The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stands as the vanguard in Ghana’s sustainability industry. The Authority leads several initiatives that is, protecting and enhancing the country’s environment, in particular, as well as seeking common solutions to global environmental problems.
However, this article looks at the relentless battle the Authority has and is fighting against climate change, playing a pivotal role in safeguarding the nation’s environmental integrity.
Established in 1994 with a rich history spanning over four decades, the EPA is mandated to regulate and enforce environmental policies, ensuring a cleaner, healthier world for future generations. Governed by a 13-member board appointed by the President of Ghana, the agency’s day-to-day operations are managed by an Executive Director and three Deputy Executive Directors.
At the heart of the EPA’s mission is the dedication to improving and conserving Ghana’s environment, fostering sustainable development, efficient resource management, and environmental governance.
The agency achieves this through innovative approaches, research, and strategic partnerships. A key function is the integration of environmental issues into policies and programs, utilizing Strategic Environmental Assessment tools to coordinate inter-sectoral projects.
Climate Change Initiatives and Achievements
Recognizing the global threat of climate change, the EPA has embarked on a comprehensive Climate Change Capacity Building and Awareness Creation program. This initiative includes integrating climate change and green economy into basic education curricula, training over a thousand teachers, and developing educational materials for students.
The agency has also conducted sensitization workshops for Municipal and Metropolitan District Assemblies (MMDAs) on Climate Change Adaptation and Gender Mainstreaming, emphasizing the importance of community involvement.
One notable achievement is the coordination of the Green Cooling II Project, aimed at limiting energy consumption in the cooling sector and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA facilitated the transition to climate-friendly air conditioning technologies through the K-CEP Project.
The agency prioritizes staff capacity building, conducting workshops covering diverse areas such as environmental assessment, plastic waste management, and geographic information systems.
Environmental Mainstreaming and Economic Initiatives
In 2020, the EPA undertook key environmental mainstreaming activities, including opening up the Onshore Voltarian Basin and Keta Block for Oil and Gas Exploration.
The agency also delved into environmental economics, accounting, and statistics, underscoring its commitment to a balanced approach to development.
The AKOBEN District Environmental Performance Rating and Disclosure initiative showcased the agency’s dedication to transparency and accountability in environmental management.
As a trailblazer in environmental protection, the EPA stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration in Ghana’s quest for sustainable development. Its strategic approach, collaborative efforts, and proactive initiatives underscore the agency’s pivotal role in shaping a cleaner, healthier future for generations to come.
By Ruth Esi Amfua Sekyi-Public Sector Global Magazine