Media must not repeat ‘Cook-a-thon Embarrassment’-Information Minister

The Information Minister, Madam Fatimatu Abubakar, has cautioned the media to exercise due diligence and verify every information received before publication to avert plunging the nation into chaos and embarrassment.

She cited the recent publication of a Ghanaian chef who organised a press briefing to declare himself as having been recognised by Guinness as the record-holder for cook-a-thon, which was published on major media outlets in the country without proper verification.

Madam Abubakar, in an interview with the media in Accra on Monday, described the issue as an embarrassment to the country and should not be repeated.

The Minister averred that if that scenario by Chef Smith happened within the political space, especially on election related matter, it could create serious conflicts or chaos in the country.

‘The media has the responsibility to verify every information before publication…it’s dangerous to spread falsehood because it could lead us into chaos,’ she noted.

Meanwhile, as part of efforts
to decentralise government’s communication and inform the citizenry about the projects it had implemented, Madam Abubakar said her Ministry would embark on regional townhall meetings and exhibitions across the country, starting from the end of July.

The townhall meetings, she said, would bring on board regional and sector ministers as well as key government appointees to answer questions from journalists and members of the communities on government projects.

The issues would include roads, health, education, water and sanitation infrastructure, as well as local issues of concern to the people.

The regional townhall meetings and exhibitions would help to ensure transparency and accountability regarding government’s projects, with feedback for government.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Facility Mangers to deliberate on industry dynamics at Global Conference August 1

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) will host its Global Conference on August 1-2, 2024, at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA).

The forum, among other things, seeks to discuss ways Facility Managers could ‘enhance productivity and well-being in workplaces throughout Africa’.

It will bring together industry professionals and innovators from around the world to explore the future of their business.

The meeting is themed: ‘The Impact of Facility Management on Employee Productivity and Well-being in the African Workplace’.

Professionals will share insights on latest trends and challenges in the facility management practice, highlighting subjects such as sustainable practices, integration of smart technologies in building management, and strategies to ensure workplace health and safety.

‘What distinguishes this conference is its emphasis on Africa’s unique context. With rapid urbanisation and the burgeoning development of new infrastructure, the demand for efficient, sus
tainable, and safe workplaces has never been more urgent,’ the Association said in a press statement.

‘The IFMA Global Conference aims to ignite a renewed passion for FM, demonstrating its potential to drive economic growth while fostering environments that support employee well-being,’ it added.

The forum presents practitioners with an opportunity to exchange ideas, connect with peers, mentors, and potential collaborators.

It is open to FM professionals, policymakers, and business leaders seeking innovative solutions.

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) is the world’s foremost association for FM professionals, supporting over 23,000 members globally.

It aims to ‘advance the FM profession through education, research, networking, and ensuring workplaces worldwide are conducive to productivity and well-being.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghana begins review of climate action plans

Ghana has commenced processes to review its climate action plans in compliance with its commitment to build resilience and reduce the impact of climate change in diverse sectors.

Known as the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the review, which is in accordance with Article 4.2 of the Paris Agreement, will build on the current document (NDCs 2.0), and revise the existing targets to 2035.

Mrs. Ophelia Hayford, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), on Tuesday, launched the NDCs Revision Process at a workshop in Accra to kickstart the review.

The process is spearheaded by MESTI, in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

NDCs are targets and actions set by countries for mitigating the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change and for adapting to climate impacts. The plans define how to reach the targets, and elaborate systems to monitor and verify progress so it stays on track.

Under the Paris Agreement, countries are required to submit their updated NDCs to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) every five years.

The last time Ghana updated its NDCs was in 2021, which means that the climate action plans must be reviewed by 2025 to reflect the country’s renewed commitment to the climate fight.

The current NDCs (2021-2030) cover 19 policy areas aimed to achieve absolute GHG emission reductions of 64 Metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from 2021 to 2030.

In the next months, various working groups drawn from stakeholder organisations will work on different target areas and align key programmes and initiatives with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The review will also tackle key policy, technology, and financial gaps and address barriers identified with the action plans in the last updated NDCs.

The entire review process is expected to last for nine months, after which the finalised document is expected to be submitted to the UNFCC.

Mrs Hayford s
aid Ghana had made significant progress in the implementation of the current NDCs, and rallied stakeholders to support the review process.

She said the country had achieved a greenhouse gas emission reduction of 29.3 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year through 13 mitigation actions across energy, forestry, waste, transport, and agriculture sectors.

‘This represents a 43.4 per cent decline relative to the 2021 total national emissions,’ the Minister added.

Mr Frederick Obeng Adom, the Deputy Minister of Transport, said the transport sector was among the key areas of focus in Ghana’s quest to reduce carbon emissions and called for innovative solutions to reduce the carbon footprint in the sector.

He said the National Transport Policy (2008) had been revised to reflect current opportunities and challenges, adding that the National Electric Vehicle Policy would provide a framework to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2045.

Mr Peter Aidoo, Economist, UNRCO, in a speech on behalf of the UN
Resident Coordinator, Mr Charles Abani, said the UN would offer a comprehensive strategy to support developing countries like Ghana in enhancing and implementing their NDCs.

He said the UNDP’s Climate Promise initiative had supported 85 per cent of developing countries in their initial NDC submissions and engaged in NDC implementation in nearly 150 countries.

‘The UN through the Climate Promise is, therefore, supporting Ghana in its inception of the NDC 3.0 revision process, and positioning as one UN to further leverage funds under Climate Promise to support the revision as per the roadmap that will be adopted for the country’s pathway to increased ambition,’ Mr Aidoo said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Unborn generations not spared by ‘Galamsey’ operations – Professor Calys-Tagoe

Professor Benedict Nii Laryea Calys-Tagoe, Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ghana (UG), says due to illegal mining, unborn generations are not spared as they are born with deformities traced directly to the effects of these activities.

He said illegal mining, also known as ‘Galamsey’ as had been practiced in Ghana, was an existential threat which posed severe health challenges not only to those directly involved but also to communities far and near.

The Professor, speaking at the Day of Scientific Renaissance of Africa (DRSA) at the University of Ghana, on the issues of illegal mining in Ghana, said the solutions lie in political will to end this, and not just mere rhetoric.

He said a typical mining operation involved exposure of workers to a range of hazards, including extreme temperatures, injuries, from machinery and other objects and falls.

‘The average noise produced during mining work is 89.4 dBA, which is above the 85 dBA limit recommended by the World Health Organisation, causing anno
yance, decreased work efficiency, and eventually may lead to noise-induced hearing loss,’ he added.

Prof. Calys-Tagoe said members of the communities within which they operated also bore the brunt of these activities, with some of the contaminations leading to reduced availability of portable water to citizens, and water-borne diseases.

He said registration of small-scale mining sites should be increased by improving the process by reducing or eliminating fees and localising registrations.

The Prof. added that the Ministries, Local Government, and District Assemblies should promote and protect diversification of economic opportunities.

He called on the Government to provide water, electricity, telecommunications, and sanitation in partnership with enterprises to artisanal and small-scale gold mining communities and other affected communities.

Prof. Benedicta Fosu-Mensah, an Ecology and Natural Resources Management Scientist, said ‘galamsey’ had become a pervasive issue in Ghana, while providing livelihoo
ds for many, left behind a trail of destruction that undermined the very foundation of the nation’s prosperity.

She said illegal mining was a key driver of deforestation, leading to the loss of precious forests, which were home to diverse species and were crucial in carbon sequestration.

‘The clearing of forests for mining activities destroys habitats, threatens biodiversity, and disrupts ecosystems’

‘In 2022, 0ver 19,000 hectares of cocoa farms were destroyed by illegal mining, according to Ghana Cocoa Board,’ she added.

She said a report by the World Resource Institute in 2021 showed that Ghana was losing its forests at a 60 per cent rate, faster than any country in the world.

Professor Fosu-Mensah said the environmental destruction caused by illegal mining contributed significantly to climate change, such that deforestation and soil degradation released greenhouse gases, while the disruption of water bodies altered local climates.

‘These changes manifest as more frequent and severe weather events, un
predictable rainfall patterns, and rising temperatures. The impact on agriculture is profound, with farmers facing reduced yields and increased vulnerability to climate-related shocks. This threatens food security and livelihoods, particularly in rural areas,’ she added.

The Professor said there was the need to strengthen regulations and enforcement, promote sustainable mining practices, provide alternative livelihoods, raise awareness, and educate, invest in research and innovation, and foster collaboration to address this menace.

‘As we celebrate the DSRA, let us commit to harnessing our scientific knowledge and collective will to protect our environment. The fight against this issue is not just for the Government or environmentalists, but for all,’ she added.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghanaian Pilgrims congratulate Hajj Board for excellent job done

Some Pilgrims who embarked on this year’s Hajj in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have commended the Ghana Hajj Board for their efforts in ensuring incident-free and excellent welfare for all Ghanaians who performed the Hajj.

The Pilgrims, who had just returned from Saudi Arabia described the work of the Hajj Board as excellent as they had taken good care of them.

Hajj is a compulsory pilgrimage to be undertaken at least for once in a lifetime, by every Muslim, as long as he or she is healthy and can afford it.

For it to count, a Muslim’s journey must take place within the month of Dhu’l-Hijja, the 12th, and final month of the Islamic calendar.

Alhaji Sani Usman Sofo Salaga, who just returned from the Hajj in Mecca, speaking to the Ghana News Agency, expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the Hajj Board and the Vice President, for his unwavering support, which enabled them to perform their religious obligations with ease.

He said the provision of two meals a day for each participant was a welcoming relief
for many pilgrims.

This, according to him, was an indication of the Board’s commitment to their welfare and hoped the next government would continue the gesture.

Another Muslim, Alhajia Sahadatu Abdul Salam, personally would encourage the citizens who had the intention of embarking on Pilgrim next year to use the routes of the Ghana Hajj Board.

She, however, stressed the need for the Hajj Board to consider flying their passengers earlier to avoid unnecessary pressure.

Alhaji Salami Bamba, a communication team member for the Hajj Board, told GNA that the welfare of Pilgrims this year was well calculated and hence the satisfaction from Pilgrims.

He said, the Pilgrims had received value-for-money services from the Hajj Board and that it was their expectation that they would propagate the good works of the Hajj Board.

Alhaji Bamba said the successful pilgrimage through the Ghana Hajj Board, was orchestrated by the Vice President, Dr. Bawumia and that, his commitment to the welfare of Ghanaian citizens, both
at home and abroad was a testament to his leadership and dedication to public service.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Maame Hagan inaugurated new Rotary District 9104 Governor

Florence Maame Hagan has been officially inaugurated as the new District Governor (DG) of Rotary International District 9104, succeeding Past District Governor David Osei Amankwah Jnr.

The inauguration marked a significant milestone as DG Hagan became the second District Governor of District 9104, which gained its district status on July 1, 2023.

DG Hagan outlined her vision for the coming year, emphasizing the importance of high ethical standards and long-term impact.

She said: ‘Our goal is to make a lasting difference in our communities and beyond, through meaningful actions and collaborations.’

Her leadership aims to align with Rotary International’s theme for the year, ‘The Magic of Rotary.’

Her one-year term will prioritise action on improving lives, and cultivating a brighter, more peaceful world free from polio.

At the event, the new District Governor Maame Hagan, District Governor Maame Hagan resonated with Rotary International’s theme, ‘The Magic of Rotary,’ because it embodies the essence of R
otary’s ‘Service above Self.’

She emphasized that the magic lies within each Rotarian and their actions. ‘Your dedication, donations, and volunteerism fuel the positive changes we create. Without them, progress stagnates, and dreams remain unfulfilled.’

District Governor Maame Hagan expressed gratitude for the unwavering commitment to Rotary’s ideals, international understanding, community development, and the pursuit of peace and polio eradication. She challenged everyone to elevate their Rotary experience by maximizing impact, expanding reach, and adapting to fuel growth.

She highlighted the district’s achievements in polio eradication (‘Project 50 Lives’), vaccine access (‘Solar Vaccine Project’), and environmental sustainability (‘Rotary Greens Ghana’) as testaments to Rotary’s power.

‘These initiatives serve as models for even greater impact in the coming year,’ the new DG said.

Under DG Hagan’s leadership, District 9104 aims to continue its impactful service projects that address critical areas suc
h as education, environmental sustainability, water and sanitation, and youth development.

District 9104, comprising 66 Rotary clubs and 50 Rotaract clubs with over 3,000 members, is set to expand its membership by 200 and form five new clubs in the upcoming year. The district will also focus on empowering young girls, enhancing mental health awareness, and continuing the fight against polio.

Highlights of the district’s achievements include the successful launch of ‘Rotary Greens Ghana,’ a tree-planting initiative, and the Solar Vaccine Shelter Project, which provides essential vaccine storage solutions in remote communities.

Maame is a distinguished Rotarian with over two decades of dedicated service, has made notable contributions to the Rotary Club of Accra-East and the wider Rotary community.

Her journey with Rotary began in November 1999, under the mentorship of PP Edwin Sam. Throughout her tenure, DG Hagan has held various key leadership positions, including President, Secretary, and Director of mu
ltiple service avenues. Her commitment and excellence have earned her recognition as Rotarian of the Year twice.

Florence Maame Hagan’s extensive professional background, including over 30 years of experience in legal practice and her role as the managing partner of Hagan Law Company, further strengthens her leadership capabilities.

She is a respected member of the Ghana Bar Association, Ghana Arbitration Centre, and the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA).

Mr. Annan Arkyin Cato, Diplomat and former Ghana’s High Commissioner in London, who was the Guest of Honour, praised Rotary’s remarkable service to communities worldwide.

He admitted that his initial lack of familiarity with Rotary turned into deep appreciation as his career brought him in contact with many Rotarians. Witnessing their work firsthand sparked his curiosity about Rotary’s impact.

Through Rotary, Mr. Cato said he discovered a profound truth-that humanity shares a core desire for peace, prosperity, and happiness, regardless of backgro

He said Rotary serves as a powerful tool that aligns with these universal aspirations.

‘The fact that this belief drives Rotary’s noble goals truly inspires me,’ he said, adding, ‘May this commitment to service continue to be the cornerstone of Rotary.’

Mr. Cato emphasized that public service within Rotary is not contingent on wealth, but rather on dedication and a passion for helping others

Commenting on Rotary’s new theme, ‘The Magic of Rotary,’ Mr. Cato stated: ‘I see this as a call to further strengthen your collaborative efforts and partnerships in serving society.

‘Remember, Rotary is more than just an organization; it’s a global movement, a force for good that makes a positive difference. You bring peace, foster partnerships and fellowship among professionals, eradicate diseases like polio, and empower young leaders to protect our planet.’

The ceremony at Labadi Beach Hotel was attended by esteemed guests, Rotarians, and partners, who celebrated the accomplishments of Past District Governor
David Osei Amankwah Jnr. and welcomed the new era of leadership and service under DG Hagan.

Rotary International District 9104 is part of a global network of Rotary clubs dedicated to providing humanitarian service and advancing goodwill.

The district, which includes clubs from Ghana, focuses on key areas such as peacebuilding, disease prevention, literacy, water sanitation, economic development, and maternal and child health.

Source: Ghana News Agency