The essence of science and the need for science-based policy formulation was highlighted across the world yesterday as scientists and many others embarked on a march for science.
The march is an annual event held in more than 600 cities across the world including Kampala and Washington DC.
In Ghana, scientists and science loving people in Tamale and its environs converged at the Old Market Square in Tamale at 7am for a 30 minute walk in support of science. Scientists from the University of Development Studies, Savannah Agricultural Research Institute and other science focused institutions, as well as students, farmers and well-meaning Ghanaians will be converging for the event.
The GHANA MARCH FOR SCIENCE 2019 was under the theme; “Science – Our past, our present and our future.” The theme sought to emphasize the importance of science in national development.
The focus of the march this year was on the role that science can play in helping Ghana meet Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2 and 3. These three goals aim at ending poverty in all its forms, improving nutrition and food security, as well as pushing for urgent steps to combat climate change and its impact.
The scientists believe that science can be used to fix the problem of poverty and environmental destruction in several parts of Ghana.
“Our country has made substantial progress in dealing with food insecurity and poverty. But research shows up to 10% Ghanaians are still living in extreme poverty and in Northern Ghana, up to 30% of children under five are stunted or chronically malnourished. We as scientists are convinced if these challenges can be dealt with effectively, science has a crucial role to play. Specifically, we are asking that government increases investments in science and technology to at least 5% of GDP from the current 0.5%. The African Union recommends a 1% target and the United Nations recommend 3.5% but we think that is not far reaching enough. 5% at least is the way to accelerate national development” they said in a statement to mark the day.
The Scientists undert the Alliance for Science Ghana also called on the government to do more to end environmental destruction. “We are particularly worried that despite the ban on illegal harvesting of rosewood species since 2014, the practice has continued in the savannah enclave. We will be glad if government sets up a task force similar to the illegal mining or ‘galamsey’ taskforce to protect the forests and particularly stop the continuous illegal logging of rosewood”.
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