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21.06.2008 General News

Citizenry need more education on climate change-Speaker

By GNA
Accra, June 21, GNA - The Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi-Hughes, on Saturday called for continuous education on climate change in order to protect the environment from degradation.
"Climate change is arguably the greatest danger facing humanity in the years ahead. Here in Ghana, the year 2007 saw severe drought with cracking lands followed by massive flooding and destruction of agricultural products and other properties in an unprecedented scale. We cannot therefore afford to sit down unconcerned and it is time we got the citizenry educated about it"
Mr. Sekyi-Hughes was speaking at the opening of a collaborative workshop on climate change for Members of Parliament organised by the Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Mr. Sekyi-Hughes said the current global food crisis, which necessitated the announcement of some mitigation measures by government, is another consequence of climate change.
"Most direct effects of current climate change are on temperature and precipitation patterns causing global warming. Unfortunately the impacts are overwhelmingly negative especially on developing nations, which are least responsible for causing the problem, and have the scariest of resources to adapt to the rapid changes.”
He said the combined efforts of governments, businesses, scientists and individuals would be needed to prevent tragedies caused by climate change.
"Combating the challenges of climate change should be concerted. It should not be viewed as the sole responsibility of the sector ministry and its agencies. Parliament, district assemblies, non-governmental organisations, state institutions and individuals all have responsibility."
He called for the extension of the awareness campaign on climate change to educational institutions and urged politicians to make climate change part of their campaigns for the impending elections.
Mr. Sekyi-Hughes urged state and non-state actors dealing with the environment to come out with pragmatic proposals for dealing with the challenges of the environment.
He said Parliament would facilitate legislation that would help address the challenges of climate change.
Mr. Dauda Toure, Resident Co-ordinator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), called for a linkage between climate change response measures and the livelihood of the poor.
"Climate change should be viewed as additional vulnerability and must not be overlooked when addressing issues of poverty reduction and sustaining growth. It is important therefore to assess climate vulnerability at the geographically appropriate level and prioritise it in the context of other challenges to development," he said.
Mr. Kwadwo Adjei Darko, Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, said climate change was a major obstacle to government efforts to implement National Development strategies successfully.
Mr. Abraham Osei Aidoo, Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, appealed to Members of Parliament to educate the people at the grassroots on the effects of climate change.
Mr. Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader, said there was a need to review existing legislations on climate change to make them fall in line with that of the World Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU)
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