On Tuesday 11th April, the French ambassador François Pujolas opened a capacity building workshop on Migration, Environment and Climate change at the Alisa Hotel in Accra.
It bordered on issues relating to the phenomenon of persons displaced due to natural disasters and environmental degradation more generally, in the Ghanaian and West African context.
As an example it was reminded that the severe 2007 floods in the northern part of Ghana, which affected nearly 400 000 people, and caused massive destruction of approximately 200 schools, 45 clinics and about 1000 km of roads. No one knows how many people left the region temporarily or for good.
While the situation in Ghana is particularly sensitive, many countries in Africa and Asia are equally vulnerable to phenomenon like deforestation, land degradation, highly polluting activities -like illegal mining- and overfishing. In his remarks The French Ambassador said: ”France and Europe are keen to support efforts aimed and reduce vulnerability and prevent forced migration due to environmental degradation.”
France has been actively involved in resolving issues relating to migration and climate change for instance supporting the Nansen project. The ambassador therefore called for more environmental protection initiatives akin to the ongoing “Great Green Wall for the Sahara” project that seek to implement natural resource management projects in a concerted and coordinated manner for the improvement of the living conditions of populations. Furthermore France supports the initiative taken by Senegal and Morocco called ‘Sustainability, Security and Stability’. The main goals of this initiative are to:
-reduce risk of natural disasters linked to climate change -for example through an efficient early warning system,
-develop new activities in rural areas linked to agriculture or eco-tourism,
-secure the access to land use by populations.