Mr Moussa Leko, the Acting Director, Environment and Natural Resources at the ECOWAS Commission, has asked member states to upscale traditional climate innovations to adapt to climate change impacts.
He said faced with drought, flooding, increased temperature and erratic rains, West African countries must adapt to the recommended action to help reduce the impacts of climate vulnerability.
Mr Leko, who made the suggestion while speaking to the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of ECOWAS Regional Climate strategy and Climate Financing Strategy validation workshop in Accra, noted that less developed countries did not have the resources and technology and hence, must ‘look within’ to keep afloat.
The objective of the ECOWAS Regional Climate Strategy is to support Member States to tackle the challenge of the fight against climate change for the achievement of their commitments under the Paris Agreement.
He was excited that countries in the subregions that were the hardest hit of extreme climate impact already had sustainable local solutions, including land restoration, use of short duration seeds and irrigation to ensure food security.
“While waiting for support in the form of funding and technology from the West, we need to look within, especially government working with national research institutions to use the homegrown approach and support startup in value addition because time is of essence,” he said.
Mr Leko stated that as part of the revenue mobilisation, the financial strategy of the region, would build the capacity of technical persons in the member states to develop bankable projects.
Dr Kwaku Afriyie, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, in a statement delivered on his behalf, called on member states to transform the challenges of climate change into opportunities.
“Achieving this alignment requires us to overcome our traditional silo approaches in favour of cross-sectoral decision-making and innovative solutions that unlock synergies across government portfolios, sectors of the economy, and the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
He noted that extreme weather impacted on key infrastructure, which were the bedrock of economic growth and development.
According to him, the disruption and cost to the economy when infrastructure
in those sectors were damaged had the potential to put years of progress toward growth and development targets at risk, impacting more on the poor and most vulnerable in society.
The ECOWAS Regional Climate Strategy is broken down into six specific objectives, including ensuring the compatibility and coherence of the regional policy framework with the global objectives of the Paris Agreement and developing anticipation capacity and informed decision making to manage current and future climate risks.
It is seeking to encourage an institutional and organisational paradigm shift regarding climate change, build the capacities of ECOWAS and its member states for the implementation of climate change policies and actions and strengthen cooperation and solidarity between member states in the face of climate change.
By Albert Oppong-Ansah/Matilda Animwaa Otu