Ghana is endowed with abundant natural resources, comprising agriculture, forestry, minerals, and oil and gas. The availability of these resources has been vital for national development since independence as the nation embarks on a structural transformation from an agrarian to an industrialized society with a view to achieving strategic objectives such as job creation, poverty eradication and greater access to education and healthcare.
However, the uncontrolled exploitation of the country’s natural resources and the resultant degradation of the environment has the potential of compromising ecosystems and subsequently undermining the long-term socio-economic transformation of the country. The total economic cost of natural resource degradation and poor environmental management has been estimated at, at least 10% of GDP.
In many developing countries including Ghana, a double environmental effect is occurring: old environmental problems, such as deforestation and soil degradation, remain largely unsolved. At the same time, new problems linked to industrialization such as rising greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution, growing volumes of waste, desertification and chemicals pollution. This phenomenon has led to the adoption of concepts such as sustainable development and environmental sustainability with regards to issues relating to industrial development.
Sustainable development has been defined in the Brundtland Commission Report as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. In other words, it is a desirable future state for human societies in which living conditions and resource-use meet human needs without undermining the sustainability of naturals systems and the environment, so that future generations may also have their needs met.
Sustainable development has been mainstreamed into the medium term national development framework i.e. the Ghana’s Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) II. Some of the key focus areas in the policy framework which specifically address the sustainability dimensions of resource consumption and environmental degradation include: natural resource management and mineral extraction; wetlands and water resources management; pollution and noise reduction; oil and gas development; energy supply to support industries and households; climate variability and change; waste management and biodiversity management.
Engineers are experts in the application of science to the technical design and planning of their projects with a focus on the initial operation of the facilities they design, but are not necessarily used to thinking about the downstream consequences to society of the work they do. Sustainable development will require the engineering profession to develop expertise in project consequences because, to a very large extent, the issues of sustainability revolve around medium to long-term implications and consequences.
The Ghana Institution of Engineers recognizes the need for engineering practitioners to be at the forefront of the sustainable development agenda rather than as isolated technical experts on the periphery. The institution therefore seeks to broaden the scope of the public discourse on this contemporary issue under the following thematic areas:
- Environmental Sustainability
- Climate Change
- Sustainable Alternative Energy
- Sustainable Transportation
- Sustainable Extractive Technology
- Sustainable Manufacturing
- Appropriate Remediation Technologies
Environmental sustainability issues arise wherever there is a risk of difficult or irreversible loss of the things or qualities of the environment. The traditional way of mitigating environmental challenges over the years has been work out how to reduce the damage or wastage. However, it is not always easy to work out exactly when and where threats will have their effects and often the impacts are hard to reverse.
Typical issues that pose major environmental sustainability problems include: destruction of the living environments (habitats) of native species; discharge of polluting chemicals and other materials into the environment; emission of greenhouses gases into the atmosphere than can cause climate change; and depletion of fossil fuels.
The Ghana government’s “Advancing the Better Ghana Agenda” seeks to ensure environmental sustainability in the management and use of natural resources through science, technology and innovation. A key policy objective in the Ghana’s Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) II also seeks to ensure that the practices in the oil and gas industry are consistent with international standards on environmental sustainability.
How does the GhIE mainstream environmental sustainability in the engineering practice in Ghana?
How can local engineering firms leverage the environmental sustainability practices to make then competitive on the international market?
How can engineering training curriculum be adapted to equip the next generation of engineers with the requisite skills to address our 21st century sustainable living challenges?
Ghana’s economy relies heavily on climate sensitive sectors mainly on agriculture, energy and forestry. Apart from serious impacts on natural resource‐ based livelihoods, climate change is likely to increase the incidence of certain diseases such as malaria, CSM, bilharzia and cholera. Reductions in rainfall and other factors mean that coastal towns are facing severe water shortages during the dry season, and hydropower capacity is dropping rapidly.
There are two main fundamental approaches to addressing the issue of climate change namely climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation. Climate change mitigation refers to measures that seek to limit the magnitude and/or rate of long-term climate change whereas climate change adaptation refers to measures that seek to lower the risks posed by the consequences of climatic changes.
The development of early warning systems is one of the priority climate change adaptation programmes that have been proposed under the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS). How do engineers at the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies develop early warning systems at the local government level?
The waste sector in Ghana contributes about 10% of the total greenhouse gas emissions. However, it accounts for about 23% of methane emissions with the primary source of these emissions coming from solid waste disposal activities. Waste management systems in the country are characterized by poor final disposal practices such as indiscriminate dumping and open burning of waste. How do engineers develop environmentally sustainable waste management system to mitigate methane emissions from that sector?
SUTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY
Power generation in Ghana has gone through a number of phases: starting with diesel generators and stand-alone electricity supply systems owned by industrial mines and factories, to the hydro phase following the construction of the Akosombo dam, and now to a thermal complement phase powered by gas and/or light crude oil.
The unreliability of the nation’s hydro generation plants which nominally accounts for about 64 % of total production and the periodic disruption of gas supplies in recent times has seen a gradual shift to the use to fossil fuels for power generation.
While Ghana has committed itself to universal electricity access by 2020, the real challenge is the capacity to meet this goal and, most important, to ensure that supply is reliable and adequate. Frequent nationwide power outages and load shedding now referred to as “dumsor” in the local parlance are indicative of the supply-demand mismatch. There have been concerted efforts over the years to increase the proportion of other alternative energy sources in the energy supply mix. However, most of these initiatives projects barely make it beyond the pilot stage.
How do we scale up the use of solar, wind and waste-to-energy system especially in our rural communities? How do we promote the use and design of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies in public and private buildings?
The concept of sustainable transportation promotes a balance between transportation’s economic and social benefits and the need to protect the environment. A sustainable transportation system provides numerous benefits: allows commuter to meet their access needs safely and in a manner consistent with human and ecosystem health; is affordable, operates efficiently and offers choice of transport modes; limits emissions and resource consumption, and minimizes the use of land and the production of noise.
Rapid urbanization, increasing motorization and inefficient vehicles and fuels are some of the factors which are contributing to a state of increasing traffic congestion, a significant decrease in air quality, rising road deaths and poor accessibility in many cities and towns in Ghana.
The overall goal of national transport policy is to make Ghana a transport hub and gateway to the West Africa sub- region. It also seeks to develop, rehabilitate and modernise the rail-based mass transport system in major urban areas including Accra-Tema, Kumasi-Ejisu, Accra-Nsawam, and Sekondi-Takoradi Kojokrom as well as link the south to the north of the country via the Volta Lake to facilitate the carriage of cargo and haulage of agriculture produce to the south.
How can Ghanaian engineers develop and promote strategies for increasing transportation sustainability such as demand management, operations management, vehicle technology improvements, clean fuels and integrated land use and transportation planning?
SUSTAINABLE EXTRACTIVE TECHNOLOGY
The story of Africa’s resource curse is well known. Mineral or oil wealth has not had a transformative effect in many parts of the continent, and it may have even caused resource rich countries to have worse outcomes than nations without natural endowments. These facts notwithstanding, the extractives industry still remains a major sector in this country with Ghana being one of the major gold producers in Africa, after South Africa.
New techniques using remote sensing and computer aided design systems have changed mineral prospecting from “hammer and compass” in the pre-independence era to the sophisticated and modern forms of mineral exploration. However the long term socio-economic benefits of the industry are continuously being questioned within the context of sustainable development, as it not only extracts finite mineral resources but it also has at the same time capacity to destroy the surrounding environment, making it unusable for any other purpose to the extent that some communities are now actively resisting extractive activity in their areas.
How do we develop local engineering standards to regulate the use of various extractive technologies and their potential environmental effects especially by small scale artisanal miners?
How can we upgrade indigenous extractive technologies to meet the environmental sustainability demands?
The manufacturing industry has evolved over the years without a primary focus on sustainability. Investments in plants and corresponding improvement and optimization efforts have typically been driven by increased productivity, reduced operating costs and work effort, and enforced regulatory compliance.
Sustainable manufacturing represents a paradigm shift in the manufacturing industry’s effort to reduce environmental burdens, gain cost competitiveness, and demonstrate corporate social responsibility. The importance of adopting sustainable manufacturing measures and strategies by companies are numerous and are becoming increasingly recognized. However, a dilemma for manufacturing companies adopting green practices is that these are unlikely to generate profits in the short term.
The Environmental Protection Agency launched the Ghana National Cleaner Production Centre (GNCPC) in January 2012 to promote the application of Resource Efficient Cleaner Production (RECP) measures.
How can engineers in Ghana utilize smarter technologies to support sustainable manufacturing processes and systems in SMEs and still make them competitive on the global market?
Which sustainability indicators can be used for performance monitoring of engineering processes and systems in the various manufacturing industries?
APPROPRIATE REMEDIATION TECHNOLOGIES
Industrial process, mining operations and construction activities regularly discharge various contaminants to the air, soil and water media. The rapid build-up of toxic pollutants such as metals, radionuclide, and organic contaminants in soil, surface water, and ground water not only affects natural resources, but also causes major strains on ecosystems. With Ghana joining the club of oil producers, its marine environment could also be threatened from accidental spills of crude oil and its refined products during routine operations of extraction, transportation, storage, refining and distribution.
The need of effective remediation technologies to deal with these unavoidable consequences arising from the exploitation and utilization of raw materials to support the industrialization drive is assuming greater importance.
Phytoremediation for example is an emerging cleanup technology for contaminated soils, groundwater, and wastewater that is both low-tech and low-cost, which involves the engineered use of green plants (including grasses, forbs, and woody species) to remove, contain, or render harmless such environmental contaminants as heavy metals, trace elements, organic compounds, and radioactive compounds in soil or water.
How does the engineering profession promote the utilization of such innovated technologies to reclaim the vast land areas degraded by artisanal miners?
We welcome technical papers and poster presentations on any of the Thematic Areas above. We invite authors to send their FULL PAPERS to the address shown below (preferably by e-mail) before the deadline. Submissions must be original and should not have been accepted elsewhere by any other conference or journal.
A format for paper presentations is attached. Papers which do not go by the given format will be rejected.
Papers to be presented during the conference will be published and distributed to participants. Final proceedings including the papers presented during the conference will be published after the conference for international distribution electronically.
Papers to be delivered during the Annual Conference are to be prepared according to the attached format:
Where your paper is selected for presentation, you shall also prepare a maximum 20 minute PowerPoint presentation of your paper and a 10 minute Questions & Answer session afterwards.
Where an author opts for a poster presentation you shall present your paper on a DIN paper size 120cm X 60cm
One original printout of the paper should be submitted to the address below together with an electronic copy in Microsoft Word format.
- Call for Papers: Thursday, August 25, 2016
- Submission of Papers: Thursday, December 15, 2016
- Receipt of Comments: Thursday, January 19, 2017
- Finalisation of Papers: Thursday, February 2, 2017
- Submission of Presentation: February 10, 2017
Address for Communication
The Executive Secretary
Ghana Institution of Engineers
Engineers Centre, 13 Continental Road, Roman Ridge, Accra
P. O. Box. AN 7042, Accra North
Tel: +233-30-2760867-9, +233-28-9673964, +233-28-9673964
Click on the link below to download
Call for Papers
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Conference Paper Template
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