22 October 2009 – The Copenhagen talks on climate change in seven weeks time will hear from the government of Ghana who will be representing African concerns. The move is to signal the seriousness of climate change issues as they affect Africa and other vulnerable countries in the third world.

Interested parties met in Accra yesterday at the ‘Voice and Vision on Climate’ the third of the advocacy initiatives undertaken  by  SEND-Ghana, a Non Governmental Organization (NGO), in collaboration with Christian Aid and the World Wide Fund (WWF).

"Government will also push for clean and renewable energy projects, and payments for carbon-storing ecosystems", Mr. Rudolph Kuuzegh, the Director of Sustainable Development at the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST), noted.

According to him,  substantial financial mechanism are needed to benefit poor and vulnerable countries, to enable them respond to climate change in the areas of water resources, agriculture, health, infrastructure, biodiversity and ecosystems, forest, urban management, tourism, food and energy security and management of coastal and marine resources.

Meanwhile, studies undertaken by the country’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that "climate change appears abstract, perhaps not an immediate concern of the politician, who has a short time to show physical results." For this reason, government is set to provide leadership on climate change.

As a first move to whip up political interest on the issues, Vice President John Dramani Mahama is set to chair a new Environment and Natural Resources Council (ENRC), which will consider climate change a priority.

That notwithstanding, the sector Ministry has mandated a multi-sectoral National Climate Change Committee to advise government on appropriate actions at the national and international levels. In connection with the Copenhagen Climate Change talks, Mr. Kuuzegh says government and the Ministry is committed to engage with civil society in the run-up to the talks and beyond.

This is to ensure that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have the space to complement the implementation of the outcome and national response measures to improve social accountability in the country.

The Corporate Policy and Strategy Manager at the Department for International Development (DFID), Helen Sharkey said there has been a trend of increasing temperature, by about 0.2°C per decade in Ghana whilst in contrast rainfall has been decreasing by about 5% per decade in the country.

Whilst frequency of extreme flood events is increasing, she noted that drought is already a problem in some parts of the country with the coastal zones and marine ecosystems being affected by storm surges and sea level rise.