WHO organises stakeholder training to combat illicit trade in tobacco products

A two-day training programme has been organised for stakeholders in the Securities and supply chain industry, to combat tobacco trading in the country through unauthorised and unapproved routes.

The training, sponsored by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Secretariat under Project 2030, is aimed at reducing the entry of illicit substances such as tobacco products into the country.

Tobacco is a significant threat to health and correspondingly an impediment to sustainable development.

Illicit trade in tobacco products poses a grave threat to public health. It not only increases access to tobacco products, often at cheaper prices, but it also undermines the hard-won gains of tobacco control policies.

The trade fuels the tobacco epidemic, leading to increased health risks for citizens, particularly the youth.

The government loses revenue, further straining the ability to provide essential services, while inadvertently funding international criminal activities.

Ghana ratified the Protoc
ol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products in 2021 in addition to the various conventions and protocols aimed at the control of tobacco by her status as a party to the WHO FCTC.

The Protocol does not only contain measures to combat illicit trade, but a framework to promote law enforcement whilst providing the legal basis for international cooperation.

Recommendations made after the Needs assessment mission of the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products in Ghana, included the need to train enforcement and security agencies on the protocol to build capacity and create awareness.

The Head of Tobacco and Tobacco products at the Food and Drugs Authority in Accra, Ms Jemima Odonkor said, there was still illicit products on the Ghanaian market.

She said the training would harness the collective expertise of all interested parties, fostering a consultative and collaborative environment and ensuring that efforts align with global priorities and leveraged the support available.

The training
cuts across the municipal, district and metropolitan areas, police, Ghana Revenue Authority, judiciary, tourism, and securities relevant to the implementation of tobacco control from importation, through distribution, safe exposure, and its subsequent disposal, she added.

It would build the technical capacity for law enforcement agencies at the regional levels, create awareness of the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, enhance coordinating mechanisms for tobacco control at the various sub-national levels and identify the roles of relevant stakeholders in the implementation of the protocols.

Dr Martin Kusi, the Western Regional Director, Food and Drugs Authority, said most illicit substances came into the country through the land borders and appealed to the inter-border agencies to work together to help clamp down on the menace.

The Head of Customs at the Elubo Division, Daniel Louis Mennia called on boarder communities to help the inter-boarder agencies with timely and credible inform
ation for effective operations.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Morocco Elected to Host 93rd General Assembly of International Criminal Police Organization, Interpol

Morocco has been elected to host the 93rd session of the General Assembly of the International Criminal Police Organization, Interpol, to be held in Marrakech in 2025.

Participants in the 91st session of the General Assembly of the Organization held in the Austrian capital Vienna, representing 196 member countries, renewed their confidence in the Kingdom and its security institutions, entrusting it with the organization of the 93rd session of the Interpol GA.

The General Assembly, Interpol’s highest decision-making body is held regularly in the presence of heads of law enforcement agencies and agencies from member countries, to assess global security challenges as well as new criminal trends and examine ways to address them.

Speaking following the vote in favor of the Moroccan candidacy, the Director General of National Security and Territorial Surveillance, Abdellatif Hammouchi, expressed the thanks of the Kingdom of Morocco to all those who spoke in favour of the organization in Marrakech of this global

Hammouchi also stressed that the Kingdom of Morocco and its national security services are entirely ready to host this renowned security forum in the best conditions, maintaining that Morocco provides constant support to Interpol and member countries in their efforts in favor of global security and stability.

The choice of Morocco to host this global event reflects the aura and image enjoyed by the Kingdom in its regional and international environment, thanks to the leadership of King Mohammed VI, as well as the credibility and great confidence in Moroccan security institutions, known for having accumulated significant experience and expertise in the fight against terrorism and organized crime.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Central Bank will continue to engage to develop forward-looking policy framework

Dr Ernest Addison, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, says the Bank will continue to engage industry actors to develop forward-looking policy frameworks in the areas of Digital Banking and Open Banking.

He said financial technologies could alter the financial sector landscape for the better and the Bank remained committed to promoting innovation in the delivery of financial services.

Dr Addison was speaking at the Governor’s Day Annual Bankers Dinner organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Accra.

He said, in this regard, the Bank would continue to monitor risks and opportunities for banks, payment service providers, and consumers to thrive in the digital financial ecosystem.

The Governor assured stakeholders of the gradual rebound of the economy, adding that Growth was improving steadily, inflation was declining, the fiscal and external positions were improving, alongside relative stability in the exchange rate.

Dr Addison said the absent unanticipated shocks in the outlook, the continued imp
lementation of prudent policies would further strengthen the recovery process and reinforce the disinflationary process.

These conditions will improve the operating environment for the banking sector to remain stable and strong to support the economy.

‘This notwithstanding, let me assure the public that, on the back of the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme and other risks that may emerge in the banking sector, the Bank will continue to closely monitor developments and, where need be, take appropriate and decisive actions to address same,’ he said.

The Governor said the Bank would ensure that depositors’ funds remained safe, and that the financial system remained stable and resilient.

He said the banking sector had progressed steadily amidst series of storms in the past six years.

‘We witnessed the banking clean-up exercise between 2017 and 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, spillovers from geopolitical tensions in Europe, and an economic crisis in 2022 that triggered a domestic debt exchange,’ he said.

e said despite all these, banks had remained relatively stable and sound, partly because the Central provided leadership to the industry to navigate through these economic uncertainties and volatilities with policy clarity and focus safeguarding stability of the financial system at all cost.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Using the Home as a Catalyst in Promoting STEAM Education

In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education.

These disciplines are crucial for developing critical thinking, problem-solving, and innovation skills in students. While schools play a significant role in STEM/STEAM education, the home environment can also serve as a catalyst for fostering a love for these subjects.

This article explores various ways in which parents and caregivers can utilise the home to promote STEM/STEAM learning and teaching.

Create a STEM/STEAM-friendly environment:

Transforming the home into a STEM/STEAM-friendly environment can inspire curiosity and exploration. Set up a designated area for experiments, projects, and hands-on activities. Stock it with age-appropriate books, puzzles, building blocks, art supplies, and scientific tools. Encourage children to engage in open-ended play and exploration, allowing them to develop their cr
eativity and problem-solving skills.

Encourage inquiry-based learning:

Encourage children to ask questions and seek answers.Eg.How is day and night formed? Foster a culture of curiosity by engaging in discussions about scientific phenomena, technological advancements, engineering marvels, and mathematical concepts. Encourage children to explore their interests and find answers through research, experiments, and discussions.

Integrate STEM/STEAM into everyday activities:

Incorporate STEM/STEAM concepts into daily routines and activities. For example, involve children in cooking and baking, buying and selling,which can teach them about measurements, chemical reactions, and nutrition. Gardening can provide opportunities to learn about biology, ecology, and environmental science. Encourage children to observe and document their findings, fostering scientific inquiry.

Utilise technology and online resources:

Leverage the power of technology to enhance STEM/STEAM learning at home. There are numerous

nal websites, apps, and online platforms that offer interactive lessons, virtual experiments, coding tutorials, and more. Encourage children to explore these resources under parental guidance, ensuring a balance between screen time and hands-on activities.

Engage in STEM/STEAM projects and challenges:

Encourage children to undertake STEM/STEAM projects and challenges that align with their interests. This could involve building a model, designing a simple machine, conducting experiments, or creating artwork inspired by scientific concepts. Such projects promote critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills.

Foster collaboration and teamwork:

Encourage children to work together on STEM/STEAM projects with siblings, friends, or parents. Collaboration fosters communication, teamwork, and the exchange of ideas. It also provides an opportunity for children to learn from each other and develop social skills.

Connect with STEM/STEAM professionals and organizations:

Explore opportunities for child
ren to interact with STEM/STEAM professionals, such as scientists, engineers, artists, and mathematicians. Attend science fairs, exhibitions, workshops, or invite guest speakers to share their experiences and insights. Engaging with real-world practitioners can inspire children and provide them with role models.

In circling back, the home environment can serve as a powerful catalyst for promoting STEM/STEAM learning and teaching.

By creating a STEM/STEAM-friendly environment, encouraging inquiry-based learning, integrating STEM/STEAM into everyday activities, utilising technology and online resources, engaging in projects and challenges, fostering collaboration, and connecting with professionals, parents and caregivers can nurture a lifelong love for these disciplines in children.

Emphasising STEM/STEAM education at home will equip children with the skills and mindset necessary to thrive in an increasingly technology-driven world.

Source: Ghana News Agency

COP 28: President Akufo-Addo urges building of safety nets for developing world

Ghana has urged the industrialised countries to support the V20 loss and damage fund to cushion the developing world against the shocks from the climate crisis.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, making the appeal at a side event of the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28), said such assistance was needed for robust social safety nets for the developing world.

He was addressing a COP 28 finance summit when the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and Vulnerable (V) 20 Finance Ministers held a stocktake of reforms in the international financial architecture to spur development-positive climate action.

This follows a day after the current and incoming chairs of the CVF endorsed and launched the COP28 finance declaration.

The finance declaration, endorsed by CVF members Ghana, Barbados, Kenya, Colombia, and Senegal, is to build on the V20 Accra-Marrakech Agenda, Bridgetown Initiative 2.0, and Nairobi Declaration, among other initiatives.

It highlights the need for a more equitable and effec
tive global financial system in the context of climate change.

‘We are all now aware that climate change has an enormous impact on the fundamentals required for our survival on earth,’ President Akufo-Addo stated.

‘It imposes developmental constraints and burdens on our already stretched resources and we, in Ghana, are witnessing this phenomenon for ourselves at first hand.

‘A few weeks ago some parts of my country were confronted with the severe humanitarian crisis triggered by the spillage of water from our country’s largest hydroelectric dam due to unusually high rainfall patterns.’

The President drew the attention of the international community to the widespread and growing impact of the climate risks.

Finance Ministers of the V20 group of vulnerable nations, a coalition of more than 40 developing countries, last year, agreed to design and test a funding facility to address the losses and damages of lives, livelihoods and infrastructure caused by climate impacts.

They will use resources from a joint
V20-Climate Vulnerable Forum Fund in achieving the Fund’s objectives.

President Nana Akufo-Addo said the Fund, which served as the global shield against climate risk, and ultimately the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), should be resourced to benefit humanity.

About 150 presidents, prime ministers, royals and other leaders are participating in the COP 28, hosted by the United Arab Emirates.

They are expected to present their plans to cut heat-trapping emissions and mostly seek unity with other nations to avert climate catastrophe.

Discussions at the Conference centre on varied climate change-related issues, including the progress made in several workstreams.

They are also hammering out the details of the loss and damage finance facility to help vulnerable communities deal with immediate climate impacts.

They are also focused on driving towards a global goal on finance that would help fund developing countries’ efforts in addressing climate change, accelerating both an energ
y and a just transition, closing the massive emissions gap, among others.

In addition, the first-ever global stocktake will conclude at COP 28.

The global stocktake is a process for countries and stakeholders to see where they are collectively making progress towards meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and where they are not.

Meanwhile, leaders of developing nations went into Saturday’s second day of a UN climate summit to press rich industrial countries to share their know-how to fight global warming and ease the financial burdens they faced, while trumpeting their own natural resources that swallow heat-trapping carbon in the air.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Loss and Damage Fund must be free of bureaucratic hurdles – Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says it is imperative that the newly-established Loss and Damage Fund is made free from the bureaucratic hurdles that have hindered speedy resource allocation of other climate funds.

The Fund, which was a crucial element to the collective response of countries to climate change must also be agile and responsive to the needs of those affected, he said.

‘Our goal is to ensure that the Fund is a dynamic and effective tool in addressing the immediate impact of climate change on vulnerable nations,’ he emphasised.

President Nana Akufo-Addo made the remarks at a COP28 finance summit, at the UAE, when the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and Vulnerable (V) 20 Finance Ministers held a stocktake of reforms in the international financial architecture to spur development-positive climate action.

This comes a day after the current and incoming chairs of the CVF endorsed and launched the COP28 finance declaration.

The finance declaration, endorsed by CVF members Ghana, Barbados, K
enya, Colombia, and Senegal, is to build on the V20 Accra-Marrakech Agenda, Bridgetown Initiative 2.0, and Nairobi Declaration, among other initiatives.

It highlights the need for a more equitable and effective global financial system in the context of climate change.

The leadership of the CVF and V20, in their submissions, said the move was crucial to climate justice, which required having a fit for purpose international financial architecture and international financing model that ensured that climate financing reached the most vulnerable.

V20 economies have suffered immense losses amounting to 20 per cent of wealth, amounting to US$535 billion over the last two decades due to climate impact.

The event also covered the operational progress of the CVF-V20 and the pivotal role of V20 Climate Prosperity Plans (CPPs), national investment-powered strategies that seek to maximise socio-economic outcomes for vulnerable countries and resilient development.

Barbados will be the next CVF chair by mid-2024.

er Maldives President and Founder of the Forum, Mohamed Nasheed, has been appointed as the CVF’s first Secretary-General.

Source: Ghana News Agency