Ghana has been commended for its efforts in ensuring that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are working.
Out of 193 countries that signed to implement the SDGs, only about 50 countries, including Ghana, are said to have a population with a high level of knowledge on what the goals entail and seek to achieve.
A Special Advisor on the implementation of the SDGs at the United Nations Office of the President of the General Assembly (71st Session), Ambassador Dessima Williams, gave the commendation in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra.
She said Ghana was among the countries making special efforts at ensuring that the SDGs worked to better the lives of its people.
Ambassador Williams was in the country to participate in the 2017 World Bank Development Finance Forum that was held in Accra.
The two-day forum, organised by the World Bank Group, was opened by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addowho envisions a “Ghana Beyond Aid”.
The financing meeting deliberated on the successes and challenges of mobilising transformational private sector investment for development goals in Africa as well as the opening of opportunities for public and private sectors to develop market alliances in Africa.
According to Ambassador Williams, “in its second year of operations, generally speaking, there is still, a low level of knowledge on the SDGs in many countries.
Ghana may have an advantage, since its President is a Co-Chair of the Group of 16 Eminent Advocates for the SDGs, like his predecessor, former President John Dramani Mahama.
This important role has positioned Ghana to accelerate its overall involvement and knowledge level of the goals.
The country has taken a particular interest in the advocacy of women and girls , recognized under the SDGs as Goal 5 and also cross-cutting all the other goals.
The SDGs, known officially as ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, is a set of 17 "Global Goals" with 169 targets among them and is spearheaded by the United Nations as a universal call to action, with the first goal being to end poverty.
Others aims to end hunger and improve food security, health clean water supply and sustainable livelihoods; also to protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
The Ambassador said that with sustained effort Ghana could easily emerge a champion in the implementation of the SDGs due to commitment.
She said a major hurdle for most countries regarding the implementation of the SDGs was financing but said this had also been addressed in Goal 17 which deals with domestic funding as well as public-private partnership in financing the goals.
Many developing countries, she said, were constantly seeking financing, adding that the SDG required about 5 to 7 trillion dollars a year to implement across the world.
She said the scale of these monies was expected to come from private-sector investments in order that constant and sustainable funding would be had and that this includes through public-private, largely the subject of the meeting.
According to her, the world in general had enough money to finance the SDGs but said the problem lies with access on the part of many developing countries..
The envoy said what most developing and small countries needed to do at the moment, was to pool their financing since many of them had relatively small to medium-size market size.
She called for regional integration saying it can be an important mechanism for financing.
In addition, she said, small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) formed the majority of businesses in many countries and there was need to finance them in a sustainable manner that would ensure large scale employment and broaden indigenous production.
SDGs urge over MDGs
The Ambassador said there was more optimism with the SDGs than the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which ended in 2015 and have left a legacy to build upon.
She said the SDGs were being built currently on the successes and failures of the MDGs. She said the SDGs were also more interrelated and indivisible as each depended on the other and therefore gave strong possibilities of achieving greater successes. Furthermore, She said the SDGs were more decentralised.