The European Union (EU) in Ghana, on Wednesday expressed its readiness towards supporting efforts at addressing environmental challenges confronting the country.
Mr William Hanna, Ambassador of the EU delegation, who led a team to pay a courtesy call on Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation in Accra, said the EU was particularly interested in assisting Ghana to deal with the issues of climate change.
He said the EU would support the country in the framework of climate change agreement and in meeting her climate mitigation targets.
Among the delegation were Mr Herve Delsol, EU Climate Change Specialist, Mrs Tove Degnbol, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark, and Mr Giovanni Favilli, Ambassador of Italy.
Also on the delegation, were Mr Szabo Andras, Ambassador of Hungary, Mr Pierre-Yves Kerevennal, Deputy Head of Cooperation, Embassy of France, and Mr Bernhard Abels, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Germany.
Mr Hanna explained that the EU was however happy about the great efforts being made by Ghana to tackle its environmental challenges, especially in dealing with illegal mining, illegal fishing and in handling of e-waste, saying, the EU was already assisting in dealing with most of the issues in the country.
“We need to work together in all seriousness,” Mr Hanna said.
Mr Pierre-Yves Kerevennal, Deputy Head of Cooperation, Embassy of France, on his part commended Ghana for having ambitious agreement on climate negotiations and her intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs).
He said the EU was ready to guide the country in sourcing global financial funds to manage and implement her INDCs.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng urged the EU to help Ghana in dealing with the menace of illegal mining, which he said needed much resource to right all the wrongs done to the environment over the years.
He said about 10 per cent of Ghana’s land area was affected by the menace of illegal mining, involving eight regions out of the 10 and most of the major rivers being destroyed to the extent of affecting neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire.
“Ghana needs extra assistance in dealing with illegal mining, with about 10 per cent of the land areas affected, we need a lot of money and assistance in reclaiming the land,” he noted.
The Minister said Ghana like other developing countries have a double burden of impact and effects of climate change and therefore the need for EU and other countries to help mitigate such impact.
He said apart from global environmental issues, the country, had its own set of problems with regard to inappropriate use of chemicals in the agricultural industry, and the use of pesticides which were destroying the soil and air as well.
He said apart from that the government was also struggling to deal with the issue of plastics waste and that biodegradable plastics was being introduced gradually while efforts were being made to ban the manufacturing and use of plastic bags.
“We do not intend to ban plastics entirely, we will promote biodegradable plastics,” he said.