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Ghana launched the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

16.02.2016  22:37

On Friday 12 February, 2016, Ghana officially launched its work to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at an event to commemorate the appointment of Ghana’s President Mahama as Co-Chairs of Eminent Advocate for the SDGs.

President Mahama gave the keynote speech, where he shared his thoughts on why the UN Secretary General (SG) had elected him as Co-Chair. The SG had praised Ghana for its leadership role on the continent, the work on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Rule of Law and Human Rights. The President could only attribute his nomination to the people of Ghana; it was an honor for Ghana, ECOWAS and Africa. Ghana’s involvement dates back to peacekeeping and more recently to UNMEER in respect to the Ebola crisis. Ghana had done well on many MDGs, but there were of course still many challenges, especially within under-five and maternal mortality as well as sanitation.

The President believed that the SDGs contain some of the qualitative areas that were missing in the MDGs. Ghana has played an important role in negotiating the SDGs. The regional consultations had begun in the country and Ghana had – together with Denmark – hosted inequality conferences both in Copenhagen and in Accra.

President Mahama had constituted a high level inter-ministerial committee where the National Development and Planning Commission (NDPC) and relevant line ministries would provide technical advice on the implementation of the SDGs.

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Before the keynote speech, several prominent people had provided remarks. First, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock, United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, spoke on the support from the UN for SDGs implementation and impact in Ghana. She commended President Mahama for Ghana’s lead in the MDGs and she hoped that this would continue with the SDGs. The UN is working together with the NDPC and the Ministry of Finance to develop an action plan to integrate the SGDs at local level.

Next the Director General of the NDPC, Dr. Nii Moi Thompson stated that the SDGs could be an enabler for Ghana’s medium- and long-term development plans. The NDPC is working on aligning Ghana’s plans with several different frameworks, such as the African Union Agenda 2063 and now the SDGs.

Norway’s Ambassador Ms. Hege Hertzberg spoke on behalf of the other Co-Chair of Eminent Advocates for the SDGs, Norway’s Prime Minister, Ms. Erna Solberg. First of all, the Ambassador said, we should all celebrate that the international community has agreed on a framework that will leave no one behind. She then underlined how the SGDs call for effective partnerships among the world’s nations, not just aid; that it is a holistic sustainable agenda, where gender equality is essential to most of the goals; that it is not enough  to establish the goals, we also need action that can be funded by for example improving tax revenues, combating illicit financial flows, and fighting corruption; and finally that crisis and conflicts are our enemy, which we need to combat.

UNFPA’s Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary General Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin then gave remarks on the coherent Sustainable Development Agenda and the One UN. He emphasized how all the UN agendas are intertwined – the SDGs, Financing for Development and the Climate Agenda. By appointing President Mahama, the UN Secretary General has shown that Africa has been chosen to lead the process. We need to invest in the youth and make sure that they are skilled to lead. Africa’s time has come!

Lastly before the keynote speech both Minority Leader in Parliament, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, and Majority Leader, Hon. Alban S.K. Bagbin, made brief remarks on how there had been substantial progress on many MDGs, but still many challenges remained. Both parliamentarians promised the support of Parliament in implementing the SDGs. The Minority Leader further called for the importance of good data and for the imperative role of the private sector, civil society and the media in implementing the SDGs in Ghana.

Read more about the Sustainable Development Goals here



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