GCA launches initiative to enhance the resilience of Ghana’s National Infrastructure

The Global Center on Adaptation has brought together partners for a transformative initiative to improve national-level capacity to plan and manage climate-resilient infrastructure in Ghana.

O n 22 July 2020 the Global Center on Adaptation launched a transformative initiative to enhance the resilience of Ghana’s national infrastructure systems. The project will be implemented in close partnership with our partners from the Ghanaian Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), University of Oxford (Environmental Change Institute), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UNOPS. It will be implemented over a 12-month period starting from July 2020.

The project will undertake an analytic study to support Ghana in identifying its infrastructure adaptation needs and provide a roadmap on how those needs can be met. It aims to enhance the long-term resilience of Ghana’s infrastructure against the threats of climate change, with a particular focus on the transport, water and energy sectors and on nature-based solutions for delivering services and enhancing the resilience of infrastructure systems. The project will help ensure that infrastructure development is integrated across different sectors aligned with Ghana’s national development priorities, including achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The output is further expected to help identify opportunities for post-project implementation, such as a pipeline of climate-resilient projects, and support strengthened capacity for mobilization of funding for prioritized projects and activities.

The launch event was held in two main parts: High Level Launch and Technical Working Group Meeting.

The first session started with welcome and opening remarks by Cynthia Asare Bediako, Chief Director of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) in Ghana followed by remarks from Charles Paul Iheanacho Abani, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ghana,Prof. Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation, and Marian Kpakpah on behalf of Hon. George Yaw Gyan-Baffour, Minister of Planning.

Working with an excellent set of partners, I’m delighted that the Global Center on Adaptation has been able to initiate this project to play a catalytic role in strengthening resilience across Ghana’s energy, water and transport sectors. We hope this will be the first of many projects across the African continent to be managed by GCA Africa and look forward to sharing the emerging results from this initiative at the Climate Adaptation Summit in January 2021 leading into COP26.

Prof. Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of Global Center on Adaptation

The government recognizes that responses to infrastructure challenges, resulting from climate change, require long term planning and greater coordination in the new infrastructure assets to be prioritized, planned, designed, and operated to account for climate change and its impacts over its lifetime. Climate resilient infrastructure has the potential to improve the reliability of service provision and increase asset life and protect asset returns. And so as decision-makers, we need to have access to high quality information, consistent data and the capacity to use this information to inform planning. The use of platforms and online tools can provide accessible, credible and transparent information on past and future climate behaviour.

Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation

We must take concrete measures to consolidate and build on what we have started. Ghana’s vision for self-reliance must be at the heart of the response. This project, which runs over the next 12 months, will support Ghana to identify its infrastructure needs and provide a roadmap to how these needs can be met in the transportation, water and energy sectors. But also, I believe it will reveal the linkages to other sectors as Ghana builds back to become more resilient and capable in the future.” He continued, “The UN will leverage its expertise to strengthen national-level capacity and help plan and manage climate resilient infrastructure, going forward, by offering trainings on the principles of infrastructure adaptation planning, including using nature-based solutions and developing capacity on the usage of the resilient infrastructure assessment tools that are expected to be developed under this project.

Mr. Charles Paul Iheanacho Abani, United Nations Resident Coordinator

In the technical session, Peter Dery, Director, Environment Division, MESTI, introduced and closed the session reiterating the need for committed and proactive participation of all stakeholders to ensure the Project’s success.

Michael Mullan, Programme Lead for Infrastructure and Nature Based Solutions at GCA, briefed the project background, which was followed by a presentation on the project overview by Dr. Scott Thacker, Infrastructure Sustainability and Resilience Specialist at UNOPS. Mr. Fulai Sheng, Head of the Economic and Trade Policy Unit at UNEP, gave a presentation on resilient infrastructure for a sustainable future. Geoffery Morgan, Infrastructure Sustainability and Resilience Specialist at UNOPS, elaborated on the approach to assessing the enabling environment, in particular for providing resilient infrastructure in the face of climate change. Lastly, Lena Fuldauer, a Researcher at the University of Oxford (ECI), spoke about the assessment of the built and natural environment, followed by a Q&A session and discussion of the next steps for the project. The session provided an opportunity for Technical Working Group members to meet each other and established a common and mutual understanding of the project. The kick-off meeting ended with a fruitful and informative discussion.

This is a key step in supporting Ghana’s efforts to develop resilient infrastructure that is aligned with national priorities, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We are delighted to be part of this project.

Grete Faremo, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNOPS Executive Director

I am very excited by the launch of this significant collaboration between the University of Oxford, the Government of Ghana and our partners in the GCA, UNOPS and UNEP. This is the latest step in our co-development of methods to improve decision making for sustainable and resilient infrastructure systems. Ghana is at a crucial point when the right choices about infrastructure development will benefit sustainable development for years to come. I hope that our research will assist decision makers in Ghana to make better choices for a sustainable future.

Professor Jim Hall, Environmental Change Institute in University of Oxford

Related blog posts: