Since March 2012, the UNEP DTU implemented Facilitating Implementation and Readiness for Mitigation (FIRM) project has been helping Ghana identify appropriate mitigation actions and incorporate them into their national sustainable development plans. And now, the country’s efforts to move towards a green future are bearing fruit.
With the assistance and support of the FIRM project, Ghana was able to develop not only a Low Carbon Development (LCD) plan, a national blueprint for developing low-carbon, climate resistant policies, but also two NAMAs, one of which, a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, is partly being developed and partly running in the city of Accra.
Low Carbon Development Plan launched
One of the goals of the FIRM project is to create the right conditions for developing workable ideas. By providing technical and capacity building support to national agencies and stakeholders, FIRM helps prepare the ground for proposals to take root and projects to develop. Out of the many ideas that sprang from the FIRM process, developing a LCD plan became a priority, and in 2015, the finalized version was published and launched by the President of Ghana.
Not only did the LCD provide a roadmap for a greener future in Ghana, but it also served as a basis for national legislation. UNEP DTU is providing technical input for a draft of a policy that is a direct result of green growth requirements in the LCD. This policy, the Environmental Fiscal Reform (EFR), will complement the country’s other environmental strategies, such as the Shared Growth and Development Agenda. “The EFR also harmonises with the global agenda for transformation in 2030, as well as the African Union’s Agenda 2063,” notes Emmanuel Ackom, FIRM project coordinator in Ghana. The LCD also helped Ghana craft its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) for the Paris Agreement.
Bus Rapid Transit System gets underway
Accra is a large city with an alarming air pollution problem that is exacerbated by intense traffic congestion. With FIRM support, the government of Ghana decided that a BRT system would be an excellent way to reduce pollution and emissions, one that would not only help ensure the country’s sustainable future, but also improve public health and quality of life. By providing an efficient and inexpensive way of getting around town, the BRT system helps citizens access their jobs and other activities in a way that reduces stress and pollution, lowers costs, and reduces the number of vehicles on the roads.
In December 2016, Accra proudly unveiled the first phase of its BRT system, the Ayalolo Bus network. These air-conditioned buses, featuring Wi-Fi and USB ports, are a first step towards implementation of a complete BRT network with dedicated bus lanes and stops.
An essential element of the LCD plan is its emphasis on accessing green climate finance. The plan sets up an enabling framework that helps pave the way for Ghana to solicit international climate financing. In order to continue to obtain the maximum greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the BRT system and to expand the corridors and system, the Ghanaian government is currently developing a proposal on a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system for the city of Accra from the Green Climate Fund. The Government is also seeking funds to expand dedicated facilities on the pilot corridor.
For more information about the FIRM programme, please visit the project website: www.lowcarbondev-support.org.