The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) has organised a workshop in Tamale on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to discuss Ghana’s progress made with the implementation of the 17 goals.
The Voluntary National Review (VNR) consultation workshop was organised to increase public awareness of the SDGs and to realign focus to areas where efforts needed to be accelerated.
The workshop, organised on the theme: “Leave no one behind,” brought together representatives from various civil society organisations (CSOs), academia, opinion leaders, Persons Living with Disability (PWDs), schoolchildren and the media, who also discussed the development of a report for the 2019 United Nations (UN) Session on the SDGs.
Adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, the SDGs present an urgent call for action by all countries — developed and developing — in a global partnership, to recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth.
In her address, a chief field officer for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Madam Margaret Gwada, urged Ghanaians to contribute their quota to ensure the complete attainment of the SDGs set out in the Agenda 2030, saying a development agenda could not be achieved only by the government.
Notwithstanding that, she said UNICEF was committed to supporting Ghana in achieving the SDGs as the focus was on “leaving no one behind”.
Madam Gwada noted that disparity and inequality were some of the most pressing issues in Ghana and that the gap between the rich and the poor continued to widen, leading to increasing rate in child poverty.
She said child poverty was very high, particularly in the Northern Region, leaving the poverty rate among children under two years at 60.5 per cent, while it was only 5.3 per cent in Greater Accra, according to the Ghana Living Standards survey.
She added that issues of access to good health care, good schools and decent sanitation, often impacted more on poor people, with inequality preventing children in disadvantaged living conditions from reaching their full potential.
Inclusion and equality
The Northern Regional Secretary of the Ghana Federation of Disability (GFD), Mr Mohammed Seidu Chantimah, on behalf of the federation, called on the government to institute more policies, strategies and programmes that promoted inclusion and increased equality.
He also stressed the need for the government to implement existing inclusion strategies and approaches and also ratify the African Disability protocol to cater for contextual issues of disabilities in Africa.
The Northern Regional Economic Planning Officer of the Regional Coordinating Council, Alhaji Abdul Karim Adam, said the 2030 Agenda required a comprehensive approach which placed emphasis on mobilising public finance, setting appropriate public policies and regulatory framework, unlocking the transformative potential of people and the private sector, as well as encouraging changes in consumption, production and investment patterns in support of sustainable development.
He also urged the citizenry to take the opportunity to consolidate, renew and reinforce their commitment towards the attainment of the SDGs, which served as a road map to attaining sustainable development.