Norwegian Delegation Calls On Environment Minister

A four-member delegation from the Norwegian Embassy and the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment (NMCE) on Thursday paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology  and Innovation (MESTI).

     The delegation, which was led by Mr Kristin Eine, Senior Adviser, Section for International Affairs at the NMCE, is in Ghana to meet on the new phase of Ghana-Norwegian programme on strengthening environmental management of the oil and Gas sector.

     Mr Akwasi Opong-Fosu, MESTI Minister reiterated the ministry’s commitment to intensify environmental management in the oil and gas sector, adding: “The project will be beneficial.”  

     He said officials of MESTI and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had given a report about the productive and successful discussions they had with the NMCE, which would help enhance the effective implementation of the oil and gas programme.

     This, he said, would also ensure the efficient and effective environmental governance system for the industry to enhance sustainable development in the country.

     Mr Opong-Fosu, who is also the Member of Parliament for Amenfi East said he was happy that three major outcomes were selected for the project.

     These are Policy, Legal and Administrative framework in line with adopted guidelines, Knowledge and Capacity Building for Sustainable and Consistence Governance in the Oil and Gas sector

     “I believe in achieving the objectives in these areas, our country will make lots of gains in the oil and gas industry to support the Government socio-economic agenda for sustainable development o… and improve the well-being of our people.”

     Dr Baffour-Awuah, Project Coordinator at MESTI, said the Ministry had organised workshops based on desk top analysis on issues and challenges in the oil and gas sector, including gaps identification and interfaces with EPA and other government bodies and had developed an activity plan including monitoring activities.

     He said MESTI environmental department has an effective and operational oil and gas unit with clear roles and responsibilities.

   The Department has developed a communication strategy for the sector and together with the EPA and other agencies put together a strategic environment assessment plan prior to opening up for oil and gas exploration in the Volta Basin.

     “We have also developed and adopted two regional programmes under the Abidjan Convention to regulate oil and gas waste and emissions and have also updated the national oil spill contingency plan,” he said.

     Mr Samuel Kofi Agbetsiafa, Senior Programme Officer, EPA said the agency has developed a system on human capacity, infrastructure and a collaboration framework to manage environmental data and the necessary regulations to regulate the petroleum sector and review the national oil spill contingency plan to clarify roles and responsibilities of stakeholders.

     “We have also developed a plan to boost local communities and media in awareness creation of the possible conflicts between oil and gas and coastal activities and also for the public to have access to relevant information.” 

Ms Harriet V. SOLHEIM, Conseillere at the Norwegian Embassy in Ghana expressed her country’s satisfaction to the government to achieve the targeted goals of the project.