CLIMATE CHANGE COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION
2. Climate change education and training in the country
3. Climate change communication in the country
i. Climate change context
Ghana is located in West Africa, with a coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. The population is over 31 million. According to the World Bank, Ghana is vulnerable to droughts, coastal erosion, floods, and landslides. In its 4th National Communication (2020), Ghana reports that climate change has hit small-scale farmers because they lack adequate resources and support to build climate resilience.
According to the Global Carbon Atlas, Ghana is a low-emitting country. The 2020 data show that Ghana has carbon emissions of 0.5 t CO2 per person. The largest emitting sources are land and forestry activities.
Ghana ratified the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Communication (UNFCCC) in 1995 and is a Non-Annex I Party. The country ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2003, the Doha Amendment in 2013, and the Paris Agreement in 2016.
ii. Relevant government agencies
There exist several government agencies with respective mandates to address the adverse impacts of climate change and build resilience to climate risks. The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation promotes sustainable environmental management and the adoption and application of science and technological innovations. The Ministry formulates policies and monitors and evaluates the implementation of sector plans, programs, and projects for national development. The Ministry’s vision is “Sustainable Development of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation for all” (n.p.). The Ministry hosts the National Climate Change Committee, which is a multisectoral task force on climate change.
Ghana’s lead government agency in climate change is the Environmental Protection Agency under the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation. The Agency is responsible for “regulating the environment and ensuring the implementation of Government policies on the environment” (n.p.). The Agency is responsible for technical coordination in the implementation of climate programs and facilitates the preparation of international climate change reports in collaboration with sector ministries. The Agency is the UNFCCC’s National Focal Point and the Ministry is the National Designated Authority for the Clean Development Mechanism. The Agency is also the focal point for international bodies such as the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network, and is the Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) Focal Point for Ghana. It is therefore the key reference point for climate change in Ghana for national and international climate change programs and activities.
The National Development Planning Commission guides Ghana’s development through short-, medium-, and long-term national development policies and plans. It was established under Articles 86 and 87 of the 1992 Constitution. The Commission and the Ministry of Finance have critical roles in mainstreaming climate change issues into national development plans and in mobilizing climate finance.
The Environmental Development Department works on the built and natural environments. Built environment reflects spatial planning and the infrastructure that defines it. The natural environment is made up principally of land and forest, water bodies, mineral resources, and the atmosphere. Their preservation influences the processes of social and economic development. The environmental dimension in Ghana focuses on issues including climate variability and change.
For mobilization of finance from international sources, the Ministry of Finance is the National Designated Authority for the Green Climate Fund. The Ministry ensures effective economic policy management to achieve macroeconomic stability and sustainable economic growth through sound fiscal policy and efficient public financial management. The Ministry established a National Resources, Environment and Climate Change Unit that oversees, coordinates, and manages financing and support for natural resources, climate change, and green economy activities. The Unit also coordinates all forms of support (domestic and international) to climate change-related activities in Ghana.
The Ministry of Land and Natural Resources ensures the sustainable management and use of lands, forests, and wildlife resources, and the management of mineral resources for socio-economic growth and development. The Ministry provides leadership and guidance through policy formulation, market regulation, and asset management. The Ministry runs the Forest Investment Programme (2010). This targeted program under the Strategic Climate Fund of the Climate Investment Fund finances country-specific efforts to address the underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation and to overcome barriers that have hindered past efforts. It also aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the land use, land-use change and forestry sectors in Ghana.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture focuses on climate change issues with projects on climate-smart agriculture. The Ministry is responsible for transforming Ghana’s agricultural practices in tandem with contemporary environmental concerns, especially climate change. The Crop Services Directorate under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is leading implementation of the National Climate-Smart Agriculture Action Plan for the sector. The Climate Change Unit at the Forestry Commission is the National REDD+ secretariat.
The Ministry of Energy is responsible for implementing, monitoring, and evaluating energy policies, and for supervising and coordinating energy sector agencies. The Energy Commission is a key institution under the Ministry and is responsible for promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy and for collecting and analyzing energy data for policy advisory and planning purposes. At the Energy Commission, the Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Climate Change Division oversees the energy and climate change issues in the sector.
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is responsible for ensuring good governance and balanced and equitable development at the local level within a decentralized environment. The Ministry aims for good governance of urban and rural communities through formulating policies and plans and coordinating, monitoring and evaluating programs. The Ministry facilitates the involvement of local governments in national climate change activities and fosters effective spatial planning to support climate resilience.
The mission of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources is to formulate and implement policies, plans, and programs for sustainable management of Ghana’s water resources. The Ministry is responsible for providing 1) safe, adequate, and affordable water and 2) environmental sanitation facilities with effective and sustainable management of liquid and solid waste for the well-being of all people living in Ghana.
The Forestry Research Institute of Ghana is one of the 13 institutes of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, mandated to undertake research on forests, forest products, and related areas and to disseminate and commercialize research outputs and services in Ghana. The Institute undertakes research, builds capacity, and promotes the application of technologies for sustainable management of Ghana’s forest resources for the benefit of society. The Institute publishes annual reports. For example, the research outputs and outcomes for the 2019 report are grouped under four broad research themes: Food Security & Poverty Reduction; Climate Change, Environmental Management & Green Technology; Material Science and Manufacturing; and Science and People. Most importantly, the report also highlights education on climate change and sustainability and raising awareness in schools to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Ghana’s Meteorological Agency is responsible for weather communication and for early warnings about impending natural disasters such as floods and storms due to climate change. The Agency is key in climate change communication, making the public aware of environmental issues such as climate change and making informed decisions for disaster risk management.
Education and communication
The Ministry of Education is committed to formulating and implementing policies to ensure quality and accessible education to all Ghanaians, equipping them with the requisite skills to achieve human development, good health, poverty reduction, national integration, and international recognition. The Ministry has two important arms, the Ghana Education Service (for pre-primary, primary, and secondary education) and the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (for higher education). The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment is responsible for curriculum development and assessment management. The Ministry is engaged and committed to mainstreaming education in school curricula and partners with stakeholders to reach its aims.
The Ghana Education Service is responsible for implementing approved national pre-tertiary education policies and programs to ensure that all children, irrespective of tribe, gender, disability, or religious or political affiliations, receive inclusive and equitable quality formal education.
The Institute of Green Growth Solutions, is a non-governmental organization and a policy think-tank that works on sustainable solutions in Ghana. The Institute supports the government and provides guidance on climate change communication and education.
The Ghana Wildlife Society is a non-governmental, non-political, and non-profit conservation organization with the mission to conserve wildlife in all forms to ensure a better environment and improve all people’s quality of life. The Society publishes annual reports, such as the 2019-2020 report, that are environmentally driven with references to climate change-related issues.
A Rocha Ghana is an environmental non-governmental organization providing conservation interventions that contribute to sustainable management of important ecological habitats. This organization also initiates programs to facilitate the community’s ability to adapt to climate change and the impacts of a changing natural environment. The organization runs several initiatives and projects related to climate change communication and education.
iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans
Several pieces of government legislation mandate different government agencies to support climate change adaptation and mitigation. Ghana’s National Development Planning System Act of 1994 mandates bringing issues of climate change to the fore in sector and local medium development plans and activities. Ghana also enacted the Renewable Energy Act of 2011 to help phase away from energy sources that contribute to climate change.
In 2011, Ghana launched the Ghana Plan of Action for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, a response to the United Nations recommendation for nations to establish platforms for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. The Plan supports using knowledge, innovation, and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels. The Plan notes that a national strategy was developed to raise public awareness for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. The strategy trained actors and influencers on the Plan’s concepts, held regular campaigns at national, regional, and district levels and helped schools and academic institutions gradually incorporate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into their everyday curricular or extracurricular activities.
Ghana also has the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2012) to strengthen climate resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change. The Strategy claims that climate change education in the school curriculum is inadequate and calls for policy and budgetary allocations for climate change research and education. The Strategy intends to “Deepen awareness and sensitization for the general populace, particularly policy makers, about adaptation’s critical role in national development efforts” (p. 5).
The National Climate Change Policy (2013), developed by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, guides climate actions throughout Ghana. The Policy is part of national sustainable development priorities. It provides a clearly defined pathway for dealing with the challenges of climate change within the current socio-economic context of Ghana. It looks ahead to the opportunities and benefits of a green economy. The Policy has three focuses: effective adaptation, social development, and mitigation. The Policy made information, communication, and education systemic pillars for climate actions in Ghana.
The Ghana National Climate Change Master Plan Action Programmes for Implementation 2015-2020 (2015), developed by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, guides the national development planning framework to ensure that Ghana has a climate-resilient economy to provide low-carbon development. This Master Plan is divided into 10 program areas, including gender issues, remote communities, and farmers. The Master Plan emphasizes climate change education to raise public awareness of climate change and adaptation response options.
Ghana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (2016), developed by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, provides a consistent set of policy objectives and strategies to guide the implementation of enhanced mitigation measures in Ghana. The Strategy recognizes an expressed need for Ghana to reduce its carbon footprint and adopt climate-friendly development projects. The Strategy highlights the importance of sensitization and education on low-carbon development.
The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2016) developed by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation aims to pursue effective policies, regulations, and programs that would ensure that biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored, and wisely used to maintain ecosystem services. This would sustain life support services and promote the continuous and equitable flow of benefits to all Ghanaians. The Action Plan encompasses 10 national action areas, including climate action. The Action Plan notes the role of public awareness and education as essential for ensuring the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components.
Ghana’s National Adaptation Plan Framework (2018), developed by the Environmental Protection Agency, proposes a sector-based approach to climate change adaptation planning in Ghana. The objectives of the Framework process are:
- to reduce vulnerability to the adverse impacts of climate change by building adaptive capacity and resilience; and
- to facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation into fiscal, regulatory, and development policies, programs, and activities (p. 1).
The National Adaptation Plan recognizes the role of civil society organizations in education and awareness-raising, evidence-based research, and monitoring and evaluating adaptation efforts at all levels in Ghana.
The Ghana Renewable Energy Master Plan (2019), developed by the Ministry of Energy, aims at increasing the proportion of renewable energy. This Master Plan calls for promoting public education and awareness on renewable energy technologies and an intensive awareness-raising campaign on the benefits of energy efficiency and conservation.
The Climate Smart Agriculture Investment Plan (2020), developed by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, focuses on climate-smart agriculture technologies that offer the most potential to increase productivity and enhance household incomes in agriculture, considering climate change. The Plan also provides opportunities to build the agricultural system’s resilience and ensures that future agriculture practices do not follow a path of environmental destruction. However, the Plan does not mention climate change education.
Education and communication
Ghana has a Right to Information Act (2019) to “bolster the flow of climate information to the wider society” (p. 279). The Act stipulates that people should be provided with relevant information to help them make informed decisions about their interactions with their natural environment. The Act further highlights that only a society with accurate information on climate change can develop climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.
The Background Report Climate Change Learning Strategy in Ghana (2015), developed by the Institute of Green Growth Solutions, a non-governmental think tank and supported by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, aims to ensure that all sections of the population acquire the knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes necessary to develop the needed responsible environmental behavior that fosters environmentally positive changes in society. The Strategy also aims at developing appropriate education and public awareness programs on climate change.
The Climate Change and Green Economy Learning Strategy (2016), developed by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, aims at mainstreaming climate change and green economy principles into national decision making and to be a critical tool in implementing Ghana’s Nationally Determined Contributions. The Learning Strategy helps mobilize resources for training, education, and public awareness and increases capacity building through the national budget and other internal and external sources. The Strategy’s development is one of Ghana’s milestones in promoting climate change in school curricula and public programs. Based on the Learning Strategy, a new Basic school curriculum (2022) that includes climate change has been approved.
The National Teacher Education Curriculum Framework (2017), developed by the Ministry of Education, is the main policy for transforming teacher education. It specifies the essential elements required for a teacher education program to train the teachers needed for inclusive, equitable, and high-quality education for all. The Framework mentions that teacher education systems face challenges in adequately preparing teachers for the current global realities brought about by environmental challenges, but makes no other reference to climate change or the environment.
Ghana’s Education Strategic Plan (2018–2030), developed by the Ministry of Education, sets out the vision and policies for realizing the ambition of transforming Ghana into a ‘learning nation.’ One of the Plan’s aspirations is to develop a relevant curriculum that encourages necessary life skills such as climate change management. For effective coordination and implementation of the reform initiatives, the Ministry set up the National Education Reform Secretariat in December 2018, with the sole responsibility of facilitating implementation of key reforms under the Plan, the Minister’s Results Framework, and the manifesto commitments of the government.
The Education Sector Medium-Term Development Plan 2018-2021 (2018), developed by the Ministry of Education, recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of the current system. This Plan describes strategies to address the challenges to give every Ghanaian child the opportunity to succeed and contribute to national development. The Plan mentions that among its policy objectives is providing life-skills training and management for the environment, sanitation, and climate change and incorporating green technologies and environmental sustainability practices into the curriculum.
The Ghanaian National Pre-Tertiary Education Curriculum Framework (2018), developed by the Ministry of Education, is the policy guideline for reviewing and revising the school curriculum. The Framework conceptualizes standards and learning outcomes to be captured in subject curricula. The Framework emphasizes the need to “Instill in learners the importance of making responsible choices regarding the environment and climate.” (p. 20) In the Framework, climate change is mainstreamed along with the green economy discourse. This means that one of the curriculum aims is to build learners’ necessary knowledge that encourages climate actions to foster sustainable growth and development.
iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Education and Communication
Terms for climate change communication and education differ in Ghana, depending on the context. Most government laws, policies, and plans on climate change refer to climate change communication and education in terms of action required for citizens to be aware of environmental circumstances and take necessary measures for adaptation and mitigation. For example, Ghana’s National Climate Change Policy (2013) refers to ‘climate change communication’ in relation to providing information and to awareness raising. The Policy uses the term ‘climate change education’ precisely to include “The integration of climate change into the curricula of formal, non-formal as well as informal education programmes” (p. 14).
Ghana uses different terms for climate change communication and education in the education sector. Ghana’s Education Strategic Plan (2018) emphasizes providing life-skills training for managing climate change actions. The National Curriculum Framework (2018; known locally as the National Pre-tertiary Education Curriculum Framework) refers to climate change education in terms of “Learners have the sense of making responsible choices regarding the environment and climate” (p. 68). The National Curriculum Framework uses the terms ‘sustainable environmental management’ and ‘environmental awareness’ in reference to climate change education.
Ghana employs action-oriented terms for climate change communication and education in international reporting. For example, Ghana’s 4th National Communication (2020) refers to climate change communication and education for environmental learning, public access to information, and awareness of climate change. Ghana’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) employs such terms as ‘environmental awareness’ and ‘environmental learning’ for climate change communication and education.
v. Budget for climate change education and communication
According to the World Bank, Ghana spends around 4% of its gross domestic product on education, which is low compared to other African countries. The national education budget for Ghana does not indicate an allocation for climate change education. Budget allocations for climate change communication and education come from both internal and external financial sources. For example, from 2011-2019, Ghana received and mobilized US$ 1,312,094,437 for climate change actions (4th National Communication, 2020).
According to Ghana’s Climate Change and Green Economy Learning Strategy (2016), the country intends to spend US$ 103,073,000 between 2020 and 2029 on climate change communication and education programs. This expenditure is expected to come from Ghana’s government and its climate change partners.
Ghana’s Adaptation Finance Tracking Report (2020) aims to assess if reporting by multilateral and bilateral donors on adaptation finance is reliable (amounts reported are reasonably accurate). The Report assessed 20 projects, including the 10 projects with the highest funding received by Ghana, between 2013 and 2017. This report indicates that the three largest providers of climate finance to Ghana are the European Union institutions (excluding the European Investment Bank), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the United States. The Report also mentions that 405 climate-related projects were supported in Ghana in 2013–2017, with total commitments of US$ 776 million. In 2017, US$ 277 million of those commitments was dedicated to 104 projects. However, the Report makes no reference to climate change communication and education.
Ghana is also supported by the Green Climate Fund to implement climate change adaptation and mitigation projects. Currently, Ghana is implementing six projects on climate change with funding of US$ 11 million (GHS 90.1 million) under the Green Climate Fund.
i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education
The Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service, the National Council for Curriculum, and the Environmental Protection Agency are responsible for incorporating climate change issues into school curricula and for links to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13: Climate Action.
Ghana’s Education Strategic Plan (2018-2030) and the Climate Change and Green Economy Learning Strategy (2016) state that the quest for improved education quality should include climate change issues at pre-primary, primary, and secondary levels of education. The National Curriculum Framework (2019) notes that climate change is a contemporary issue that must be included as a core competence in subject curricula. Curriculum development should aim to “Ensure the provision of life-skills training and management for the areas of personal hygiene, fire safety, environment, sanitation and climate change” (National Curriculum Framework, 2019, p. 8). Thus, the Framework focuses on cognitive learning dimensions of climate change. A description of the types of climate change-related keywords discussed in the curricula may be found in the MECCE Project Monitoring section of this profile.
The National Curriculum Framework guides the National Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS) for Children in Kindergarten 1 and 2 (2016). A key standard is Standard 11: Develop awareness of the natural environment and how it can be protected under the Social and Emotional Development curriculum. As a performance indicator, learners aged 2–4 years should “participate in efforts to protect the environment” (2016, p. 8). Similarly, Standard 5: Learn about earth and sky under the Science curriculum encourages pre-primary children to “observe and discuss changes in the environment including weather and seasonal changes” (2016, p. 20).
Subject curricula are derived from and align with the National Curriculum Framework (2019) for primary education. In these subject curricula, climate change issues are addressed in response to the contemporary needs of society in light of global problems. For example, the Science Curriculum for Primary Schools (Basic 1-3) (2019) has climate change as one of its focuses under the ‘Human and the Environment’ strand. The strand intends for lower primary school learners to “Understand that climate change is an important environmental issue affecting the world today.” (Science Curriculum for Primary Schools (Basic 1-3), 2019, p. 34). The Science Curriculum for Primary Schools (Basic 4-6) (2019) intends for upper primary school learners to understand the effects of climate change to take responsible actions for protecting the environment. Issues of the environment in general and climate change in particular are seldom stipulated in other subject curricula.
For secondary education, climate change issues are mainly addressed through the Integrated Science curriculum, in which Environmental Studies is a subject. The National Curriculum Framework (2019) recognizes that lower and upper secondary subjects can make learners aware of and act against environmental problems such as climate change. Many secondary school subjects, including those oriented to science and the environment, indicate the environment and climate change as topics for study but largely in cognitive and social learning dimensions.
The Forestry Research Institute of Ghana has run a schools outreach program, Climate Change and Environmental Sensitization Campaign among Basic Schools in Ghana, to create awareness and educate students and youth on climate change, its causes and effects, and what could be done to adapt to and mitigate adverse effects. The Campaign highlights the importance of forests and trees and their role in climate change mitigation. A team of seasoned research scientists, technologists, and technicians from the Institute who know and understand climate change issues carry out this Campaign. Within the Kumasi and Ejisu municipalities, at least seven schools have benefited from this outreach. More than 2000 students have been educated since the Campaign began, with 1000 trees planted on school premises. However, the Campaign was suspended in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in multiple restrictions and the closure of schools.
The Trans-African Hydro-Meterological Observatory (TAHMO) Initiative is the Environmental Protection Agency’s program for climate change education in schools. In collaboration with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Delft University of Technology, TAHMO, local non-governmental organizations, students, and traditional authorities launched a weather station at Accra Academy Senior High School. Through this initiative, Ghana increased availability of climate data in schools and sustainable development of agriculture, weather forecasting, and climate modeling in Africa. Up to 2020, the TAHMO initiative has installed more than 20 automatic weather stations. The weather stations are used to 1) encourage and stimulate interest in climate change learning in schools, 2) conduct climate change education in senior high schools, 3) provide data and information for climate change learning, and 4) form climate change clubs to manage weather stations and sustain the program.
A Rocha Ghana runs a school conservation education program to actively engage the intellect and skills of school-age children and youth on issues of environmental concern both locally and globally. Their program focuses on bringing knowledge to students through teachers and parents for exploring their environment, to make effective contributions in identifying and mobilizing themselves to address environmental problems within their schools and communities. The program reaches out to schools at the Basic and High School levels.
According to Deutsche Welle news, Eco-Schools and Young Reporters for the Environment initiatives are gaining momentum in Ghana, where about 30 schools are engaged in both programs. Students get hands-on experience with sustainability, such as waste management — crucial in a land where it is practically non-existent.
Ghana’s 4th National Communication (2020) reports that the country is geared toward incorporating climate change issues in the school curriculum for pre-primary, primary, and secondary education in line with SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being. The Communication states that managing environmental problems such as climate change is crucial in realizing SDG 3 because the effects of climate change threaten people’s health and well-being. The Ghana Education Service is working with the Ministry of Education, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, and other stakeholders to bring contemporary global issues, including climate change, into the education system.
According to the 4th National Communication (2020), “The [Environmental Protection Agency], National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) and Ghana Education Service, has incorporated climate change issues into school curricula. Currently, Climate change is taught as part of the following subjects in lower and upper primary: English Language, Science, Our World and Our People, Creative Arts and Religious and Moral Education” (p. 4).
ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources
The Climate Change Learning Strategy in Ghana (2015) recommends integrating climate change into the teacher education curriculum. In its National Climate Change and Green Economy Learning Strategy (2016), Ghana recognized a need for teachers to understand climate change and obtain relevant teaching resources for their classrooms to help learners in environmental learning.
With financial support from its development partners such as UN CC:Learn, Ghana trained 600 primary school teachers in climate change and the green economy as an implementing activity of the National Climate Change and Green Economy Learning Strategy.
The National Teacher Education Curriculum Framework (2017) does not mention climate change but includes a section on cross-cutting issues:
Teacher education systems face challenges in adequately preparing teachers for the current global realities brought about by the rapid pace of economic, social, technological, and environmental challenges. There is a debate on how these challenges can be overcome. Traditional approaches to teaching and learning that put subject content in ‘silos’ are being challenged by ‘modern’ approaches that enable the student teachers to create a more holistic and integrative environment, one that aids them to become more productive (p. 38).
This statement shows an understanding of teaching beyond subjects and including current global challenges, leaving room for climate change education.
iii. Climate change in higher education
The Ministry of Education is the overall authority over higher education in Ghana. The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission regulates teaching, learning, and research activities in higher education institutions. The Commission has the mandate to recommend new programs and units in tertiary institutions. This mandate aligns with the intentions of the Climate Change and Green Economic Learning Strategy (2016), which indicate a need to promote climate change discourse in higher education curricula and research. However, the National Climate Change Policy (2013) reports that the current capacity for climate change research remains low, especially in universities and their research institutes. This could be attributable to limited incentives and resources for climate change research.
Climate change is not included in Ghana’s Education Strategic Plan (2018–2030) for higher education. However, individual universities make considerable efforts in climate change adaptation and mitigation through academic programs and research. For example, the University of Ghana has a designated Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Studies. This Center offers two postgraduate programs: Master’s of Science in Climate Change and Sustainable Development and Master’s of Philosophy in Climate Change and Sustainable Development. Key modules in these programs include climate change, environmental sustainability, and biodiversity.
The University of Ghana produced a handbook in 2021 to strengthen the resilience of women and other groups facing local climate change impacts and related economic challenges in Ghana’s Volta delta region. The handbook seeks to build women’s adaptive capacities and improve their agricultural activities to become more resilient to the ultimate impacts of climate change. This includes training on alternative livelihoods, business management and marketing, packaging of agricultural products, access to regional markets, crop diversification, adding value to produce, and accessing microfinance for their businesses.
Ghana also has the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, which offers undergraduate programs with specializations that include environmental sustainability and management. The University was created in 2022 in eastern Ghana, in Trom-Somanya in the Yilo Krobo Municipality. The Government of Ghana founded the institution through the Ministry of Education to provide equal access for all to education. Ghana and the Italian government collaborated on establishing this institution. The University will provide strategic leadership on environmental and sustainability issues.
The Environment and Natural Resource Research Initiative is one of the 15 centers under the Environment for Development Initiative. This initiative is hosted by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana and the School of Research and Graduate Studies at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. The Initiative brings together researchers in environmental economics to conduct evidence-based research and advise government and development partners on policies for managing the environment and scarce natural resources.
Ghana’s 4th National Communication (2020) reported that “Seven tertiary institutions in Ghana have introduced climate change courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. The University of Ghana, Legon and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi have introduced graduate programmes on ‘climate change and sustainable development’ and ‘climate science and meteorology’ respectively” (p. 46). The West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use, a climate service center funded by 10 African countries and Germany, has introduced graduate and postgraduate programs on climate change at Kwame Nkrumah University.
iv. Climate change in training and adult learning
According to the National Climate Change Policy (2013), training and adult learning are key in promoting climate change actions in Ghana. The policy states that “there is a need to ensure that women have equal access to training and capacity building programmes to fully participate in climate change initiatives” (p. 10). This entails responses to climate change in training and adult learning in Ghana shaped by specific factors such as gender.
The Ghana Plan of Action for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (2011) calls for organizing training in disaster risk reduction and management of ecosystems for ministries, agencies, and technical personnel. Ghana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (2016) emphasizes the development of training programs on greenhouse gas mitigation assessment. Ghana’s National Adaptation Plan Framework (2018) highlights the importance of including the private sector in workshops and training on writing proposals to secure funding for climate change activities.
Earth Guardians Ghana seeks to educate, raise awareness with, and empower youth in Ghana with knowledge on climate change activities through the ‘Catching them Young: Empowering Young Children to Take Climate Action‘ (2019) project. The main goal of this project is to offer opportunities to acquire the knowledge, values, attitudes, commitment, and skills needed to protect and improve the environment. Participants develop and reinforce new patterns of environmentally sensitive behavior among individuals, groups, and society as a whole for a sustainable environment.
The Ghana National Climate Change Master Plan Action Programmes for Implementation (2015–2020) indicate that adult learning in climate change could be enhanced if non-formal education curricula mainstream climate change issues. This would present opportunities for people who did not have access to formal education to access information and knowledge on climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The 4th National Communication (2020) mentions that training and research into renewable energy is a vital area in most universities and technical institutions in Ghana. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has established The Energy Center, the Technology Consultancy Center, and the Land Use Center to research and promote mitigation technologies in renewable energy and land use. The Energy Center offers studies on policy engagement and organizes short courses in renewable energy.
i. Climate change and public awareness
Public awareness features prominently in Ghana’s climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, as highlighted in the National Climate Change Master Plan Action Programmes for Implementation 2015-2020 (2015) and the Climate Change and Green Economy Learning Strategy (2016).
Ghana’s National Climate Change Policy (2013) recognizes that low public awareness of climate change puts Ghana on the path to future climate change catastrophes. The Policy aims to “improve awareness and provide skills training to ensure preparedness on climate change and adaptation strategies” (p. 67). Ghana’s Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation leads the nation in commemorating events such as World Environment Day, which aims at making the public aware of environmental problems such as climate change and mobilizing efforts for adaptation and mitigation. Ghana’s National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2012) emphasizes the need to “improve societal awareness and preparedness for future climate change” (p. 17).
The Friends of Earth Ghana is a membership organization of around 300 local groups. It was founded in 1986. With more than 15,000 members, including individuals and researchers, it is the largest environmental organization in Ghana. The organization runs several projects, including Climate Change, Adaptation, Poverty and Women Subsistence Farmer (2017). This project aims to raise awareness among women farmers about climate change, its effects on their farming systems, and how they can adapt to its impacts. The project encourages women farmers to share the innovations they use to adapt to changing climates so that other women can benefit from their skills.
The Wildlife Clubs of Ghana celebrated World Environment Day in June 2022 to raise awareness of positive environmental action that protects nature and to make people, government, and organizations responsible for saving the environment. The Wildlife Clubs of Ghana embarked on a clean-up exercise at Mensah Guinea Beach, popularly known as Bola Beach, as one activity to celebrate World Environment Day and spark public interest in conserving water resources.
To reach Ghanian youth, the Forestry Commission launched REDD EYE clubs in 2015 at several schools throughout Ghana. The clubs aim to sensitize youth about climate change and put special focus on a tree-planting program.
The Regional Institute for Population Studies at the University of Ghana holds regular conferences that bring together climate change stakeholders to look at the connection between climate change and population issues.
In its 4th National Communication (2020), Ghana reports that the country is making efforts to increase climate change public awareness through policy and practical actions. Ghana holds a Climate Change Week through the Environmental Protection Agency, with public awareness activities on climate change. Ghana regularly participates in Africa Climate Week, a regional initiative to promote public awareness of climate change. In its updated Nationally Determined Contribution (2021), Ghana recognizes a need to “enhance implementation of climate actions by strengthening the mobilization of public, private and grassroots participation” (p. 8).
ii. Climate change and public access to information
Ghana’s Adaptation Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC; 2021) reported that low access to information had made many Ghanaian communities vulnerable to climate change. The Adaptation Communication updates Ghana’s efforts in promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation, reporting that Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency established a climate change information hub that disseminates climate change-related information to the public. However, whether the information hub is physical or virtual remains unclear.
Ghana’s National Climate Change Master Plan Action Programmes for Implementation 2015-2020 (2015) emphasizes Action 3: 1) promoting the use of information and communications technology and information systems to enhance access to public information on climate change adaptation; 2) developing a strategy to review and update information on past climate change disasters; and 3) creating a website and providing internet facilities for the dissemination and exchange of data and information on climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and environmental sustainability.
The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2016) calls for improving an environmental information management system and creating websites to improve biodiversity information dissemination through an integrated approach. Ghana’s National Climate Change Policy (2013) highlights the importance of access to climate change information.
Ghana’s Renewable Energy Master Plan (2019) states that the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation must coordinate all activities within the energy sector to ensure that departments and agencies share information and experiences and work toward a shared vision Plan.
The internet is seen as one of the most viable tools for public access to information. For example, in its National Climate Change Master Plan Action Programmes for Implementation (2015–2020), Ghana aims to “promote the use of information and communications technology and information systems to enhance access to public information on climate change adaptation” (p. 72). Thus, information and communications technology is regarded as a gateway for public access to information on climate change. Nonetheless, according to the Adaptation Communication (2021) public access to information on climate change remains problematic at the local level and in rural areas where information and communications technology infrastructure is lacking.
The Environmental Protection Agency established an online database, the Climate Change Data Hub, as a climate change information depository. The Hub, with five portals, contains data on policies and measures, and includes a project registry. The Hub also hosts data on the latest greenhouse gas inventory, including activity data, emission factors, inventory results, and all relevant documentation. The project registry contains information about climate actions and effects and financial support received.
The Energy Commission’s database is a one-stop energy data platform managed by the National Energy Data Processing and Information Center. The platform visualizes information on electricity, renewable energy, energy efficiency, natural gas, and petroleum industries in Ghana. The Center’s web page is under construction and will build on the previous Ghana Energy Access Database. The platform supplies information to aid sustainable energy planning in Ghana.
Ghana is one of Care International‘s climate change operation hubs. The Climate Change and Resilience Information Center contains information on the communities in Ghana within Care International’s project areas.
According to the 4th National Communication, the Environmental Protection Agency signed a memorandum of understanding with the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory in 2015, to install automatic weather stations in senior high schools across Ghana. The program’s objective is to make climate data accessible to students and to keep them abreast of changes in the climate and available technology to educate students.
iii. Climate change and public participation
Ghana’s National Climate Change Policy (2013) highlights a key issue: public participation in climate change actions. The Policy aims to ensure that “women have equal access to training and capacity building programmes to ensure their full participation in climate change initiatives” (p. 10). Public participation, public awareness, and public access to information are catalysts for informed climate change adaptation and mitigation practices.
To ensure public participation in climate change actions, Ghana, through the Ministry of Education, introduced a national drawing contest on climate change for schools (4th National Communication, 2020). Such competitions are part of Ghana’s efforts to mobilize entire communities in adaptation and mitigation efforts for climate change.
Ghana’s First Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) were developed using public consultations. Yet, no further information on the inclusion of youth, Indigenous people, or a focus in gender was highlighted in the report.
i. Country monitoring
Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency monitors and regulates climate change responses in the country. The Agency is also tasked with producing national reports on climate change, including national communications for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In its Adaptation Communication to the UNFCCC (2021), Ghana reported that the country established a National Climate Change Committee tasked with “coordinating the planning, implementation and monitoring of climate change policies and programs” (p. 29). Ghana’s updated version of its Nationally Determined Contribution (2021) reports that Ghana takes monitoring and evaluation as the reference framework for restricting climate change responses in the country. However, the reported programs are generally on environmental conservation rather than climate change communication and education.
The Climate Change and Green Economic Learning Strategy (2016) dedicates one chapter to the monitoring, evaluating, and reporting of climate change communication and education in Ghana. The Strategy aims to develop a gender sensitive monitoring system and lists several indicators that will be used to monitor the progress of the Strategy. The indicators include:
- Number of institutions supported and trained for media campaigns and awareness creation
- Improved ability to monitor and report climatic events by students and teachers
- Number of indigenous knowledge applied to resource conservation within different communities
- Number of educational campaigns and local community engagements undertaken (p. 105-106)
The Learning Strategy’s monitoring, evaluation, and reporting mechanism, overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Finance, plans to produce yearly update plans as well as a mid-term evaluation by 2025 and a final evaluation. The Strategy follows the strategic objectives:
- Whether the implementation of the action plans of the strategy has contributed to achieving the overall objectives of the National Climate Change Policy and to what extent.
- Financial and non-financial resources available for the strategy’s implementation.
- To what extent climate change and green economy learning is being implemented at all levels of education.
- Whether the implementation of the strategy has improved the understanding of the general public on the subject of climate change and green economy
- Whether the strategy has attracted the support of most stakeholders such as the local population and development partners. (p. 124)
Some assessments tackle climate change in the education context, although they are not standalone assessments. Ghana’s National Council for Curriculum and Assessment coordinates assessments at both national and regional levels, especially the West African Examination Council. Monitoring and evaluation of climate change education is through science and environment-related subjects with content on climate change.
Ghana’s Voluntary National Review Report on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2019) presents the country’s state of implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 13 on climate change. This Report analyses key actions in implementing the SDGs, progress made, constraints faced, and opportunities to be explored. The Report describes the impact of effective partnerships and shares experiences in sustainable approaches and cooperation among civil society, the private sector, and development agencies.
ii. MECCE Project Monitoring
The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined Ghana’s Education Strategic Plan (2018) and its National Curriculum Framework (2019) for references to ‘climate change,’ ‘environment,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘biodiversity.’
In Ghana’s National Curriculum Framework (2019), ‘climate change’ is mentioned 3 times, ‘environment’ is mentioned 5 times, and ‘sustainability’ is mentioned 16 times, and ‘biodiversity’ is not mentioned.
In the Education Strategic Plan (2018), ‘climate change’ is mentioned once, ‘sustainability’ is mentioned 10 times, and ‘environment’ and ‘biodiversity’ are not mentioned.
This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.
This profile was reviewed by Michael Osei Asibey, Lecturer, Department of Planning, KNUST.