The delegation in Westminister Parliament

SEAN DOOLAN, Climate Change Adviser at DFID Ghana and a resource person to the National Climate Change Committee, says Ghana must factor in the effects of climate change in its infrastructural development plans in order not to fall prey to it

“It is important to learn lessons from the experience of flooding and access to services in Accra to help plan settlements emerging with the development of oil and gas,” Dr Doolan said after a delegation of nine MPs and two select committee clerks, returned from an exchange programme in the UK.

They were there to discuss climate change and development issues with Westminster colleagues and experts in London.

Climate change has been a major theme in discussions recently between commissioners of the National Development Planning Commission and national and international experts.

The exchange programme was arranged by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA UK) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), with the Parliament of Ghana and support from DFID Ghana.  It responds to a request by Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Sherry Ayittey, to support Parliament’s engagement on climate change.

The parliamentarians further explained how climate patterns affected profitable agriculture and food security in Ghana – in terms of water resources, erratic rainfall patterns, soil degradation and drought periods.  They were keen to learn from the UK how to convey the importance of climate change to ordinary Ghanaians. 

It is anticipated that the Westminster programme will be followed by further discussion in Ghana, to share experiences with colleagues and other stakeholders.

Richard Acheampong, Principal Assistant Clerk for Parliamentary Relations, said that “the visit to the UK House of Commons by senior Members of Ghana’s Parliament, across the major parties, sends a signal on how Ghana is dealing with climate change.”

“Ghana is growing rapidly,” said Dr Camilla Toulmin, Director of IIED.  “In a world affected by climate change, it is encouraging to see Government and opposition parties in Ghana consider long-term directions that meet poor people’s needs and empower them.”

Ghana is undertaking a number of initiatives on climate change, as well as efforts to tackle illegal logging, timber trade, deforestation and forest degradation.  DFID Ghana will spend an average of £94 million per year on its overall portfolio in Ghana until 2015.

By Samuel Boadi

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