Ms. Elizabeth Maruma, the Deputy Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), has urged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and technical officers to empower politicians to join the fight towards environmental sustainability.
She said the old approach where technical people kept knowledge to their chest must make way for a new dawn where the political class was empowered with knowledge to make decisions that protected nature.
Ms Maruma made the call on Wednesday in Accra at a consultative meeting with CSOs as part of her working visit to Ghana.
“We cannot win without them. They must be deeply involved and once they understand how serious the issues are, we will get their buy-in. The people who vote for them are those impacted by environmental issues so they will definatinly take steps to ameliorate the issues,” she said.
The meeting served as a platform to court CSO’s to support action on the three planetary crises – climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
Climate change, a long-term shift in temperatures and weather patterns is altering the ecosystems that support life on the planet.
Air pollution is the largest cause of disease and premature death in the world, with more than seven million people dying prematurely each year due to pollution.
Biodiversity loss refers to the decline or disappearance of biological diversity, which includes animals, plants and ecosystems. It impacts food supplies and access to clean water – without it, humans will have no future on the planet.
The Deputy Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme encouraged CSO’s to team up to implement activities to address the three planetary issues threatening man’s sxistence.
Responding to concerns about the lack of resources for CSO’s, she said resources were available and that what was needed was teamwork.
Mr Kofi Don-Agor, President of Climate Communications and Local Governance-Africa, urged individuals and firms to ensure that their daily actions were environmentally sensitive.
At the local communities, he called on authorities to use their influence to support CSO’s activities, citing a recent World Bank study, which stated that at least one million more people in Ghana could fall into poverty due to climate shocks, if urgent climate actions were not taken.