Sustainable Environment, Energy & Human Settlement

Sustainable Environment, Energy and Human Settlements is treated under UNDAF Thematic Area 2 supporting the implementation of national priorities in the following areas: climate variability and climate change; natural disasters, risks and vulnerability; biodiversity; urban development and management; housing and shelter; slum upgrading; and prevention.

Work in this area is aligned with the Ghana Shared Growth Development Agenda (GSGDA II) Thematic Areas 3 (Agricultural Modernisation and Natural Resource Management) and 5 (Infrastructure and Human Settlements Development), and was linked directly to Millennium Development Goal 7 (Ensure Environmental Sustainability).

Environmental issues such as deforestation, soil degradation, air and water pollution, and lack of safe water supply have been the bane of natural resource management in most African countries. To address these issues in Ghana, the Government has incorporated sustainability principles and policies into a number of policy instruments, including the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda.

Climate change, energy and environment: With the development of the National Climate Change Master Plan and the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to UNFCCC, Ghana has established a solid policy framework and identified concrete programmes across relevant sectors to address climate change in the next 15 years. Ensuring a coordinated implementation of this policy framework and mobilising sufficient resources to finance it will require particular attention.

In both 2014 and 2015, the country was affected by irregular energy supply (popularly known as dumsor), which severely affected the daily lives of Ghanaians and economic activities in general. Public clamour and political commitment to resolve the problem has led to increased reliance on fossil fuels, although the Government of Ghana has increasingly endeavoured to promote investments in renewable energies. Several afforestation interventions are being implemented to reduce the alarming depletion rate of forest cover.

Housing and slums upgrading: Over 50% of the Ghanaian population lives in urban areas. In 2014 and 2015, several initiatives have promoted sustainable urban development, although informality and inequality have intensified in cities. The National Housing Policy and the National Slum Upgrading Strategy will guide housing delivery in the country and are intended to improve the living conditions of slum dwellers. Policy implementation will require improved coordination among the multiple Ministries and level of Government responsible for urban infrastructure, housing, transportation, and public services.

Water, sanitation and hygiene: The enabling environment for the delivery of equitable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services was improved, thanks to the endorsement of the Water Sector Strategic Development Plan (WSSDP) and the National Drinking Water Quality Management Framework (NDWQMF), and national guidelines for Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS).

An effective implementation of these plans is critical as national rates of access to improved sanitation remain very low (15%), despite efforts to reduce open defecations rates. School access to sanitation remains challenging, with only 56% of schools having toilets and 38% of schools having access to water.

In 2015, Ghana was declared guinea-worm free, and there has been a continued increase in access to improved drinking water. Coordination between key agencies in managing water quality and responding to emergencies such as cholera is particularly important going forward.

The unfinished business of MDG 7 can be addressed over the next 15 years through SDGs on renewable energy, sustainable cities and communities, climate change action, marine conservation, and environmental protection.

In the area of Sustainable Environment, Energy and Human Settlements, UN Ghana aims to achieve the following results:

Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDAF Outcome 3)

  • Development and implementation of national climate change plans and programmes to reduce carbon emissions
  • Increased community resilience to climate change
  • Ability of national authorities to access international funds on climate change
  • Increased renewable energy production
  • Strengthened DRR policies and strategies
  • Reinforced national and local disaster preparedness capacities and coordination on disaster response
  • Integration of biodiversity and land management issues in national and local level policy and planning

Affordable and Sustainable Housing (UNDAF Outcome 4)

  • Improved access to affordable and sustainable housing through livelihood training for women and youth
  • Dissemination of information on the National Housing Policy and Strategic Plan
  • Increased resilience in disaster-prone urban communities

Water and Sanitation (UNDAF Outcome 5)

  • Strengthened enabling environment for improved WASH behaviour
  • Increased share of the population with access to safe drinking water and to improved sanitation facilities
  • Behaviour change motivated on WASH