COP28: Ghana’s lands minister urges immediate action on climate change

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As the 28th session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP28 concludes, Ghana’s Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, stresses the critical importance of global leaders taking decisive and urgent measures to address the repercussions of climate change.

Speaking to the press on Saturday, December 9, 2023, Samuel Abu Jinapor, underscores the necessity for world leaders to demonstrate their commitment to combating climate change by translating the agreements, promises, and resolutions reached at COP28, hosted by the UAE, into tangible actions.

Jinapor warns of the disastrous impact of climate change already affecting the globe and cautions against the risk of total capitulation if global leaders fail to back their promises with substantive actions.

“The world is witnessing the relentless and devastating impacts of climate change. We cannot ignore the dire consequences we have experienced, the tragedies that have befallen us, and the challenges that lie ahead. We have seen seasons of droughts, woes of intense flooding, prolonged hunger, and the emergence of diseases, including the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. These are just a few among the myriad of challenges we face as a result of climate change,” he states.

Jinapor laments that, despite two years passing since the Paris Agreement—a legally binding international treaty on climate change adopted by 196 parties at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris on December 12, 2015—the world appears to be regressing concerning the climate change crisis and its impact.

“At COP 21 in Paris, on December 12, 2015, Parties to the UNFCCC reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change by pursuing efforts to limit global temperature increases as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Eight years down the line, we continue to grapple with the devastating effects of climate change,” he remarks.

“Indeed, the 1.5-degree benchmark for limiting the effects of climate change cannot be achieved without nature. It is an indisputable fact that forests possess great potential to generate a third of the global climate solutions needed by 2030 as major sinks of greenhouse gases. This is amply supported by reports from the United Nations Environmental Programme, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Food and Agricultural Organizations, and other renowned scientists,” he adds.

Hon. Jinapor reiterates that the forest and nature-based approach, championed by the government of Ghana, is the most ideal and globally accepted method of dealing with the climate change crisis.

“Undoubtedly, the Forests and Land-Use sector has been globally recognized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a significant contributor of nature-based solutions to help attain the 1.5 degrees target under the Paris Agreement. Actions such as protecting natural ecosystems from loss and degradation, restoring ecosystems that have been degraded, and sustainably managing working lands can contribute significantly to mitigating climate change and reaching the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 1.5°C,” he says.

He reaffirms the commitment and determination of the government of Ghana to partner with countries and public and private agencies to build a resilient climate.

The Minister calls on global superpowers to commit funds to the execution of nature-based solutions to the menace.

“I call on you, stakeholders, to commit finance towards nature-based solutions to resonate tangible outcomes. We must scale up nature-based solutions to protect and restore our forests to achieve a 1.5 degrees Celsius world. I will leave you with a quote by the renowned English Primatologist and anthropologist, Jane Goodall, ‘Deforestation is changing our climate, harming people and the natural world. We must, and can reverse this trend.’ It is time to take action!” he maintains.

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