Written by: Kimberly White 

Ghana is opening a university dedicated to sustainable development and the environment. 

The University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD) is the first university in the nation focused on teaching students about sustainability issues such as climate change and environmental protection. 

“Indeed, this is the first university in the country with the mandate to provide higher education, research and disseminate knowledge on matters of sustainable development, the protection of the environment, and a focus on developing agri-business,” said Ghana President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo hopes that the university will become a global “center of excellence” in teaching and researching sustainability and environmental issues, including deforestation, illegal mining, climate change, and coastal and marine degradation. 

Ghana’s rainforests have been rapidly depleted. According to Global Forest Watch, rainforest loss in the country spiked 60 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. In 2016, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources reported that 80 percent of the nation’s forest resources under state management had been lost since 1990 due to illegal logging activity. 

The Ghanaian government recently began the process of developing a National Adaptation Plan to build resiliency to the impacts of the climate crisis. 

“The National Adaptation Planning (NAP) process is one of the efforts by the Government of Ghana to address climate change impacts from a more integrated, coordinated and sustainable manner. It is imperative for the developing world to plan their development with climate change in mind,” said Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation.

To reduce vulnerabilities, temperature and rainfall scenarios up to 60 years into the future will be developed. The climate projections, as well as other climate vulnerability assessments, will be utilized by the government to make decisions that best reduce exposure and climate risks. 

“At a time when the world’s attention is focused on the attainment of the seventeen United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, for which I currently serve as Co-Chair of the Eminent Group of Advocates, the establishment of UESD could not have come at a more opportune moment in our nation’s history,” said Akufo-Addo. 

President Akufo-Addo cuts the sod at the commencement ceremony in Somanya.
Credit: Office of the President, Republic of Ghana

Funded through SACE and Deutsche Bank, UESD exemplifies Ghana’s commitment to providing Ghanaians quality education and skills training. 

“Enhancing our nation’s human resource is key to the development and transformation of our nation. An education that will produce dedicated, determined and disciplined graduates, who will be eager and willing to participate in developing our beloved Ghana, and to become her patriotic future citizens, remains our objective,” added Akufo-Addo.

President Akufo-Addo broke ground to initiate Phase Two of the University at a commencement ceremony in Somanya on August 5th. The government expects to begin recruiting the first batch of students for the 2020-2021 academic year soon.

Header Image Credit: Office of the President, Republic of Ghana