Green Ghana Day: Shape policies, actions to redefine trajectory of our planet – Samira Bawumia to students

Mrs Samira Bawumia, the Second Lady, has advised students to serve as a driving force behind sustainable practices and policies to combat climate change and ensure a healthier planet for future generations.

‘My dear students and pupils, as advocates, you have a unique role to play in changing the discourse and shaping policies and actions that will redefine the trajectory of our planet.

‘I encourage you to embrace this opportunity to learn, innovate, and advocate for our environment. Your voices are powerful, and your actions are crucial for a sustainable future,’ she said.

Mrs Bawumia gave the advice as Chairperson of The Africa Women and Children Conference (AFRIWOCC), at the launch of its initiative, ‘Africa Students for Climate Action’ (ASCA) and the commemoration of Green Ghana Day in Accra.

ASCA aims at empowering students across the continent to be at the forefront of climate action.

Participating schools were the Labone Senior High, Accra Girls Senior High, Accra Academy, Achimota Basic School, S
t. Thomas Aquinas Senior High, Kotobabi Basic Schools, St Mary SHS and some Islamic schools.

She said the planet faced an unprecedented climate crisis, one that posed a particular threat to Africa and recent data revealed that Africa was disproportionately affected by climate change, despite contributing the least to global emissions.

The continent, she said, was experiencing increased droughts, floods, and heat waves, severely impacting agriculture, economy, livelihoods and well-being.

Mrs Bawumia noted that according to a survey conducted by UNESCO, 95 per cent of primary and secondary teachers recognised the importance of teaching climate change, yet only 30 per cent felt prepared to do so.

Also, 70 per cent of young people felt unprepared to tackle climate change based on their current knowledge.

That gap, she said, highlighted the urgent need for initiatives like ASCA that aimed to equip students with the necessary skills, knowledge, and values to advocate for and implement climate action within the
ir communities.

Dr Eric Nkansah, Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, said Climate Change and deforestation posed a great challenge for the future generation.

Climate change also affected every aspect of life on the planet, he said, and called on all to take bold action to protect the environment and save future generations.

‘We at the Ghana Education Service believe that education is not only about acquiring knowledge but also about empowering individuals to transform their lives to contribute to the development of the nation,’ he noted.

Madam Ophelia Mensah Hayford, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, underscored the need to address the impact of climate change on women and the youth through targeted exclusive voices that recognised their unique opportunity and contribution.

She said it was, therefore, important to empower the public through education, economic opportunities and promoting their participation in the decision-making process.

‘This is crucial for buil
ding community and ensuring sustainable development in the face of climate change. As we launch ASCA, we are empowering the youth to be at the forefront of this fight. Our young people are not just the leaders of tomorrow, they are also the change-makers of today,’ she added.

Mrs Rejoice Akua Acorlor, Headmistress of Labone Senior High School, expressed her profound gratitude to AFRIWOCC for selecting her school for this year’s event.

She said the world was experiencing global warming and that the current situation in the country caused by the burning of natural plants and improper waste management contributed to that.

With the Green Ghana Day, she said the afforestation and re-afforestation agenda would restore degraded forest landscapes and combat climate change.

Dignitaries at the event were Mr Charles Abaani, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Dr. John Kingsley Krugu, Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Ms Roselyn Fosuah Agyei, Director, Climate Change Directorate, Forestr
y Commission.

The dignitaries joined the students to plant trees to commemorate the Day and help to combat climate change.

Source: Ghana News Agency