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Ghana Outlines Blue Print For Sustainable Development   
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Ms. Sherry Ayittey, the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, on Thursday called for the pursuit of initiatives that would promote sustainable production and consumption of renewable and non-renewable resources.

This will enable the country to reduce its poverty levels, achieve middle income status and attain the Millennium Development Goals. "Ghana is endowed with renewable and non-renewable resources. Whilst our renewable resources are under serious threat from degradation, our non-renewable resources would not last forever so Ghana has to lay a good foundation for a sustainable future," she said.

Ms. Ayittey was speaking at the opening of a capacity building and awareness raising workshop for preparation of Ghana's Sustainable Development Action Plan (SDAP).

Participants at the two-day Accra workshop would define the structures that would guide the nation's consumption and production concept in sectors including agriculture, transportation, tourism, waste management, housing, energy, water and construction.

She said under the Natural Resources Environmental Governance (NREG) programme, the government was adapting and pursuing policies which would help manage these resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

"It is in this light that the development of Ghana's SDAP hinges on sustainable consumption and production concept.

"The concept is cross-cutting and embraces all segments of society, from individuals to groups, from rural communities to cities, among children through youth groups to the elderly in our societies. We are all involved in the consumption and production of goods and services which ultimately create environmental problems."

Ms. Ayittey called for the mainstreaming of sustainable consumption and production issues in key sectoral policies, plans and programmes of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as the programmes and activities of non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

She said economic, environmental and social benefits that could be derived from adopting sustainable production and consumption practices include the construction of energy efficient buildings.

"Buildings are said to be responsible for 30-40 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and we as a nation can reduce gas emissions and the cost of household energy by 80 per cent if energy efficient buildings are constructed," she added.

Ms. Ayittey said the adoption of clean and efficient technologies could lead to the improvement in vehicle fuel economy, reduction in pollution levels as well as the creation of new jobs through the use of renewable energy.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 made sustainable consumption and production part of the international agenda.

She urged Ghanaians to cultivate the culture of patronizing made-in-Ghana goods as their small way of contributing to the growth and development of local industries.

Ms Ayittey said such interventions would help reduce importation of foreign products and create employment for the local people.

She advised those who have developed the taste for foreign products to change their perception of referring to Ghanaian products as inferior because this was not true.

Ms Ayittey said government would soon roll out a project to enable the small and medium scale sector to have access to credit facilities, create a one-stop market for made in Ghana products and make the sector the engine growth of the economy.

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