Gov’t approves Space Policy

Cabinet has approved a national space policy that will provide a framework for the use of space science and technology for sustainable development.

In line with that, the policy will coordinate how ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) access and consume space data.

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie, who made this known at a “Meet the Press” series in Accra yesterday, said the approval of the policy was a key milestone in the nation’s development trajectory.

“Currently, there is no coordination in the way MDAs access data from entities which provide space data, and we do not even consider value for money,” he said.

Dr Afriyie added that as part of measures to leverage space technology, MESTI was currently working with relevant ministries and the private sector to transform the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute (GSSTI) into a space agency to coordinate the growth of human capital, infrastructure and space science.

The minister said that although the government had frozen the establishment of agencies because of the financial burden involved, it was important to consider space agency as a special case.

“I am pleading for exemption for us to establish the space agency because the GSSTI has the needed infrastructure, so there will be zero financial burden on the government. If we do not do it, the country will rather incur losses,” he said.

Other policies

The minister further said that his outfit had under the Ghana-Korea K-Innovation Partnership Programme, unveiled a 10-year master plan to enhance the commercialisation of research and innovation.

He also said that the ministry had completed the review of a National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy with technical and financial support from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

And in partnership with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), Dr Afriyie said the ministry was reviewing a Biological and Toxin Weapons Bill which sought to implement a 1972 Convention on the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of bacteriological (Biological) and toxin weapons, and on their destruction.

He also said that an Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Bill meant to change the status of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to an authority had been drafted.

“The enactment of the bill into law will significantly address emerging environmental issues facing the country,” the minister added.

Focus areas

Dr Afriyie said the ministry was also focusing on circularity and circular economy, climate mitigation and adaptation; nature and ecosystem-based approaches and sustainable development.

“We are committed to combating climate change through both mitigation and adaptation strategies, including promoting clean and renewable energy sources, advocating energy efficiency and developing climate-resilient infrastructure to safeguard our nation from climate-related threats,” he said.

The minister also said that his outfit was spearheading efforts to minimise waste and maximise resource efficiency by responsibly managing materials such as plastics, electrical and electronic waste.

He, however, urged stakeholders to adhere to policy interventions on the efficient management of waste through recycling, reuse and sustainable disposal methods.

Dr Afriyie added that MESTI had selected 12 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the plastic value chain to receive technical and financial support to undertake activities aimed at efficiently managing plastic waste.

He said the SMEs would work to discourage the single-use plastics production, demonstrate the production of biodegradable plastics from alternative feedstock and implement projects that targeted environmentally sound disposal of non-recyclable plastics.

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