The Government of Ghana and the Swiss Federal Council have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, in Bern, to strengthen the mode of cooperation between the two countries under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement on climate actions.
The bilateral agreement will facilitate Ghana’s National Clean Energy Access Programme (NCEP), which will enable the country to receive international financial support to implement projects in fulfilling its climate commitments.
Although discussions around Article 6 were stalled at COP25 in Madrid, Switzerland and Ghana are responding to the need to implement enhanced climate actions by moving ahead with an agenda to engage in ‘cooperative approaches’ – to complement Ghana’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to address climate change.
Article 6 of the Paris Agreement aims at promoting integrated, holistic and balanced approaches, which will assist governments in implementing their NDCs through voluntary international cooperation. This cooperation mechanism, if properly designed, should make it easier to achieve reduction targets and raise ambitions. In particular, Article 6 can also establish a policy foundation for an emissions trading system – which could help lead to a global price on carbon.
Under this mechanism, countries with low emissions would be allowed to sell their exceeding allowance to larger emitters, with an overall cap of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – ensuring their net reduction. Supply and demand for emissions allowances could lead to the establishment of a global carbon price that would tie the negative externalities of GHG emissions to polluters. In other words, by paying a price on carbon, states exceeding their NDCs would bear the costs of global warming.
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng said: “This is an important moment for the government of Ghana”. He indicated that the cooperation with Switzerland could open the door to a number of projects which would receive financial support from Switzerland and catalyze private investment into emission-reduction activities.
“Whether these projects are keeping the lights on in schools through new distributed solar systems or reducing fuel-wood demand for cooking systems, the investments and development impacts they bring are needed and will allow Ghana to achieve its national development plans,” he added.
The agreement between Switzerland and Ghana is incredibly unique, and in fact only the second of such dialogues taking place globally – with Peru being the first country to have one. Through a close partnership with the government of Ghana and institutional expertise on carbon market mechanisms, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was able to support and facilitate the dialogue between Switzerland and Ghana, and will continue offering this support as the cooperation progresses.
The acting Resident Representative of UNDP in Ghana, Gita Welch said: “UNDP has worked hard over the last year with our government partners in Ghana – particularly at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation and the Environmental Protection Agency, to set the parameters of what this cooperation under Article 6 will look like”.
NCEP’s overall goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by expanding energy access through distributed energy systems to residential houses, as well as small and medium-sized businesses.
The actions being discussed under the agreement could see the installation of solar PV systems for commercial consumers, solar lanterns, solar home systems and the provision of improved cooking systems nation-wide.