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General News of Friday, 10 July 2009

Source: GNA

Global climatic change demands multi - facet remedy

Accra, July 10, GNA - Representatives from more than ten West African countries are meeting in Accra for the first time to review and update the Global Environment Facility (GEF) ahead of the Copenhagen Hagan conference on climate change in December 2009. Besides Ghana, other participating countries which include Nigeria, Gambia, Guinea, Benin, Sierra Leon, Senegal, Cape Verde, Chad, Togo and Mali, would discuss the environmental challenges as well issues that border on climate changes in the West African Sub-Region. The GEF is a global partnership, which includes international institutions, Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) and the private sector established to address global environmental issues while supporting sustainable development initiatives in the areas of biodiversity, climatic change and international waters, land degradation, ozone layer, persistent organic pollutants. Speaking at the opening of the workshop on Thursday, Ms Sherry Ayittey, Ghana's Minister for Environment Science and Technology called for a joint commitment between developed and the developing world, if some remedies were to be arrived at.

She said the extent to which the developing countries' effort would augment the actions being taken by the developed world, would depend on the provision of financial resources and the transfer of environmentally sound technologies and know-how to the appropriate countries. Ms Ayittey said GEF has supported developing countries immensely to accelerate poverty programmes, food security, job creation for affected communities in respect of floods, sea erosions and other disasters. She said the revised scenarios for the System for Transport Allocation of Resources (STAR) in the GEF Resource Allocation Framework-5 (RAF-5) would address the limitations of GEF Resource Allocation Framework-4 (RAF-4) and would take on board the concerns of the countries to enable them address the urgent environmental problems confronting the country.

She said since the establishment of GEF Ghana had benefited from its resources for community, national, regional and global projects. "Between 1992 and 2008 GEF small grants programme, Ghana benefited from 110 projects, which were deemed relevant to GEF and other beneficiaries," she said.

Ms Ayittey added that the projects brought about global environmental issues to the level of local people and contributed to environment awareness and capacity building for government's institutions, NGOs and the local communities. At the national level, she said Ghana had so far obtained support for 19 projects totalling US$56,872,669 of grant funds and co-financing resources of US$ 326,529,323 covering four GEF focal areas. She said Ghana also benefited from 27 regional and global projects involving GEF grant fund of US$185,192,602 and co-financing US$ 1,177,747,033. The minister, however, said GEF must streamline its procedure in relation to governance and the release of fund and noted that the delay in releasing the funds for project management undermined project objectives and the achievement of project targets. Mr William Ehlers, at the GEF Secretariat encouraged participants to brainstorm over the critical issues of climate change which would enable the region made concrete inputs at the Copenhagen conference. The workshop ends on Saturday, July 11, 2009. 10 July 09