General News Wed, 15 May 2019

Political parties unite to fight climate change

National Youth leaders of the five major political parties in Ghana have united with one voice to combat climate change by committing to The Green Republic Project (TGRP), the biggest reforestation initiative in the history of Ghana.

The youth leaders, representing the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Convention People's Party (CPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Progressive People's Party (PPP), and the People’s National Convention (PNC ) made this commitment at joint a breakfast meeting on the theme: “Uniting the National Youth Front against Climate Change.”

The Green Republic Project (TGRP), is a youth-driven grassroots initiative which aims to plant 20 million trees across Ghana by the year 2028. This is to avert looming climate crisis, especially with several global and local reports revealing that Ghana continues to lose a lot of its forest cover due to deforestation and other human practices.

“Ghana is said to have recorded 60 percent rise in forest loss between 2017 and 2018, according to the Global Forest Watch. This should tell us climate crisis is standing in the way of a healthy tomorrow. As leaders of the future, it is important that critical proactive steps are taken today to secure a healthy future environment and climate. These National Political Party youth leaders collectively have millions of followers behind them, and as prospective leaders at the national level, they have a role to play in protecting our forest cover,” the Convener of The Green Republic Project, Nana Yaw Osei-Darkwa explained.

The project has so far seen the planting of approximately 7,500 trees across some selected communities in Ghana, with plans to plant 100,000 trees this year.

Speaking in turns, the National Party Youth Organizers appreciated the urgent need for the country to protect Ghana’s forest cover which provides livelihood for more than 2.5 million people.

Representing the governing New Patriotic Party, a Deputy National Youth Organizer, Joseph Nyaniba Kwayaja posited that looking at recent gloomy climate change reports on Ghana, it is prudent for political parties to see the loss of forest cover as a serious national issue and take actions to avert it. He pledged on behalf of his party to back any initiative aimed at averting the devastating effects of climate crisis.

Same sentiments were shared by, Mr Edem Agbana, the Deputy Youth Organizer of the National Democratic Congress, the biggest opposition party in Ghana who noted that just as political parties have the ability to mobilize followers for national health walks and rallies, the can collective rally teeming followers to embark on mass tree planting exercises across the country on selected days. He further urged the media to prioritize issues affecting the environment.

The Convention People's Party’s National Youth Organizer, Alhasan Basiru Nabir said as a youth leader of a party which has since inception being committed to policies on climate action, it is a call in the right direction for it to endorse any tree planting initiative, pushing for the involvement of traditional youth leaders in national tree planting drive.

The issue of illegal rosewood logging the Northern Region of Ghana has dominated the airwaves in recent times. Making reference to the dangers it poses, a national youth leader of People’s National Convention (PNC), Awudu Ishak said such an initiative couldn’t have come at any better time.

Representing the Progressive People's Party, the National Youth Organizer, Mr Devine Nkrumah like his other colleagues expressed the readiness of his party youth to support the effort to “Make Ghana Green Again”.

Aside the push for a collective resolution that would call the implementation of policies on climate action, the youth leaders endorsed the idea of a National Tree Planting Day. They unanimously agreed to advocate and lobby for special attention to be paid to climate action in Ghana in tandem with Goal 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Source: Attah-Effah Badu