Ghana and Switzerland signed a bilateral Agreement as a framework for the implementation of Article Six (6) of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on Monday, 23rd November, 2020.
After two years of negotiations between the two countries, the signing of the framework Agreement marks the first of its kind in Africa, and second in the World.
It is expected to allow Swiss and Ghanaian companies to invest in green businesses and mutually share sustainable development and emission reduction outcomes.
With this Agreement, Ghana will receive finance from the Swiss side for sustainable development projects while Switzerland takes carbon credits from the Ghanaian side for the emissions cuts to meet her climate commitments without compromising Ghana's effort to achieve her own climate actions.
The negotiations between technical teams of Ghana and Switzerland was further boosted by a Memorandum of Understanding signed in Bern between Ghana and Switzerland during the State Visit to Switzerland by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in February, 2020.
Article six (6) of the Paris Agreement on carbon markets is an innovative voluntary instrument available to countries to mobilise finance and catalyse private sector investments for the implementation of nationally determined contributions.
The signing of the cooperation Agreement does not only demonstrate the existing good relations between the two countries, but it also highlights the firm resolve of Ghana and Switzerland to take early action to mitigate climate change and contribute to the realisation of the desired global goal of 2 degrees temperature reduction as indicated by the Paris Agreement.
In Ghana, the National Clean Energy Access Programme (NCEP), which will be implemented under the Agreement, is expected to lead to the transfer of mitigation outcomes known as Internal Transfer of Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs) to Switzerland in exchange for financial resources and the extension of Swiss technical knowhow as a demonstration of the scalability of Ghana's conditional mitigation commitments.
Within the cooperation between Ghana and Switzerland, the focus would be to increase renewable energy usage through the use of energy efficient cook stoves in homes and enhance waste management, among others.
In formulating this Agreement, not only have Ghana and Switzerland identified practical ways of operationalising the envisaged architecture of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, but they have most importantly established a flexible framework to systematically generate, transfer and recognise international mitigation outcomes by both countries.
In doing so, provision has been made for realising environmental integrity in the following areas:
● avoiding double-counting so that Ghana and Switzerland cannot both claim credit for the same emission reductions;
● ensuring that the green businesses under this Agreement do not harm the environment, but support sustainable development and respect human rights; and
● establishing a grievance mechanism to allow stakeholders to resolve complaints that may arise during implementation of the green businesses.
In Ghana the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) the host of the implementation process would roll out the process through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Closely associated to the realisation of the Agreement has been the support extended by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to the process as well as the important roles to be played by the Private Enterprise Foundation of Ghana and the Association of Ghanaian Banks in providing the enabling knowledge and financial resources respectively to the private sector, the ultimate uptakers.