Visiting Accra-Ghana from the 30th of August to 4th of September this year was both a privilege and opportunity to learn. The particular focus of my visit was to explore vital lessons on climate change adaptation as well as civil society organization’s involvement in building community resilience to climate change; an opportunity offered by ABANTU-Ghana.

The first day was spent resting after 10 hours of travel inclusive of layover time in Addis Ababa. A quick sample of their food menu; jollof rice, fufu, banku, fish and beef stew had a few familiarities though upon testing send me running for my tongue because much as I thought pepper was an optional seasoning here it seemed a mandatory ingredient. In the spirit of adaptation to climate change, I finally adapted and enjoyed the meals.

Two days that followed had a focus on more technical aspects with participation of over 15 CSOs working on climate change and peasant farmers, Academia and Government of Ghana plus a team of 3 from Kenya represented by NCCK, Transparency international and Southern Voices on Adaptation Africa-Regional Facilitator.

A session on gender and climate change advocacy in Ghana highlighted key outcomes like integration of gender in national level policies like the National Climate change policy but more importantly as a result of more awareness on gender and climate change, there has been increased demand for gender inclusion by various groups.

This was linked with what the Joint Principles for Adaptation (JPA) advocates for in climate change adaptation. The JPA are a set of 7 principles with a set of criteria that model to climate change actors to push for policies and programmes that build community resilience either at the stage of development, planning, execution or monitoring.

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A session on climate finance presented a case of Kenya having accessed the global adaptation fund after the National Environment & Management Authority was accredited as a National Implementing Entity and mechanisms put in place to enhance accountability and transparency in utilizing this fund. This was meant to help Ghana which is yet to access these fund to prepare adequately for the same.

We also devoted time to review an advocacy strategy prepared by ABANTU-Ghana with support from Care DanMark through the Southern Voices on Adaptation Network.

Proposals on the strategy objective, milestones that indicate progress, the nature of stakeholders and capacity building requirements were shared.

NCCK had on the 26th of August conducted a similar exercise in Nairobi bringing together Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONECC-Malawi), Climate change Directorate, NEMA, CSOs and County government representatives form Bomet and Makueni Counties.

NCCK’s strategy target is mainstreaming climate change adaptation in the County Environment Action Plans which County governments are required to develop in line with the provisions of the EMCA (Amendment) Act 2015.

NCCK for the past 3 years has been a partner of Southern Voices on Adaptation which is a network of CSO working on climate change in the global south (Africa, Asia and Central America). In Africa; NCCK, CISONECC and ABANTU-Ghana are the current SVA partners.

By Joy Baraza; Programmes Officer, Environment and Natural Resources Management