The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles on Monday urged Ghana to leverage its active role in the Commonwealth and its influence in Africa to lead the fight to mitigate the effect of the climate change phenomenon.
Noting the frightening statistics on the climate change occurrence, he said if viable actions were not taken to address the issue, which had impacted negatively on many Commonwealth countries, it would place an economic burden on and a threat to future generations.
Prince Charles made the call when he delivered a public lecture on the theme: “The Commonwealth- Towards a Common Future”, at the Accra International Conference Centre, as part of activities marking his four-day visit to Ghana.
He said it was profoundly worrying that the effects of climate change had changed the demographics and economic fortunes of many countries, leading to food insecurity and mass migration of millions of people.
Prince Charles thought that though numerous instances of the impact of climate abound, such as rising oceans, hurricanes, heat waves, floods and cyclones, the Commonwealth of Nations could still join hands and share best practices to arrest the situation.
“There is, it seems to me, tremendous potential for the Commonwealth to share best practice and coordinate its response to these kind of disasters” Prince Charles said.
The event was attended by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor and John Dramani Mahama, and a host of dignitaries and people from various walks of life.
Prince Charles further urged countries to work to tackle the underlying causes which meant, among other things, establishing the proper price for carbon and addressing the polluter pays principles, underscoring the need for recyclable products, and incentives to address the issue of dumping of tons of plastic waste in the ocean.
“We must find a way to protect and conserve our ocean and develop a truly sustainable approach to the blue economy,” he said and indicated that the approach would protect the ecosystem and stimulate economic growth.
The Prince of Wales noted that with a population of some two billion people in the Commonwealth of Nations, and with 60 percent of that number being youth under 30 years, there was need to transform the challenges of the Commonwealth into opportunities for the benefit of its citizens.
“We need to empower young people through personal development programme, and skills training. These provide tremendous opportunities for our people,” he said.
On the history between the United Kingdom and Ghana, Prince Charles said though past of both nations were intertwined, it was regrettable that there had been dark spots in the history of the two countries including slave trade, ‘Britain can be proud that it later led the way in the abolition of these shameful trade. We have a responsibility to ensure that the abject horror of slavery is never forgotten.”
Ghana and the UK, he said, now enjoyed dynamic partnership and “we share the same language, the same legal system, same values and a strong trading relationship,” adding that, the UK had, over the years, impacted positively on Ghana’s economy.
He was proud of the comportment of Ghanaians in the UK, whom he noted had contributed immensely to the economy of the UK, in the health, education, sports and security sectors of the country.