Enhancing the Resilience of Ghana's National Infrastructure Systems

Delivered at an event to kick off a project to enhance the resilience of Ghana’s national infrastructure systems in the water, energy & transport sectors.

It is with great delight, on behalf of the UN system in Ghana, that I welcome you all on this virtual platform to kick-off “Enhancing the Resilience of Ghana’s National Infrastructure Systems” Project.  This project, which seeks to enhance the long-term resilience of Ghana’s infrastructure to the threats of climate change, will be undertaken in partnership with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MESTI), Global Center for Adaptation (GCA), the Oxford University, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

I must commend the organisers and all these partners for making it possible for us to keep the wheel turning in these difficult times in order not to stall our efforts or derail the gains we have made in terms of climate change mitigation and adaptation, instead seizing on the new opportunities that COVID presents to put a green and sustainable approach at the heart of our response.

Today, it has become more evident that where we go from here will depend more on how we plan and how strong we rebuild a sustainable future, to ensure that no one is left behind and to ensure that we withstand the changes occurring in our environment.  There is no better time to highlight the significance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the framework to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Ladies and gentlemen, the SDGs are intertwined, and also indivisible.  Building a framework of financing that invests in public goods, builds an economic powerhouse that is greener and more inclusive, reshaping how we learn, work, live and consume, protects the future for our youth and rallies global multilateral cooperation is key to achieving this. We cannot attain development even when we do exceedingly well in one aspect of the SDGs while trailing on others. The economy, the society and the biosphere cannot be delinked.

COVID-19 has clearly shown us why. The world is experiencing unprecedented challenges as a result of the pandemic and the profound impact is being felt in all sector, everywhere and by all countries. As we respond to the more immediate impacts, we cannot and must not allow the gains made on a sustainable future. We must take concrete measures to consolidate and build on what we have started. Ghana’s vision for self-reliance must feature are the heart of the response.

This project, which is expected to run for 12 months from July 2020 to May 2021 will support Ghana in identifying its infrastructure adaptation needs and provide a roadmap on how those needs can be met in the transportation, water and energy sectors, and also help to reveal the linkages to other sectors as Ghana builds back better to become resilient and capable for the future.

A few weeks ago, Ghana launched its National Adaptation Plan which set a long-term vision for climate change adaptation measures for the country. The United Nations believes that this project we are launching today will make a meaningful contribution to delivering the National Adaptation Plans and enable greater policy alignment between adaptation planning and national development objectives. It will also form valuable input into the revision of Ghana’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which will be submitted to the UNFCCC towards the achievement of the Paris Agreement. Building forward, among other things, must take on the lessons on the need for a resilient, greener, inclusive economy.

With this project, Ghana will further identify opportunities for post-project implementation, such as a pipeline of climate-resilient projects and support strengthened capacity for mobilization of funding for prioritized projects and activities. The UN will leverage on its expertise to strengthen national-level capacity to help plan and manage climate-resilient infrastructure going forward by offering training in the principles of infrastructure adaptation planning, including using nature-based solutions and developing capacity in the usage of the resilient infrastructure assessment tools that are expected to be developed under this project.

I acknowledge the project partners, namely the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, the Global Centre on Adaptation, the University of Oxford (Environmental Change Institute), our lead UN agencies, UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and UNEP. Through UNOPS, the United Nations will support implementation by providing oversight and technical support services to ensure monitoring and compliance standards, budget control, scheduling and project quality checks in order to meet financial reporting requirements.  We shall also contribute to this project by building a road map that points to environmentally sustainable infrastructure that ensures responsible use of natural resources including water and the use of technologies and designs for energy and transportation that are efficient, inclusive and meet the needs of the people living in poverty. We are grateful to the Global Center on Adaptation for catalyzing this exciting initiative.

With UNOPS leading and the rest of the UN system supporting on this project, we will continue to work closely with the Government of Ghana and other partners to address development needs and strengthen capacities, with ownership and leadership by the government of the solutions that are created. We are committed to UN values and private sector efficiency, and shall coordinate with other UN agencies, donors and national partners for greatest impact.

UNOPS has supported the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and been active in the response to COVID-19. UNOPS also supports the Ministry of Food and Agriculture as it operationalizes the National Rice Development Strategy (NDRS) aimed at reducing dependency on rice imports and enhancing self-sufficiency in the sector. The UN system in Ghana is developing its coherent Social and Economic Response and Recovery Plan to support Ghana in its response to COVID-1, in consultation with all critical stakeholders. At a crucial time such as this, with difficult choices and limited resources, we stand ready to provide assistance that enables the Government of Ghana spend its resources more strategically and efficiently in order to maximize value for money and enable savings to be redirected to other economic recovery efforts – in a joined-up manner.

With this kick-off, the work has just begun. The success of this project will depend very much on how far we are ready to go to join forces to ensure we deliver on the assessment and plan.  All relevant intuitions of government, civil society, the private sector and academia must and will be mobilized if we are to score high at the end of the project.  Let me therefore call on the government, citizens and their groups, development partners and the private sector to collaborate with the UN to fund the bankable projects that the project will identify so that the objectives of this project are attained for the good of the people of Ghana.

I assure you, through the office of the UN Resident Coordinator of a joined-up UN engagement and support. I wish you all a successful journey and we look forward to using the findings to continue to consolidate and nurture Ghana on its path to self-reliance.

Thank you very much.


Speech by
Charles Abani
UN Resident Coordinator
Charles Abani
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Office for Project Services