Issues of climate change must be simplified for better outcomes
Issues of climate change must be simplified for citizens to understand and contribute towards addressing the challenges, a Director of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Dr Amoah Antwi-Bosiako, has said.
He said although a lot was happening to address the climate menace, such efforts remained in the dark because the message was not trickling down to the people.
The director who was speaking at the maiden edition of Africa Climate Communication Conference and Exhibition (ACCCE) 2023, in Accra, therefore, said there was the need to bridge the communication gap to make people play their respective roles effectively to reduce the impact of climate change in the country and the continent at large.
Dr Antwi-Bosiako, who is the Director, Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation of the EPA, and representative of the Minister of Environment Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie, added that without effective communication the efforts would not yield the expected results.
He expressed hope that the Climate Communication and Local Governance – Africa (CCLG-Africa) initiative would groom climate change communicators to bridge the gap and bring the needed change to make climate change issues simple to all.
The conference, which was under the auspices of CCGL-Africa, was on the theme: “From vulnerability to resilience towards effective climate change communication strategies for Africa.”
The Chief Executive Officer of CCGL-Africa, Kofi Don-Agor, said for climate communication to be effective, it must be rooted in three principles - accuracy and science-based information, engagement and empathy and action-oriented messages.
The strategies involves identifying at least one focal person from a selected district, regional, national and international level who had shown exemplary innovation and progress towards developing and implementing climate change communication and engagement initiatives with multiple audience.
At the conference
Others include cultivating a frontline of focal staff, related organisations and long-term volunteers who would serve as "climate change communicators" to effectively engage and inspire local communities and school systems.
The organisation would also continuously link climate change communication and engagement activities to relevant stakeholders to sustain future efforts.
"The vision of this communication plan through shared understanding and engagement with related organisations and other key stakeholders is to produce and disseminate appropriate and well-packaged information about climate change to our people," Mr Don-Agor added.
CCLG-Africa, he further said, was liaising with focal persons in selected districts to design climate-related communication on social media, print, information vans and community radio, among others.
The Vice-Chancellor of University of Media Arts and Communication (UniMAC), Prof. Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo, said climate change conversation should not be left with only scientists to handle.
He said there was the need to engage communicators who can explain the concept to the people in their local languages, adding that the university would introduce courses on environment and climate change communication.
For his part, the Director, Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Studies, University of Ghana, Prof. Kwadwo Owusu, said: "Climate change is manifesting through extreme weather events, rising sea levels, desertification and loss of biodiversity, among others."