Ghana Green Fund, a government initiative to mobilise funds on the domestic front to address climate change and other environmental challenges in the country, is in the offing.
The initiative, which is a partnership between the Ministry of Finance and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will rely on a polluter pays principle to raise funds from people who flout environmental laws and regulations.
It will also create a window for donors and other external sources to contribute towards the fund.
A Principal Programme Officer at the Climate Change Department of the EPA, Mr Antwi-Boasiako Amoah, who made the disclosure in Accra last Tuesday, did not, however, give any timeline for the implementation of the initiative.
“As to when exactly the implementation will begin, I cannot say for now but all that I can say is that it is a process. But a lot of work has been done by the Ministry of Finance and other partners and we are almost at the tail end of that initiative, so I can say that very soon, it will kick-start,” he said.
Mr Amoah was speaking at a day’s workshop organised by ABANTU for Development, a civil society organisation (CSO), on influencing public and private sources of financing for climate mitigation and adaptation in the country.
Present at the workshop were representatives of CSOs, development agents and government agencies.
Mr Amoah explained that the initiative had become necessary due to the unreliable external funding of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at the international stage.
“We cannot continue to depend wholly on external support to address our climate change challenges because the funds are not readily accessible.
“The fund being set up will ensure that people who pollute the environment pay fines that will go into a common basket. Some sectors such as the mining industry, the extractive sector and the private sector where a lot of threats are posed to the environment will be viable sources of fund for the initiative,” he further indicated.
A development consultant, Mr Baba Tuahiru, called for stronger collaboration between state actors and private entities to ensure sustainable funding to address the challenge.
“So far, people have the mindset that such funding should be from external sources or the public purse but issues of climate change financing go beyond the public sector.
“There is the need for CSOs to find ways of engaging the government to create an enabling environment to motivate the private sector to get involved in climate change financing,” he said.
Mr Tuahiru said the government could explore the possibility of extending tax holidays and special incentives for private sector entities that embark on projects to mitigate the impact of climate change in the country.
“For instance, if you go to the Northern Region and other parts of the country, there are a number of private sector organisations that are already implementing climate change adaptation projects and providing essential information about the weather.
“A stronger partnership with the government will ensure that such information is utilised to make projections in a manner that will help farmers to know the rainfall pattern and other environmental phenomenon,” he stressed.
The Convener of Gender Action on Climate Change for Equality and Sustainability (GACCES), Mrs Patience Damptey, also urged CSOs and state agencies to form partnerships to enable them to benefit from global funding avenues such as the GCF and the adaptation fund to address climate change challenges.