It has emerged that Ghana sent about 337 delegates to the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP 26), which began on 31st October and is expected to end on November 12, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland.
Ghana comes fourth after Brazil, Turkey and Democratic Republic of Congo as the countries with the highest attendees.
A provisional list published on the website of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change indicates that Ghana’s contingent was led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Some sector ministers who made the trip included Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey of Foreign Affairs, Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister for Land and Natural Resources and Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Energy.
The list also includes representatives from Parliament, Environmental Protection Agency, Office of the President, the media, among others.
There are also delegations from the Atewa East District Assembly where bauxite mining had been proposed by Ghana government, despite heavy resistance by environmental groups.
Many Ghanaians have expressed shock over the high number of attendees wondering exactly what they were doing at the conference to benefit the country.
Investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni said this on his twitter page “Save Atewa forest. Save our lands from "galamsey". Stop the rosewood logging that's further depleting the northern savannah zone. You won't do that. But you're at COP 26 in droves. For what”?
He added “Ignore the so-called presidential list. It doesn't answer any question. What is important is how many people were sponsored with state funds. And what were their roles there”?
Vice-president, in charge of research at IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, Bright Simmons also said wrote this on his twitter page “We told you analysts were digging?! Right now, the estimate is trending towards 90% state-sponsored. That is significantly north of 200 participants flown to champion Ghana's carbon-cutting ambitions!
“Apparently, analysts are also digging into the data to find out how many country delegates were sponsored by their respective governments in order to refine the per capita stats. But clearly, Ghana takes environmental conferencing very seriously indeed”, he added with laughing emojis.
A member of the public also has this to say “At the COP, we are chasing every fund and membership and presidency of every group and committee supposed to be taking climate change issues seriously, but on the ground, we are still giving out our protected natural forests out for gold mining, we still illegally logging out our fragile savanna ecosystem of rosewood and Atewa Forest is still up for mining. Who ensures accountability of those who go around the world parading as climate saviours and come back home and by their actions reck havoc and plunge us as a nation into massive climate vulnerability”?
Another one also tweeted “The country can send 300+ people to Glasgow but won’t save Atewa Forest yet we are serious about the environment! Make it make sense, Ghana”.
“Indeed! Given the overwhelming evidence that stirs us in the face, I can boldly say it's a total waste of time & monies even if they went to COP 26 on their own resources. We ought to interrogate this matter. Our unseriousness shots to the roof” tweeted by one Financial Engineer.