Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to make this Statement on the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity, which is on 22nd May, 2015.
Mr Speaker, Ghana ratified the United Nations Convention on Biological Diver si ty in August , 1994. The objectives of the Convention are to conserve biological diversity -- ensure the sustainable use of same and to ensure the equitable sharing of the benefits that arise out of the use of genetic resources. The promotion of these objectives have been a priority to the Convention.
In this regard, Mr Speaker, the United Nations has declared May 22nd as the In ternational Day for Biological Diversity (IDB). The occasion is used to highlight key biodiversity issues that con tr ibute to the development of society. This year's theme is “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development”.
Mr Speaker, biological diversity is the term used to describe the variety of life found on earth and all of the natural processes. This includes ecosystem, genetic and cultural diversity and the connections between these and all species.
Mr Speaker, to commemorate the Day, Ghana has chosen to link the contribution of biodiversity conserva- tion to sustainable energy development in order to bring out the issue of biogas generation as an alternative energy source. This is appropriate because of the enormous benefits that biogas development and operations can bestow on Ghana.
The source of biogas
Mr Speaker, biogas is a product of the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Organic matter includes all kinds of organic waste from agricul ture, household, industry, municipal, hospital, hotels et cetera, which create a nuisance when left unat tended to and are therefore discarded.
This means that all the organic matter which form part of the waste generated by people in their normal human activities, accumulated and or hauled daily in trucks either in solid or liquid form for disposal constitute a huge supply of raw material.
Biogas and national and global benefits
Mr Speaker, the gas that is produced is primarily made up of methane (CH4), carbon dioxidei (C02), hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and siloxanes (a subgroup of Silicones [Si-O] commonly added to consumer products such as detergents, medical products and devices, shampoos, cosmetics, paper coatings and textiles). These are known to form part of the greenhouse gases (GHGs) when released into the open air. GHGs contribute to global warming.
However, at the same time, when the gas is in a contained situation, it is useful as fuel source for any heating purpose such as cooking or as potential energy source for conversion into electricity and heat in gas engines. The proper generation and use of biogas thus reduces Greenhouse Gas (GHG) accumulation and promotes energy generation. One can see that both functions will contribute to the new sustainable development goals.
Mr Speaker, we can consider goal 7 (affordable and sustainable energy, where additional energy sources are made available), goal 11 (safe cities and communities, ensuring safe and cleaner environments where landfi lls for garbage and other wastes are properly managed for urban dwellers, especially children to grow in).
Goal 13 (stop climate change, as Ghana's contribution to GHG emission reduction and making life better for small scale farmers in crop production) and goal 14 ( protect oceans, where raw liquid waste does not find its way to Lavender Hill for disposal in the sea, and point source of pollution are minimised).
Mr Speaker, the promotion of biogas will additionally enhance achievement of goal 6 (water and sanitation for all, promoting watershed protection, better water abstraction methods applied to prevent subsidence and available and hygien ic potable water ) , goal 12 (responsible consumption by all, cutting on waste) and goal 15 (take care of the earth, as stewards of God's creation).
Mr Speaker, with the re-use of organic waste as a resource and new technolo- gical approaches which have lowered capital costs, anaerobic digestion has in recent years received increased attention among governments in a number of countries. Ghana can be added to this list.
We will be seen as promoting the countries' efforts to reduce emissions from deforesta t ion and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+ concept), secur ing our environmental resources and promoting human wellbeing.
In this regard, Mr Speaker, I would want to invite all Members to join MESTI in using the commemoration to