Participants in a climate change dialogue have underscored the need for coordinated efforts within and among nations to bring local actions to overcome climate change.
They expressed the conviction that a meaningful fight against climate change and the quest for sustainable development in Africa would require that all actions were aligned with the elimination of poverty.
This was contained in a 31-point declaration, known as the Kyebi Declaration, issued at the end of a two-day Royal Dialogue on climate change and the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Kyebi in the Eastern Region.
The declaration was read out by the Country Head of Olam International, Mr Eric Asare Botchwey, at a durbar of chiefs and the people of Kyebi, under the patronage of the Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, at the forecourt of the Ofori Panin Fie in Kyebi.
The participants in the dialogue included government officials, traditional and religious leaders, local and community elders, representatives of development partners, non-governmental organisations, civil society and youth groups, members of academia, business leaders, among others.
The durbar attracted a large gathering of traditional rulers, including the President of the National House of Chiefs, Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi II; the Paramount Chief of the Kwahu Traditional Area, Daasebre Akuamoah Agyepong II, and a representative of the Asantehene.
The declaration emphasised the critical roles of the private sector, communities, local and traditional authorities, women and the youth in the achievement of the SDGs and the fight against climate impacts.
It aims to act as a catalyst for increased urgency to accelerate climate action in Ghana and secure strong commitments to pursue adaptation and mitigation options that will put Ghana on the path to achieve net zero emissions before 2050.
The government is expected to share the declaration at the 2021 UN COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland to ensure that the voices, concerns and commitment of local communities and stakeholders to join the rest of the global community to explore transformational possibilities are made known.
The participants recognised that climate change represented an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to the SDG aspirations of all countries on the planet.
While expressing their commitment to work closely with governments and all stakeholders to create the enabling environment to facilitate ambitious and strategic climate actions with co-benefits for adaptation and mitigation, they urged governments around the world to renew focus on and commitment to key international climate agreements, such as the Paris Agreement and the SDGs, and to expedite actions on them.
“We urge governments, development partners and all stakeholders to consciously link the fight against climate change to the elimination of poverty and improving well-being and welfare for all,” the declaration said.
It also called for the creation of partnerships and coalitions of people, organisations and institutions within and among nations to acquire the requisite capacity to explore and secure climate financing opportunities and technologies to support local climate actions.
The participants called on stakeholders to eliminate barriers to the just and equitable participation of diverse stakeholders, especially marginalised and disadvantaged groups such as women, children, youth and persons with disabilities, in climate actions and sustainable development processes at the national and the local community levels.
The declarants again urged the development of local capacity through purposeful and intentional education and training.
That, they believed, would enhance awareness creation and the development of the requisite knowledge, skills and dispositions to support climate actions for sustainable development.
“Engage traditional leaders and communities to deepen and institutionalise the application of traditional and indigenous knowledge systems in climate and sustainable development actions,” they said.
The participants said they would engage the private sector and empower it to participate in climate actions and take advantage of potential business innovations that might be inherent in climate change.
They said they would also raise awareness of and advocate ambitious emission reduction targets and actions that contributed towards global efforts to reach NetZero.