Mayors Voices: Accra Mayor Alfred Vanderpuije on data-driven climate action planning

By: Alfred Vanderpuije, Mayor of Accra, Ghana

My city, Accra, is one of the cities in Africa that is impacted by climate change. We are continuously experiencing both floods and droughts, and this has sometimes resulted in the loss of life. That’s why we have made a strong commitment to addressing climate change in our city. I joined forces with global mayors and signed up to the Compact of Mayors (now the Global Covenant of Mayors on Climate and Energy) because I believe that cities like Accra have an important role to play in achieving the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) that Ghana has pledged to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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Working with the C40 Measurement and Planning team, we convened a workshop – organized as part of the C40 Technical Assistance Programme – for officials from different city departments to begin improving climate change data in Accra. Through the C40 workshop, Accra city officials were trained on how to use the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) to develop an inventory for the city.

Officials who participated in the C40 workshop are also now able to use the GPC reporting tools and apply best practices in greenhouse gas inventory management. By implementing these tools and best practices, we are seeking to improve our skills in collecting and managing climate change data, identify challenges and agree on how to overcome the challenges around climate change data.

I believe that we can only plan our climate actions effectively if we use credible, relevant approaches to data management and use internationally accepted best practices in inventory development. As a city, we need to ensure the best available data for planning and measuring the impact of climate change actions in Accra is available. As accountable leaders, we must always demonstrate with facts and figures that the programmes that we develop and implement are delivering their intended purpose and that we are making a difference.

This year, my city has joined other C40 cities in climate change reporting through international reporting platforms such as the CDP platform. Using international platforms to report data demonstrates Accra’s accountability and enhances our reputation with our citizens and strategic partners locally and internationally. Through measurement and reporting, we can track, manage and assess the progress we are making in addressing climate change, and make informed decisions and choices for the future.

After the C40 workshop, Accra city officials have now agreed on a clear action plan to achieve a greenhouse gas inventory for the city and this will inform the review and further development of our climate change policy, strategies and plans.

By building on the national level policies, strategies and plans and using Ghana’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), we are consolidating our climate change policy and re-defining our mitigation and resilience plans. It is important to note the leadership and concrete steps Accra has taken to build resilience within the city, which includes the GHG inventory that is in the process of being developed.

The strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation will prioritize actions around early warning systems for vulnerable locations and populations. Climate change mitigation within the city will focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy solutions, clean cooking technologies for the informal sector and efforts to increase urban green spaces.