Ghana has reiterated that climate change is no doubt one of the global crisis of our time and poses a threat to world peace and security.
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said the socio-economic impact of climate change on the global community was taking devastating toll in the areas of health, agriculture, migration and the general wellbeing of societies, including Ghana, and that concerted action was urgently required.
Madam Botchwey said this in her presentation at the at the Berlin Climate and Security Conference, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
The German Federal Foreign Office, in partnership with Adelphi and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), was hosted at the Berlin Climate and Security Conference on 4th June.
The conference brought together leading figures from Governments, international organisations, the private sector, civil society, and the scientific community to discuss the growing risks that climate change presents to peace and security, and the need for quick and decisive action to prevent and minimize climate-related conflict and instability.
Madam Botchwey said in Ghana, changes in rainfall pattern had led to water scarcity, drought, desertification and food insecurity in some parts of the country.
She noted that these adverse climatic trends had affected the availability of grazing lands and had induced movement of pastoralists to farming communities in search of pasture for their cattle.
“In the process, crops in farming communities are destroyed by the cattle and have resulted in intermittent violent clashes and reprisals between settler farmers and nomadic herdsmen, leading to deaths and internal displacement of people,” she stated.
“Such situations continue to create tension in some parts of Ghana. The effects of extreme weather conditions including floods also wreak untold damage to property and livelihoods and often leads to loss of life.”
She noted that admittedly, climate change had had grave consequences on the existence and livelihood of people across the globe.
She said in Ghana for instance, several families up north had migrated down south as a result of droughts and changes in temperature, which affect their arable farmlands.
She said these migrants were often vulnerable specially the women and children.
She said their presence in the cities increases pressure on existing infrastructure, which leads to the springing up of squatter settlements.
Madam Botchwey said the Government had also rolled out numerous programmes to help mitigating these problems, such as the “Planting for Food and Jobs”, “One-Village-One-Dam”, and “One-District-One-Factory”.
She said all these projects were geared towards boosting industrialisation and rural development as well as building Ghana’s resilience to the impacts of climate change on the citizenry.
She said the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy by the Government also aims at protecting the vulnerable by providing access to alternative means of livelihood through education.
She said regrettably the socio-economic impact of climate change contributes to international tension.
“Geopolitical changes occur due to the socio-economic impact of climate change on countries, mostly on the global South. It poses economic, political, and military tensions due to the stress it puts on natural resources and undermines the capacity of nations to govern themselves, meet the needs of their people and increase the chances of conflicts,” Madam Botchwey said.
The Minister said these tensions discourage investors, who would not want to invest capital in places that are considered high risk areas.
She said investors were in for profit and so under such conditions they would divert to stable regions where they would maximise returns on their investment; stating that, the absence of sustainable investments invariably affects the socio-economic lives of the people.
She pointed out that Africa’s youth bulge and unemployment in the face of climatic related challenges could prove quite a daunting task for the continent.
She said it was in this regard that Ghana was pleased to be part of the Group of Friends on Climate Change and Security and welcomes its priorities, including the raising of public awareness and boosting the involvement of the United Nations in all climate change related issues.