Partner researchers to help guide policies - Prof. Akpalu urges state institutions
The Director of the Environment for Development initiative (EfD) Ghana, Professor Wisdom Akpalu, has called on state institutions and agencies to partner with researchers and research institutions to help guide policy decisions.
He explained that research guided policies would help the various public agencies, including the private sector to implement workable initiatives that would help to advance the development and growth of the various sectors of the economy.
For him, research was extremely important in the development of any nation and that Ghana could not be an exception, saying “If you don’t know where you are going, how do you get there?”
Prof. Akpalu was speaking to the media on the sidelines of the 17th annual conference of the EfD in Ghana, which was held from October 5-9, 2023 in Accra, to discuss environment and development issues.
The conference, which was on the theme: “Sustainable Fisheries Management in Ghana: Prospects and Challenges", brought together about 200 international researchers, particularly those in the global south.
The annual conference was preceded by a Policy Day on October 4, which gathered members of the EfD network and key fisheries sector stakeholders in Ghana to foster research-led discussions and connections that would make vital contributions to Ghana’s efforts to achieve a resilient and sustainable fisheries sector.
EfD Ghana was established in 2019 and is one of EfD’s 13 international centers promoting the sustainable management of natural resources through policy-relevant research, policy engagement, and capacity development.
It is hosted at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana (UG), and the School of Research and Graduate Studies (SRGS) at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
Prof. Akpalu, who is also the Dean of the School of Research and Graduate Studies of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), said the EfD over the years had conducted a number of impactful researches within the field of environment that had contributed in diverse ways to the development of the Ghanaian economy, particularly the fisheries sector.
“We do a lot of policy focused research, research that can influence the way policy is made as well as building the research capacities of junior researchers,” he noted.
He particularly commended the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) for their close collaborations over the years, saying “from mine experience, I will say that the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture has been remarkable in embracing the work we do.”
He explained that there was the need for public institutions to partner academia, particularly researchers or research institutions in order to enable them make well informed policies.
Global South issues
On his part, the Global Director of EfD, Prof. Gunnar Köhlin, described the conference as the biggest conference of researchers on environment in the Global South.
He said the conference was held in Ghana to feature Ghana as the new centre among the network and also to strengthen collaborations with its members.
For him, the conference would enable new members to meet and network with seasoned researcher from across the globe.
Prof. Köhlin commended the Ghanaian team for their successes and influence on public policies, particularly in the areas of fisheries.
He further commended the Ghanaian team for their close collaborations with the media to communicate their research findings to the larger Ghanaian society.
He said members of the EfD networks across the globe were contributing greatly to the sustainable use of natural resources.
Prof. Köhlin also explained that the network had offered opportunities to countries to learn from each other, particularly those having similar challenges in terms of natural resource use.
The Chief Economist and Vice President of the African Development Bank, Prof. Kevin Chika Urama, called on African experts, policy makers, academia, civil society to come together with global experts in order to understand the global and continental and reginal imperatives in green transitions.
He therefore urged the participants of the conference to use their experiences and skills to help countries in creating practical and implementable policies, as well as building the capacities of institutions to be able to support the green transitions and inclusive growth globally.