Henry Kwabena Kokofu


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and journalists have decided to renew their partnership on the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste (SMCW) in Ghana, in line with international agreements.

EPA, as part of efforts to complement the implementation of international agreements, chemical and waste strategic plans, and achievement of the three dimensions of sustainable development – social, economic, and environmental – has developed a communication strategy to complement the implementation of the SMCW in the country.

The strategy focuses on changing behaviors and attitudes towards achieving sound management of chemicals and waste and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the environment.

It is aimed at policy makers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private sector entities that manage hazardous chemicals and wastes, recyclers, and the public.

EPA and some selected media professionals, during a capacity building workshop in Accra, decided to create stronger partnerships to raise awareness and strengthen advocacy to prevent the negative impacts of chemicals and waste on the human health and the well-being of society as well as on the environment.

Ghana has embarked on a number of initiatives, including a ten-year strategic plan (2021-2030) to control hazardous chemicals and e-waste, and has developed a five-year communications strategy to complement the implementation of the strategic plan.

The workshop therefore aimed to introduce the media to some of the legally binding environmental agreements related to chemicals and waste and solicit their input into the communication strategy to facilitate the implementation process.

Mr. Henry Kwabena Kokofu, Executive Director of EPA, said that Ghana’s development agenda takes into account strategies to achieve the 17 SDGs of which the sound management of chemicals and waste is an integral part, in particular the target 12.4.

This objective seeks to achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks.

It also aims to significantly reduce their release into the air, water and soil in order to minimize their negative impacts on human health and the environment.

Mr Kokofu said the earth was facing a triple planetary crisis of climate change and the stability of global ecosystems on which humanity depended was on the verge of collapse.

It was therefore time for the global community to develop and implement strategies to prevent such a crisis, he said, and commended Ghana and Switzerland for proposing historic amendments to the Conference of Parties to the Basel Convention (BC COP-15), held in Geneva in June 2022, which have been adopted.

“This is a bold decision, which not only protects vulnerable countries from unwanted imports of e-waste, but also promotes its environmentally sound management and thus contributes to a circular economy,” he said.

Mr. Kokofu said the integration of SMCW into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was a major achievement and gave new impetus to chemicals and waste management.

He therefore said that it was up to Ghana to drive these agreements with expression to domesticate them in the form of bills in Parliament to be passed.

He urged the media to be strong partners and advocates in the implementation process to ensure social mobilization and behavior change.

Dr Lawrencia Osae-Nyarko, a member of the communication strategy drafting team, said it had gone through a consultative process involving relevant stakeholders whose input would help change behaviors towards the implementation successful work of the SMCW.

Dr. Sam Adu-Kumi, National Focal Point for Chemicals and Waste, Multinational Environmental Convention of Ghana, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, reiterated that the global community is facing challenges due to change climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

Human activity has contributed to such a crisis and while chemicals are useful, their mismanagement requires all stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, civil society organizations and development partners, to work together and adopt strategies to deal with the crisis, he said.

Professor Isaac Abeku Blankson, President of the African University College of Communications, said the media had a vital role in educating the public at all levels, and that building collaboration was essential for effective management of chemicals and waste in order to achieve sustainable development.

Modestus Fosu, Dean of the Faculty of Integrated Communication Science at the Ghana Institute of Journalism, said communication was a key driver needed to ensure effective integration and implementation of SMCS and the SDGs as envisaged. by the nation.

Madam Agnes Boye-Doe, Editor-in-Chief of the Ghana News Agency, said the agency has a designated desk for scientific reporting and its doors are open for such partnerships to further education and raising awareness of the risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals, among other key elements. matters of mutual interest.

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