Regional News of Monday, 2 July 2012

Source: GNA

Climate Change Conference opens in Accra

A three-day International Climate Change and Population Conference on Africa was on Monday opened in Accra.

Themed, "At The Crossroads:Climate Change, Population and Africa's Development," the conference would feature speakers from around the world under plenary, parallel sessions, round-tables, expert dialogues among others.

The conference seeks to come up with recommendations on how best to deal with the negative impacts of both climate change and rapid population growth on sustainable development.

Naa Prof. John Nabila, President of the National House of Chiefs who was the Chairman for the occasion, said the effects of climate change on the human population was now real "since the challenges facing mankind from this situation are common occurrences at global, continental and national levels.

He observed that the negative impacts, such as droughts and flooding in both rural and urban areas as well as impacts on fisheries, forestry and tourism, were all challenges confronting development efforts, particularly in Africa.

Prof. Nabila urged policy makers and all other stake-holders to re-double their efforts to minimize the negative impacts of climate change.

"There is the need to continue with the sensitization efforts on the various factors of climate change and the consequences for development at all levels," he said.

Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana formally opened the conference and said the demand for natural resources in Africa increased with the continent's human population, which threatened the environment.

He said one third of Africans lived in flood prone areas, adding that over 200,000,000 Africans were exposed to drought yearly.

"Africa could account for most of the negative effects of climate change such as drought and hunger in the next few years if nothing is done about the present situation," said Prof. Aryeetey.

He said there was the need to be responsible with the use of the continent's natural resources, in order to protect the environment.

The conference ends on July 4hth, 2012.

The conference is being organized by the Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, under its African Adaptation Research Center for Excellence Initiative.**