A call has been made for the government to prioritise the integration of nature-based solutions (NBS) into the country’s policies to tackle the climate crisis.
Nature-based solutions are innovative approaches that regenerate areas affected by human activities, restoring key ecological functions that improve people’s quality of life.
The Executive Director of The Development Institute, an environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO), Ken Kinney, who made the call, said the country abounded with numerous opportunities for using NBS to promote climate action.
He said those opportunities existed in the areas of coastal adaptation, protected areas, sustainable agriculture production, water resource management, urban planning, drainage systems and green infrastructure.
At a national stakeholders’ dialogue on NBS held in Accra yesterday (June 26), he said successful application of NBS in the country would require cross-cutting collaboration among institutions and key actors, community engagement and capacity building, especially of local communities.
The national dialogue, which was organised by Farm Radio International (FRI), was meant to discuss the NBS project being implemented in some parts of the country to address the climate crisis.
The event brought together various stakeholders such as gender organisations, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), investors, NGOs in the agriculture sector, extension officers to think through pertinent issues on NBS.
The five-year project is being implemented by FRI with funding from Global Affairs, Canada.
It is being implemented in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Uganda and Zambia.
In Ghana, it is being implemented in 200 communities across six regions – Bono, Central, Volta, Northern, Upper East and Upper West
Mr Kinnery observed that it was important to integrate NBS into national policies on land use and development plans to produce the necessary framework for implementation.
Additionally, he said promoting public-private partnerships, raising awareness among stakeholders and securing adequate financial resources were crucial steps that would support the widespread adoption of NBS in the country.
He stated that environmental policies such as buffer zones for protecting rivers, the Green Ghana Day initiative and the Community Resource Management Areas (CREMA) policy for protecting the forest from degradation were crucial NBS that needed to be strengthened.
Also, as a measure to address urban flooding, Mr Kinney stressed the need to prioritise wetland restoration, urban forestry and the creation of retention ponds to contain running water.
He further advocated a paradigm shift from paving the built environment, to green infrastructure.
The Country Director of Farm Radio International, Benjamin Fiafor, said the beneficiary regions of the piloted NBS project had been selected based on environmental challenges such as illegal mining, tidal waves, flooding, land degradation and desertification.
“We intend to use this project to learn more about nature climate solution in Africa, what the people already know, what they are already doing in the area of nature-based climate solution.
The idea is to share more knowledge to communities so that they can take action on NBS to either mitigate climate change or adapt to it,” he said.
He added that the project would use research to equip communities to make an informed decision to implement and appreciate nature-based climate solutions.
Mr Fiafor added that the project should be used to influence public policy towards NBS.
“We will measure or evaluate the project by the number of communities that are taking action; so, we are looking forward to 1000 communities taking action on climate change.
He added that the project would look at the communities that were using the gender-based nature solutions.
“We are particular about gender-inclusivity in this project.
We also want to give the opportunity to younger people to actively participate in using NBS to tackle the climate crisis,” he added.