or ‘inclusive green growth.
Ghana for some time now has been implementing its National Climate Change Framework (NCCPF). The aim of Ghana’s National Climate Change Policy Framework is to ensure a climate resilient and climate compatible economy while achieving sustainable development and equi-table low carbon economic growth for Ghana.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines the ‘green economy’ as “the low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive economy”. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development states that: “Green growth means fostering economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies.” The Green Economy Coalition, in turn, considers that the green economy is “an economy that provides better quality of life for all within the ecological limits of the planet”.
In view of the global climate emergency, the green economy appears to be the best alternative to the current dominant economic model and is indispensable to achieving sustainable development, especially in developing economies such as Ghana.
Ghana’s fundamental environmental legislation includes the National Climate Change Policy, the National Environmental Policy, the Environmental Fiscal Reform Policy and the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, among many others. Nevertheless, the country experiences various environmental problems that prevent the achievement of economic development goals, and there is evidence that it is being affected by natural disasters due to global climate change.
For instance, despite having abundant natural resources permitting the attainment of sustainable development, Ghana has suffered from dramatic forest degradation and deforestation, and has one of the highest costs of environmental degradation in the world. In order to combat these terrible consequences and to encourage the green economy transition, the country is being supported by various international programmes and projects, including the UNEP green economy programme, Switch Africa Green, the Green Climate Fund and the Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises programme.
However, to be effective and durable, such efforts must be made by all economic operators, both public and private, national and international. As such, trademark rights are essential legal and communication tools for the country, both to attract foreign investors and to sell their products on international markets.
Why climate change matters
Climate change is a threat to Ghana’s development prospects and to its plans to become a middle income country by 2020. While our own contribution to global climate change has been negligible, the impact of climate change on our economy and on our poorest people is already substantial.
Ghana’s developmental progress over recent decades has been exceptional, and we can be proud of our progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We are on track to achieve MDG1 – on poverty and hunger – before the 2015 deadline. It is not surprising that many see Ghana as a West African ‘success story’ and may be unaware of the very real threat that climate change poses to decades of careful investment in development. Green economy development strategies and the transition from conventional economic development models to green economy has become necessary due to the negative impact of conventional economic development models on the local and global environment. Despite Ghana’s effort to transition to green economy that is made evident by the implementation of a number of green economy related policies and strategies, the country is yet to record any significant achievement in that regard Economy
The role of Green Economy, Sustainable Consumption and Production and Resource Efficiency for Sustainable Development: Sustainable Consumption and Production aims to improve production processes and consumption practices to reduce resource consumption, waste generation and emissions across the full life cycle of processes and products – while Resource Efficiency refers to the ways in which resources are used to deliver value to society and aims to reduce the amount of resources needed, and emissions and waste generated, per unit of product or service. The Green Economy provides a macro-economic approach to sustainable economic growth with a central focus on investments, employment and skills.
The three main areas for the current work on Green Economy are:1) Advocacy of macro-economic approach to sustainable economic growth through regional, sub-regional and national for a.2) Demonstration of Green Economy approaches with a central focus on access to green finance, technology and investments.3) Support to countries in terms of development and mainstreaming of macro-economic policies to support the transition to a Green Economy
Ghana’s interest in and readiness for a green recovery
The general understanding of the Green Economy or ‘green growth’ is the coupled promotion of environmental and social development policies and programmes in an economy.33The concept connotes growth in decent jobs in non-fossil fuel sectors that focus on efficient resource use, reduced emissions and environmental sustainability.
Through the ratification and mainstreaming of international conventions, agreements and policies into national-level policies, laws, programmes and projects, Ghana has signalled a commitment to green development. Ghana is a signatory to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, among others.
The main goal of the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, 2017–2024 – Agenda for Jobs, Ghana’s medium-term development framework for sectoral and sub-national planning, is safeguarding the natural environment and ensuring a resilient built environment. Through instituting interventions in waste management; addressing deforestation, desertification and soil erosion; greening the environment; and addressing climate variability and change, the country’s over-dependency on natural resources for development can be addressed. Interventions in waste recycling and waste to-energy technologies are also promoting efficient resource use in development projects and programmes.
Ghana has developed a National Climate Change Policy to safeguard a climate-resilient and-climate compatible economy while realising sustainable development and equitable low-carbon economic growth for Ghana.35Its Climate Change Policy 2013 focuses on adaptation and mitigation in five policy areas: agriculture and food security; disaster preparedness and response; natural resource management; equitable social development; and energy, industrial and infrastructural development.36These policy areas are being implemented through 10 sub-programmes focused on:
Ghana has 20 climate adaptation and 11 mitigation measures submitted in its Nationally Determined Conditions (NDCs).
These focus on resilience in agriculture, value additionbased use of forest resources, integrated water resources management and infrastructure planning, among others, through seven priority sectors to be implemented over a 10-year period (2020–2030). Areas of adaptation and mitigation are sustainable land use, including food security; climate-proof infrastructure; equitable social development; sustainable mass transportation; sustainable energy security; sustainable fores t management; and alternative urban waste management.
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