The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has urged Parliaments across the world to pass key climate change legislation that will bolster efforts to reduce climate impact, particularly on vulnerable nations.
He said as lawmakers, parliaments must pass evidence-based legislation and develop properly funded policies that best met the real needs of their constituents against climate impact.
“As lawmakers, we must ensure that adequate resources are allocated for the implementation of key policies and decisions to avoid the creation of white elephants in our respective statute books,” he said.
Evidence-based legislation (EBL) is a legislative concept which calls for the use of the best available scientific evidence and systematically collected data, when available, by legislatures as a basis for their formulation and writing of law.
Addressing the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) Global Parliamentary Group (CPG) annual dialogue on the margins of the 145th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) assembly in Kigali last Tuesday, Mr Bagbin said the passage of key climate change legislation must not merely be “a box-checking exercise.”
“We can have a lot of ideas but ideas without funding are mere hallucinations. It is imperative that we pass evidence-based legislations and develop such policies that speak to the real needs of our constituents as that is one sure way of obtaining funding for our ideas,” he said.
The CVF GPG, which is a non-treaty organisation set up in 2009, is focused on climate change policy in countries that are at the frontlines of climate emergency.
The dialogue attracted some speakers of Parliament and legislators from some of the world’s most climate vulnerable nations to, among others, discuss the best ways they could cooperate and contribute to advance climate actions in their respective nations.
The CVF is currently under the presidency of Ghana and chaired by the Chairperson of the Environment, Science and Technology Committee of the Parliament of Ghana, Dr Emmanuel Marfo.
Representing Ghana’s Presidency of the CVF, Mr Bagbin said environmental threats such as climate change, depletion of fossil fuels and natural resources undermined growth potential and posed existential issues for countries the world over.
Those challenges, he said, needed urgent global intervention to reverse their impact.
He, therefore, urged parliaments to consider what they could to mobilise other key actors to create a lot more awareness of climate impacts.
That, he believed, would enhance the readiness for all key players to act in a concerted manner to confront today’s climate change demands.
“In unity, as we are told, lies strength; we can achieve a lot more together than if we leave national institutions, state and global actors to operate in silos,” he said.
He noted that as CVF member states, the impacts were more severe as a result of their inefficient adaptive capacities that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing geopolitical crises which had further “pushed our vulnerable communities into deeper impoverishment”.
“What is clear, however, is that no single government agency or entity can by itself safeguard populations against the threat of disaster that the issue of climate change comes with.
“It is imperative that all sectors are included and are made to work together,” he said.
Leverage legislative tools
The Chairperson of the Committee on Land, Agriculture, Livestock and Environment of the Rwanda Parliament, Marie-Alice Uwera Kayumba, said Rwanda highlighted the devastating impact of climate change on vulnerable nations.
She, therefore, also encouraged legislators to leverage the diverse tools they were equipped with, to address the impact of climate change to promote inclusive, sustainable growth to “lead our societies onto the path of climate prosperity.”
Mr Bagbin is leading a seven member delegation of MPs, including the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu.