Prioritise data reporting to mitigate climate crisis - WASH stakeholders advised
Stakeholders in the climate change and water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH) sectors must take data reporting seriously if the nation is to efficiently mitigate the current climate crisis for future development.
This is because the accurate, timely and comprehensive data is the lifeblood of the sector because it guides actions, enables informed decisions, and hold stakeholders accountable for the goals set as a sector.
The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Freda Prempeh, who gave the advice stated: “Let us commit ourselves to data-driven action, innovative solutions, and a renewed sense of purpose. Let us reaffirm our dedication to providing clean water and sanitation for all Ghanaians.”
She made the assertion in a speech read on her behalf at the opening of a two-day national stakeholder dialogue at Aburi in the Eastern Region on the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector.
Organised by the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR), the dialogue is aimed at making revision for the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) with regards to the WASH sector.
Self defined strategies
The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are the nation’s self-defined strategies to build a resilient society that can adequately withstand the impacts of climate change and contribute to mitigating global emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
The NDCs, which is a multi-sectoral policy document, cover 19 policy areas translating into 47 climate actions.
They aim to build the resilience of over 38 million people, mostly youth and women, living within the country; drastically reduce greenhouse gas emission; create over one million jobs; and avoid 2,900 deaths due to improved air quality by 2030.
The dialogue would, therefore, allow the various stakeholders to increase awareness, identify key issues and make recommendations for updating the NDCs to reflect the needs of the WASH sector.
Collaboration, Dual relationship
Ms Prempeh called for increased collaboration within the sector, saying that in order to revitalise and effectively implement the programmes of action, stakeholders must work together, harnessing the full potential of public-private partnerships, civil society and international cooperation.
“We must think beyond the traditional approaches and explore innovative solutions that can leapfrog our sector to new heights.
It's time to move from aspiration to implementation, from strategy to tangible results,” she said.
The Acting Director of the Climate Change Unit at the EPA, Daniel Tutu-Benefoh, said the WASH sector had a dual relationship with climate change so the dialogue was necessary to understand the practical issues on the ground.
“What is happening in Akosombo is one example. So infrastructure services and provisions suffer when there are extreme events,” he added.
Dr Tutu-Benefoh stressed the need to design an NDC intervention for the sector that delivered a resilient infrastructure that would improve services because the manner in which some WASH infrastructure were set up could produce greenhouse gases that would contribute to global warming.
Yunus Abdulai, the Country Lead for Policy LINK Ghana, said his outfit was committed to supporting the government update and revise various climate action plans and policies.
He added that they would continue to promote inclusivity making sure that policies would reflect the views of all persons because without all stakeholders, such action plans would not be effective.