Ghana Moves from Planning to Implementing a Future With Dramatically Fewer SLCPs

Ghana is putting its national planning work into action with a series of discrete, concrete, and measurable plans to reduce short-lived climate pollutants.

As a founding member of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), Ghana went through the Coalition’s National Planning process, which assists countries in taking a holistic look at their emissions, the major sources that cause them, and evaluating which targeted actions will have the most impact. An important part of this process is increasing awareness of the link between climate change and air pollution — short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP) mitigation means that a country can both reduce its contribution to climate change, and that its citizens can also experience immediate benefits when it comes to health, development, and food security.

“We were very much surprised by the extent to which, when these policies are implemented, the benefit that you can get locally for Ghana, that was a very interesting surprise for us,” said Daniel Benefor, of Ghana’s Environment Protection Agency (EPA), about knowledge gained through the CCAC’s national planning process. 

We were very much surprised by the extent to which, when these policies are implemented, the benefit that you can get locally for Ghana."
Daniel Benefor
Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana

Ghana used the ‘Long-range Energy Planning system with Integrated Benefits Calculator (LEAP IBC)’, an integrated energy planning and climate change mitigation assessment tool, to calculate the benefits of emissions reductions. The process also requires collaboration across the various relevant government ministries in order to best coordinate these measures — the benefits of which Ghana continues to reap today.

“The whole spectrum of the process requires us to use existing teams that are multisectoral, it means that you have to bring everybody who matters to the table and the value addition here is that everyone is part of the process from the outset: the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, the National Development Planning Committee, the Ministry of Finance––these are all key stakeholders,” says Benefor. “It’s important to build consensus from the beginning.”

Ghana’s national action plan outlines 16 mitigation measures, such as distributing 2 million fuel-efficient cookstoves, generating ten percent of electricity from renewable sources, and integrating soot free buses into Accra’s public transportation. If the plan was fully implemented, it could lead to emissions reductions of 56 percent for methane and 61 percent for black carbon while avoiding 2,560 premature deaths and reducing crop loss by 40 percent.

The plan is also aligned with the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), or a country’s international commitment to reduce national emissions, which prominently includes measures to reduce short-lived climate pollutants. In November 2021, Ghana published its updated NDC which covers 47 actions between 2020 and 2030. Nineteen of these are policy actions, which include things like sustainable transportation and a sustainable energy transition. When these are implemented, it will build the resilience of over 39 million people, reduce emissions of 64 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, create over a million jobs, and avoid over 2,900 air pollution deaths. Ghana’s NDC is one of only three in the world to quantify the health benefits that can be achieved from meeting its NDCs. 

Ghana’s NDC includes a variety of SLCP mitigation goals aligned with the CCAC’s work. 

  • In the oil and gas sector, it includes minimising industry-wide flaring by 20 percent by 2030. 
  • In the waste sector, it includes building and operating three landfills with 50 percent methane recovery, doubling the country’s waste-to-compost capacity, and building 200 biogas facilities. 
  • In the agricultural sector, it includes increasing livestock productivity by 10 percent with climate-smart agriculture. 
  • In the transportation sector, it includes creating new bicycle lanes and instituting 1,500 electric buses by 2030.

Ghana is now moving from the planning stage into the implementation stage, and successful implementation requires translating large-scale policies into concrete steps that can be clearly monitored, and garner funding.

“However, achieving the SLCP reductions outlined in Ghana’s plans and strategies, as well as the climate, clean air, and health benefits, requires that these policy actions are actually implemented. As Ghana moves from planning to implementation, it is essential that broad policy actions and targets are translated into discrete, concrete steps and actions that can be effectively monitored and converted into fundable projects,” reads Ghana’s 2022 report on implementation pathways.

As Ghana moves from planning to implementation, it is essential that broad policy actions and targets are translated into discrete, concrete steps and actions that can be effectively monitored and converted into fundable projects."
Ghana’s 2022 Report on Implementation Pathways

Ghana continues to coordinate across ministries brought together through the CCAC’s national planning process as it enters the implementation stage. The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI) is coordinating the implementation of the NDCs — which will include participation in the 2025 stock-taking exercise. Ghana’s EPA will also be helping track implementation.

In partnership with the CCAC, Ghana has developed a robust set of priority policies and measures to reduce SLCPs and greenhouse gases that are not only technically and financially feasible but have broad-based agreement across local and national institutions. Now, Ghana has developed a clear and transparent set of eight areas to measure its NDC implementation, tied with its national monitoring and evaluation system.

Outlined in the county’s implementation pathways report, there are indicators within each of those areas, many of which are specific to short-lived climate pollutant mitigation, demonstrating the long-term impact of the CCAC’s national planning efforts. These include things like the proportion of solid waste that is properly disposed of in major towns and cities, the percentage of efficient appliances, and greenhouse gas emissions. There are also output indicators which include a variety of climate and clean air targets including the number of landfill sites with 50 percent methane recovery, the total volume of waste to compost plants, the number of districts practising climate-smart agriculture, the number of efficient air conditioners and refrigerators, the number of biogas facilities, the percentage of gas flared, the number of buses with efficient diesel engines, the number of electric vehicles, the number of households with improved biomass stoves — and many more. 

In fact, out of 53 output indicators, over 20 relate directly to the CCAC’s work to mitigate short-lived climate pollutants.

In spite of this progress, Ghana still faces many challenges with its efforts at SLCP mitigation, particularly when it comes to enhanced coordination, resources mobilisation, and private sector participation. Ghana will require significant investments to make this transition — a minimum of $9.3 million from domestic and international sources, as well as carbon markets.

Ghana is also a signatory of the Global Methane Pledge, agreeing to take voluntary action to collectively to reduce global methane emissions at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030 worldwide, which could eliminate over 0.2˚C warming by 2050. Countries also commit to using the highest tier IPCC good practice inventory methodologies and working to improve the accuracy and transparency of national greenhouse gas inventory reporting under the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement.

Ghana’s most recent work has been to improve its monitoring and evaluation frameworks, which the CCAC has supported with capacity building, to be able to more accurately assess the progress and success of the country’s SLCP mitigation, and the implementation of their NDCs, and better be able to participate in carbon markets.

In February 2022, Ghana held two consultative workshops with monitoring and evaluation stakeholders in the 10 priority sectors, including representatives from the energy, mining, and transport sectors, and communication sectors. These workshops were also for validation for the indicators drafted by the key stakeholders.

Ghana is serving its second term as co-chair of the CCAC and its long-standing work participating in and leading the coalition continues to inform its policy.

“Ghana is a developing country, and we have a clearly defined agenda to help make Ghanaians prosperous, but that agenda must happen on a pathway that is sustainable,” Benefor said. “We saw that despite being a small country with low emissions that our actions also contribute to the global climate effort. The process helped us provide decision makers with evidence of climate and air quality impacts and the many benefits of acting.”

Ghana is a developing country, and we have a clearly defined agenda to help make Ghanaians prosperous, but that agenda must happen on a pathway that is sustainable."
Daniel Benefor
Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana

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