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Regional News of Friday, 15 February 2013

Source: Abdul Karim Naatogmah

7th UDS Harmattan School opens in Tamale

The Centre for Continuing Education and Interdisciplinary Research (CCEIR) of the University for Development Studies (UDS) has opened the seventh Harmattan School, a platform which seeks to deliberate on developmental issues affecting northern Ghana and suggests solutions to them.

The three-day event themed: Accelerating Socio-Economic Development in Northern Ghana through Culture and Climatic Change Adaptation is being attended by think tanks from northern Ghana, civil society organisations, government officials, non-governmental organisations, academia and other interest groups.

Opening the school, Outgoing Northern Regional Minister, Mr Moses Bukari Mabengba, commended the UDS for their persistent determination to improve the lots of people in its catchment areas by analysing and promoting positive cultural practices that can encourage environmental sustainability and encouraged chiefs, opinion leaders and residents to be part of the process of transformation.

Mr Mabengba noted that improving cultural practices and enhancing economic capacities of people in the area to cope with climate change variability was a logical step and lamented that the areas deficiency of being confronted by the shadows of outmoded cultural practices that have compounded the under developmental bondage.

He blamed the activities of Fulani herdsmen and other non Ghanaians and said it not only contributed negatively to climatic change but has resulted in reduction in peoples access to natural resources leading to violent confrontations with residents.

The outgoing Minister revealed that sub-Saharan Africa makes up almost 13 percent of the world’s population and constitutes 28 percent of the world’s poverty basket; a record he said was not envy to any country and therefore tasked the school to come up with practical solutions to address the situation.

“In recognition of this, government through the Ghana National Climate Change Adaption Strategy (NCCAS) is promoting societal awareness and preparedness for climatic change as well as mainstreaming climate change into national development planning” he disclosed.

He explained further that the implementation of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) project by government is targeted at tackling the negative effects of climatic change by providing opportunities in agriculture to reduce incidence of youth unemployment, adoption of local strategies and materials as useful cultural adaptive scheme and the Presidents call to move from tree planting to tree growing as a way of cultural re-orientation.

In a speech read on his behalf by Professor Sam Oppong, the Vice Chancellor said the UDS created the platform for policy makers, researchers and civil society organisations to congregate and brainstorm on developmental issues confronting Northern Ghana and not a platform for academic peer review.

He noted that the establishment of the Endogenous Development Studies Programmes is an indication of the University’s resolve to provide the academic leadership and commitment to the promotion of culture.

He tasked the school to give recognition to gender in analysing culture and climatic change adaptation since the success of such strategies would to a large extent depend on the empowerment and participation of all in the decision making process.

The Chairman of the occasion, Professor David Millah appealed to government to ensure the full implementation of the suggestions and recommendations of school to help address the development gap between the North and South.

Some of the issues to be discussed include “The State of Socio-Economic development in Northern Ghana”, “Accelerating Socio-Economic Development in Northern Ghana through climatic Change Adaptation”, “The State of Socio-Economic Development of Education in Northern Ghana: Assessing the Gender Parity Indexes in Basic Education mathematics in the Upper East Region”.

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