Ghana’s wake-up call for 2023 SDG Summit: Doubling up efforts
Since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, member states of the United Nations (UN) have been investing and watching closely the pace of global development, pursuing and advocating a world of equal access to the basic necessities of life, such as, safe drinking water, education, food and nutrition and demanding more action to ensure our environment is sustainable and conducive for all on land and below waters.
Unfortunately, a number of polycrisis, including the impacts of climate disasters, conflict in various parts of the world, economic downturn and lingering COVID-19 effects, are affecting development efforts and to a good extent reversing progress made.
Mid-point into its implementation, our assessment shows that the SDGs are falling significantly behind the 2030 targets.
The reports are staggering.
If present trends persist, by 2030, a staggering 575 million people (which is about 19 times the entire population of Ghana) will remain trapped in extreme poverty and 84 million children will be out of school.
According to the SDGs Report 2023, it will take nearly 300 years to close gender gaps in legal protection, eliminate discriminatory laws and end child marriage if immediate actions are not taken to advance progress on the SDGs.
The report sounds the alarm and urgently calls for redoubled efforts to get the 17 Goals back on track now, more than ever, as we approach halfway to the deadline of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda.
From September 18 to 19, world leaders converged on New York for the 2023 SDG Summit.
The Summit offered the world the opportunity to carry out a comprehensive review of the state of the SDGs amid the persisting crisis facing the world and to provide high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions towards achieving the targets by 2030.
It was on the theme, “Reinforcing the 2030 Agenda and eradicating poverty in times of multiple crises: the effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions.”
Considering the many pre-summit events held to set concrete targets and objectives to be met at the Summit, member states, including Ghana were keen on presenting their state of affairs and the challenges they are facing to meet the SDGs targets.
Member states were keen to also harness the opportunities that the Summit presented and championed a clearly defined course of action to address shortcomings and fill the gaps towards achieving the SDGs and development priorities to benefit their people.
Led by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and with support from the UN, Ghana participated in the Summit to push for the adoption of concise, action-oriented political declaration to improve people's lives and reinvigorate the sense of hope, optimism and enthusiasm that characterised the adoption of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda over seven years ago.
The UN in Ghana supported Ghana, through various avenues, including partnering Metropolitan, Municipal, and Districts Assemblies (MMDAs) and the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), to ensure that Ghana had its best foot forward at the Summit and beyond.
Several dialogues, including the Royal Dialogue and the SDG summit dialogue on Circular Economy and Bridging the SDG Financing Gap, were held with the support of the UN.
A number of consultations and validation meetings were organised at the regional and national levels on emerging top-priority targets, including poverty and inequality targets.
These engagements were particularly critical in supporting Ghana's preparation towards the SDGs Summit and developing forward-looking national commitments to SDG transformation in the years ahead.
Ghana’s commitment outlines priorities that include (i) important transitions and areas for investment that will help maximise progress across the SDGs; (ii) a national benchmark for reducing poverty and inequality by 2027; and (iii) steps towards strengthened national planning and institutional frameworks to support progress in these areas.
Ghana’s technical report, which was coordinated by the NDPC through various consultations and engagements, highlights the following priorities, among others:
• Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
• By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
• By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.
Clearly, ensuring accountable and strong institutions, inclusive and equitable quality education, closing the gender gap, paying key attention to the environment, and addressing the challenges therein can offer enormous potential for Ghana towards achieving the SDGs.
The article is jointly by the UN in Ghana and NDPC.