Ghana’s Pathway to a Green Economy
Protecting the environment is a clear policy objective of the Government of Ghana; and as such it has featured in several development plans of the country, including the recent Medium-Term National Development Policy Framework, Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda: 2010-2013.
See Ghana's Country Study Summary
The main target of this policy framework is to put
the economy on the path to achieving a per capita income of least US $
3000 by 2020 and attaining the Millennium Development Goals.
The document emphasises the importance of sound
management of natural resources and the environment for attaining these
goals. The policy document also acknowledges that the current
development strategies put stress on the environment and that the poor
environmental management reduces the Gross Domestic Product by about
10%. The document, therefore, aims to ensure “sustainability in the use
of natural resources”.
Given the recent discovery of oil, the framework
stipulates that “A key policy objective is to ensure that the practices
of the oil and gas industry are consistent with international standards
of environmental sustainability. Natural gas utilisation will become a
central part of every oil production project.”
For more information on the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda 2010-2013: click here.
Ghana hosts a number of important national parks,
such as Kakum and Mole. The Kakum National Park attracts thousands of
visitors every year. The park's main attraction is its canopy walkway
and the forest's diverse array of unique flora and fauna including
monkeys, bongos, and forest elephants. Kakum is the last isolated
fragment of the Guinea Tropical Rainforest. In total, about 15% of
Ghana's land area is under some form of protection.
The government has signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union. This agreement uses market mechanisms and legislation to reform forest governance in Ghana. In 2001, the government launched the National Forest Plantation Development Programme. The general objectives are to recover degraded forest areas and to improve employment opportunities and environmental quality, while increasing timber supply to the national market. Recently, the government also instituted Environmental and Natural Resources Advisory Council (ENRAC). The ENRAC is a high-level body that would advise the parliament on environmental and natural resource issues.
The Government of Ghana has also demonstrated future commitment to promoting environmental issues in policy design. It has, for instance, announced that it will introduce new taxes and levies to establish the right prices for natural and environmental capital, thus generating more government revenue while providing the right incentives for reducing environmental degradation. A National Climate Change Policy Framework (NCCPF) is also being developed to ensure a climate-resilient and climate-compatible economy while achieving sustainable development and equitable low-carbon economic growth for Ghana.
More information on environmental issues in Ghana can be followed at:
http://mest.gov.gh/ and http://rainforests.mongabay.com/20ghana.htm
Green Economy Success Story
Removal of fossil fuel subsidy
One of the key recommendations of the Green Economy Report, published by UNEP (2011), is the removal of fossil fuel subsidies. The Green Economy Reports cites the removal of fossil fuel subsidy in Ghana. In 2005, the Government of Ghana realised, on basis of the results of a Poverty and Social Impact Analysis, that fossil fuel subsidies in the country were hardly benefiting the poor. After a public discussion on fuel subsidy reforms, the government decided to support the removal of these fuel subsidies. This has enabled it to 1) eliminate fees for attending primary and junior secondary schools; 2) allocate extra funds for primary health care in the poorest areas; 3) expand the provision of mass urban transport; and 4) increase funds to a rural electrification scheme. These policies redirect government subsidies to where they are most needed.
Partnership with UNEP on Green Economy
As part of a regional initiative on green economy in Africa, UNEP is partnering with Ghana on the implementation of a project on Green Economy and Social and Environmental Entrepreneurship Development, with support from the European Union. Through this initiative, UNEP seeks to provide support to the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology and a national research institute in Ghana to undertake macro-economic assessments. These will identify areas for green investment to support economic growth and development, decent job creation and environmental improvement.
Through this support, the Government will:
Identify and invest in key sectors for transition towards a green economy;
Develop a coherent national framework to guide the transition to a green economy;
Create awareness on a green economy.
Other UNEP related initiatives
- National Biosafety Framework for Ghana (2002 – 2004)
UNEP collaborated with the Government of Ghana on the National Biosafety Framework for Ghana. A National Biosafety Framework is a combination of policy, legal, administrative and technical instruments to ensure an adequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology, in order to avoid adverse effects on biological diversity and human health. The National Biosafety Framework for Ghana aims to assist in the implementation and domestication of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to meet the obligations from the treaty, environmental laws and policies and the national constitution.
For more information on the National Biosafety Framework of Ghana click here.
- National Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production for Ghana (2011 – 2016)
UNEP is partnering with the Government on the National Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) for Ghana (2011-2016). The SCP is a practical implementation strategy to achieve sustainable development, which involves economy, society and environment, and aims to foster technological and social innovation. However, the existing laws are inadequate to provide a comprehensive and integrated policy on SCP. There is no specific legislative instrument on SCP issues. There is a need for the harmonisation of responsibilities and the strengthening of capacities in the relevant sectors.
For more information on this programme click here.
The Climate Change Adaptation and Development Initiative is a joint UNEP-UNDP Programme funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana. This initiative is developing the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS) for Ghana. The NCCAS is a comprehensive document that provides clearly defined mechanisms for enhancing Ghana’s capacity, in terms of the infrastructure and knowledge required, to deal with the impact of climate change and to reduce vulnerability in key sectors, ecosystems, districts and regions of the country. This will serve as a guide to the Government of Ghana in its commitment under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), according to which national governments are expected to take climate change issues into consideration in development planning.
More information on this programme can be assessed from the website of Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana click here.
What Ghanaian Leaders have said about the Green Economy
President John Evans Atta Mills:
(...)“As a responsible Party to the UNFCCC, we continue work to ensure that our development is green. Ghana will pursue a low carbon development growth path even though our emissions currently are very insignificant.”(...)
Statement Delivered By H.E John Evans Atta-Mills, President Of The Republic Of Ghana, At The High Level Segment Of United Nations Conference On Climate Change Held In Copenhagen, Denmark, On 17th December 2009. The full speech can be assessed from click here.