11:32 am - Monday May 28, 2012

Health, Environment And Safety Conference And Exhibition

According to Vulnerability Assessment Studies carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most sensitive sectors of the economy such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, water resources, energy production, health, and tourism, among others, are under the threat of climate change.

epaClimate change – one of the greatest complex development challenges in modern history – has, no doubt, imposed an added burden on development, with the greatest impact on poor countries and their peoples.

Thus, from all indications, the potential danger of climate change is bound to adversely affect the mainstays of human and social development namely, health, environment, education and safety.

Changing weather patterns are impacting on food production and species migration while fresh water scarcity risks are becoming more acute in drought stricken areas with the possible consequences of flooding in coastal communities.

As a major contribution to the Ghana shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) as well as providing overall strategic direction for co-ordinating climate change activities in Ghana, therefore, Government has developed a National Climate Change Policy Framework (NCCPF).

In addition, training is also expected to be carried out in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to integrate climate change and disaster risk reduction into National Development Planning and Budgeting processes.

To ensure long-term and sustainable approach in addressing climate change adaptation in the country, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), and the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), has also developed a tool – the National Climate Change adaptation Strategy (NCCAS) to facilitate the mainstreaming of climate change and disaster risks issues into sectoral and district planning processes.

Other areas in which extensive work has been done by the EPA are Technology Needs Assessment (TNA) to climate change adaptation, smart agriculture and energy-efficient building initiatives under the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAS) process of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). And, indeed, the African Adaptation Strategy (AAP) -Ghana is a product of the national climate change and adaptation strategy.

The AAP seeks to support Integrated and comprehensive approaches to climate change adaptation in Ghana by developing capacity and financing options for mainstreaming climate change adaptation in Ghana, with a focus on early-warning systems.

Building climate resilience in Ghana, however, requires partnership and collaboration as well as huge financial investments that need public and private support.

It is for this reason that Ministries of Health, Environment, Science and Technology, and Employment and Social Welfare are facilitating the organization of the 2nd National Health, Environment and Safety Conference and Exhibition (CONFEX) 2012 which is scheduled to be held from May 16 to May 19, 2012.

The National Health, Environment and Safety Conference and Exhibition, first launched in October 2010 by His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, Vice President of the republic of Ghana, is one most important public-private partnership initiative which aims to reduce the impact of climate change on the most vulnerable people. The initiative is geared towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals MDGs 4,5,6,7 and 8 within the framework of National Development Planning Policy.

CONFEX 2012 is being held on the theme: “A healthy environmental governance framework – A quest for enhanced private sector productivity for job creation, industrial safety and national wellness”.

The initiative thus aims to reduce by two-thirds, under-five and infant (under-one) mortality rate as well as have all one-year olds immunised against measles by 2015, improve maternal health by reducing by three-quarters maternal mortality ratio by 2015, achieve by 2015, universal access to reproductive health, and combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases by 2015.

The initiative is also aimed at ensuring environmental sustainability, by reversing the loss of environmental resources; reducing biodiversity loss; halving by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation; and achieving a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers.

Furthermore, the initiative aims to achieve the goal of developing a global partnership for development, targeting good governance and poverty reduction both nationally and internationally.

Under the goal of ensuring environmental sustainability, the initiative, under the 39 project for Biodiversity and job creation, seeks to address the vulnerabilities of climate change by planting 7 million trees by the year 2020.

Indeed, CONFEX 2012 is expected to lead to the planting of 5,000 seedlings including mango, tropical as well as ornamental and shady trees, while 1,000,000 seedlings will be planted next year – in progress towards the 7 million target.

With a strong drive for improvement of sanitation, the initiative also targets to build 4,000 toilet facilities across different communities and district by 2015, while 250 health posts (each post having an 8-seater toilet facility) will also be constructed to provide access to child care, maternal health and thediseases management project under MDG 4, 5 and 6.

Another project under the initiative is the Health and Safety Emergency Care which aims to promote occupational, domestic and industrial safety in the workplace and at the community level. Under this project, stakeholders will be encouraged to promote much more Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the environment in which they operate and clubs set up in institutions to promote emergency care and safety programmes.

There is also the Agriculture, i.e., Food Nutrition and Beverages Project which aims to promote good nutrition for child care and maternal health as provided for in MDG 4 and 5. The initiative is also promoting the proper use of ambulances in all districts as well as the use of motorized tricycles in villages in support of child and maternal health, old age, health, safety and environmental sustainability. In addition, mobile clinics, rail transport and fire services will also be provided in all districts, The project is also initiating a drive towards specialized technology where individuals have access to medical attention and information, using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for national guide and in support of child and maternal health. This project is known as the E-health and M-health/mobile HES.

Indeed, there is also the ICT platform/entrepreneurship – a job creation and skills development agenda especially for graduate unemployment while Primary, Junior High and Senior High Schools graduates will also be encouraged to build capacity.

Over 2,000 participants, 2,000 students, 100 exhibitors, ministers of state, ambassadors, chief executives, United Nations officials and more than 2,000 visitors and targeted groups are expected to patronize the event.

It is being organized by Maximum Growth Africa Limited which has Mr. Francis A. Kwaidoo as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

COFEX 2012 is a platform for stakeholders with expert knowledge and information dissemination for productivity, product launches, and workshop for youth development, exhibition and the marketing of efforts towards CSR through Public-Private Partnership.

The four-day Conference and Exhibition will, therefore, provide an opportunity for public-private partnership for job creation, environmental sustainability and national development. The platform will also explore future business opportunities among stakeholders including access to sustainable financial resources to address socio-economic problems. It will also examine how local and international partners can seek efficiencies in productivity in products, services and results and use the business growth module to encourage job creation. A percentage of proceeds will go into the Maximum Growth Foundation in support of the environment, sanitation, health and safety.

CONFEX 2012 is being promoted by Rev Sam Korankye Ankrah, Apostle-General of the Royal House Chapel International, with non-governmental organizations, the academia, civil society, religious bodies, the public and private sectors as well as the international community as collaborators.

It is anticipated that the required support will be provided by way of investment in the key climatic areas of health, environment, education and safety in order to achieve effective results within the targeted time frame and thus promote adaptation and mitigation measures to confront the impact of climate change and environmental degradation and ensure human and social development.

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