NGOs advocate for WASH-base climate change adaptation strategies

By
Christabel Addo, GNA

Accra, Sept. 22, GNA – WaterAid Ghana (WAG),
in collaboration with the Ghana Youth Environmental Movement, have urged
Government to recognise the realisation of the rights to Water Sanitation and
Hygiene (WASH) as a climate change adaptation strategy.

They said WASH plays a critical role in
ensuring national development and could therefore put negative impediments in
the way of sustainable growth if not appropriately targeted. 

The two, held a news conference in Accra to
present a joint position paper on WASH-based climate change adaptation
strategies with the aim of highlighting on the issues and drawing the attention
of both government and stakeholders to understand that they need to remain
committed to the implementation of the two documents to ease the effects of the
problem.

Mr Gideon Maxwell Commey, the Director of the
Ghana Youth Environmental Movement, who presented the joint position paper said
a number of proposals have been made which include a call for the development
and implementation of robust measures to mitigate the problems.

He said the agencies and institutions
responsible for implementing the National Climate Change Policy, and the
National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NACCAS), are also being urged to
appropriately target WASH as an adaptation strategy to benefit marginalised
people such as people living with HIV and AIDS, people living with disabilities
and those with low incomes.

He urged the implementing bodies on climate
change programme of action to develop, implement and promote sustainable WASH
based adaptation strategies such as rain harvesting technologies, waste
management infrastructure, tree planting programmes, water research resources
management systems and the provision of adequate sanitation facilities.

They called for the decentralisation of WASH
based climate change adaptation strategies by the Ministry of Water Resources,
Works and Housing and formulate and coordinate policies and programmes for the
systematic development of infrastructure requirements with respect to water
supply and management, sanitation and hydrology.

Mr Commey said WASH based climate change
adaptation strategies must be mainstreamed at the local government level, and
pledged greater commitment to support programmes at the metropolitan, municipal
and district assembly (MMDA) levels by providing capacity building and
technical support to their officers and officials.

According to him there must be the robust
implementation of all the adaptation strategies outlined in the NACCAS and the
Ghana Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (GH-INDCs) programme of
action, which runs till 2030, through strengthening of efforts to achieve full
WASH coverage by 2025.

He said the Ghana Shared Growth and
Development Agenda II recognises the role that sustainable finance plays in full
WASH and climate adaptation coverage and indicates the need to improve the
capacity of finance and administrative staff of MMDAs.

They stated that the Natural Resources,
Environment and Climate Change Unit of the Ministry of Finance should
coordinate and track the flow of funds from both domestic and international
sources for the implementation of WASH and climate adaptation strategies and
make sustainable funding available from the national level down to the local
level.

To this end, a conscious link should be
created and strengthened between the Ministry of Local Government and rural
Development, the Local Government Service and the MMDAs to ensure that funding
are made available at the local levels, he said.

He said called for the strengthening of the
Parliamentary select committee on climate change to develop measures to ensure
transparency, efficiency and accountability in finance delivery for WASH based
climate adaptation strategies while ensuring equity in accessibility.

He said WAG calls on implementing bodies to
involve young people in all activities intended to promote or implement WASH
and climate adaptation strategies by actively engaging the National Youth
Authority in all decision-making processes and programmes of action.

Additionally, full involvement of civil
society groups would also ensure a bottom-up approach in implementing
programmes of action and through indigenous groups, existing traditional
knowledge regarding WASH based adaptation could be integrated into western
scientific knowledge and methods.

Mr Commey said the two organisations
recognises that both documents provide guiding framework for an integrated
responses, which are linked to the national sustainable development priorities
such as agriculture and food security, disaster preparedness and response
themes, natural resource management, equitable social development and energy,
as well as industrial and infrastructural development.

The NACCAS, he said for instance mentions the
overwhelming effects of climate change on water availability with its negative
effects on rainfall patterns and domestic water obtainability, as well as the
impact on the health and sanitation sectors, which poses huge potential risk to
human health, water and food insecurity, increased prevalence of water and
vector-borne diseases, malnutrition and higher rates of respiratory and
heat-related illnesses.

He said associated challenges such as
flooding, improper disposal of solid waste that could choke drains and
exacerbate flooding conditions, absence of proper flood management systems,
drought, deforestation, long dry season and scanty rainfall, inadequate water
harvesting systems among other things have also been listed in the documents.

GNA

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