Speakers at a capacity-building workshop by WaterAid, a non-governmental organisation in water and sanitation, have said the government must allocate more resources to climate change communication in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The effects of the pandemic being felt globally with attendant climate change challenges, including sanitation and hygiene issues, the speakers underscored effective communication skills at the local level to bring behavioural changes that would prevent the spread of the disease.
The capacity building workshop, in Accra, attended by government actors, policy makers, environmentalists and journalists, and addressed by environmental scientists and communication experts, brought to the fore ravages of the Covid-19 disease.
Worldwide the disease has affected about 100 million people, 55.4 million recoveries and 2.16 million deaths, with looming threats of resurgence.
In Ghana, there are total cases of 62,751, with 58,561 recoveries and 377 deaths.
The UK based WaterAid organised the workshop with the aim to incorporate knowledge on water, sanitation and hygiene issues (WASH), which are a key public health issue and how well these could be tackled by government, institutions and individuals a the challenges of Covid-19 rage on.
Universal, affordable and sustainable access to WASH is a key public health issue within international development and is the focus of the first two targets of Sustainable Development Goal-Six (SDG 6).
Dr Robert Manteaw, a Research Fellow at the Legon Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability, said the effects of climate change were felt everywhere.
He said the environment was becoming more vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and advised for lessons to be picked by the uncertainties wrought by the disease on human society.
“We need to be prepared to communicate well, especially on issues of climate change. Covid has taught us a lot. There’s no need to wait till something happens before we tackle issues of climate change,” he said.
On the seriousness of the effects of climate change, Dr Manteaw said the situation in Ghana was as serious as elsewhere in the world.
“If people don’t see the effects of climate change, ask them about the rainfall, weather changes in the rural areas.
“We used to have the vultures on the refuse dumps in the cities. Have you asked where the vultures are?” Dr Manteaw asked.
He underscored the need for effective communication strategies to let people own the messages and take effective action to preserve lives and the environment.
Dr Manteaw asked communicators to excite their audiences about the subject of climate change and advised investors to take advantage of business opportunities emerging out of the issue and tap into its economic benefits.
Dr Antwi-Bosiako Amoah, the Deputy Director, Climate Change, of the Environmental Protection Agency, said climate change issues had been incorporated in the curriculum of basic schools and junior high schools would soon have theirs.
He took participants through Ghana’s Acton on Climate Change, the National Climate Change Policy and Ghana’s National Determined Condition on Climate Change.
Mr Jesse Coffie Danku, the Acting Country Director of WaterAid Ghana, announced that the outcome of the workshop was expected to help in communicating WASH issues to push for action at all levels.
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