ECOWAS URGES MEMBER STATES TO IMPLEMENT AGREED MEASURES TO MITIGATE GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS The ECOWAS Commission on Wednesday, 31st August 2011 in Accra, Ghana called on
Member States to intensify measures for the implementation of Nationally
Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) agreed by developing countries to
reduce the negative impacts of global climate change.
Speaking at the opening of a three-day workshop for capacity building of NAMAs
by Member States, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and
Water Resources, Mr. Ousseini Salifou, said “it is necessary for our region to
avoid repeating the negative experience of the Clean Development Mechanism
(CDM) and to build capacities for Member States to have positive influence on
the current mechanism to ensure NAMAs implementation”.
Mr. Ousseini, represented by the Director of the Environment Directorate, Dr.
Johnson Boanuh, recalled that NAMAs was a concept introduced after Bali Action
Plan agreed at the international meeting in the Malaysian city, and which was
presented at global climate change meetings in Postdam (Germany), Copenhagen
(Denmark) and Cancun (Mexico). This followed the adoption of the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the meeting of the
Parties to the Kyoto (Japan) Protocol.
“Although the NAMAs concept is being developed and their legal nature is yet
to be determined, it is obvious that developing countries have voluntarily
taken NAMAs measures in order to reduce their (Greenhouse Gas) emissions in
conformity with the provisions of the UN Convention”, the Commissioner
He said the African continent now has the honour of hosting in Durban, South
Africa in December 2011, the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN
Convention, and expressed the hope that ongoing international climate change
negotiations would be finalized with a consensus that would benefit developing
In his keynote address, Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Environment, Science and
Technology, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, echoed the Commissioner’s sentiments,
urging the “development and implementation of NAMAs in the shortest possible
According to the Minister, who was represented by Dr. Benony Kortatsi, a
director in the Ministry, this is because at the upcoming Durban
Conference, “all eyes will be on the pioneers that started experimenting with
making NAMAs concept operational”.
He noted that while the UNFCCC seeks to reduce GHG emissions after 2012 when
the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires, “progress has
continued to be slow”, hence the 2009 climate conference in Copenhagen “only
resulted in a non-binding Copenhagen Accord”.
Another concept that has emerged alongside NAMAs, the Minister said, “is
Measurement, Reporting and Verification or MRV,” adding that this “is
important not just internationally, but can also help national and local
governments to develop effective policies” to mitigate the negative
consequences of global climate change.
He enumerated the mitigation measures undertaken by Ghana including the
submission of 55 NAMAs to the UNFCCC, noting however that “selection will be
made to focus on key priority sectors in the near future” based on climate
benefits alongside costs, barriers, timing and financial opportunities.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director, Ghana, Dr.
Kamil Kamaluddeen, said the second series of workshops on NAMAs was being
supported by the UN system as a platform for countries in the ECOWAS region to
present and discuss their priority action plans and chart a common front
towards meeting the Cancun agreements on the global climate change phenomenon.
“It is hoped that by drawing on your expertise, this meeting will raise our
awareness about the challenges we face and the many opportunities ahead for
collective and collaborative efforts that may slow down (and even halt) the
process of climate change”, he added.
Mr. Jeremy Webb of the African Climate Policy Centre described the workshop as
very timely, adding that NAMAs were emerging from the climate change
negotiations process as an opportunity, not only to address greenhouse gas
emissions in a nationally appropriate manner, but also “to progress our
development in key sectors such as energy, agriculture, transport, and
infrastructure, to name but a few”.
“With around 20 of the over 50 NAMA submissions to the UNFCCC coming from
Africa, there is a strategic opportunity for Africa to take a lead in this
area. As such, practical actions resulting in the implementation of NAMAs
coming out of this meeting will help to this end”, he added.
Dr. Edward Osei Nsenkryire, Chairman of Ghana’s National Climate Change
Committee, who chaired the opening session of the workshop, said it has been
established that in general, African countries were likely to suffer the most
from the negative impacts of climate change since the continent has the least
capacity to adapt.
To enhance the ability of African countries to cope with climate change and to
achieve poverty reduction, he said the response measures “must be clearly
linked with the livelihood of the people”.
Participants of the workshop, jointly organized by the ECOWAS Commission, the
Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, Ghana, UNDP Ghana and
Johannesburg, are discussing, among others, presentations on the development
of NAMAs, capacity building for implementation of NAMAs and enhancing
negotiations in Durban on the Kyoto Protocol regarding financial issues.
A follow-up to the first meeting in September 2010 in Accra, the meeting is
also discussing capacity building of West African negotiators on Climate
Change vis-à-vis the positions of countries and major blocks in order to
enrich Africa’s position in the climate change negotiations.