The Ghana Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Platform on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Tuesday, March 14, launched its 2023 Voluntary National Review (VNR) Shadow Report on the perception the citizenry has on the government’s delivery of the Sustainable Delivery Goals.
The report highlights the gaps in the delivery of the goals and how there is a need for government to engage the citizenry more to help achieve the goals before the 2030 deadline date.
The report indicates that it is important for government to design and implement robust Monitoring and Evaluation systems on an annual basis to assess the gains of the country and to inform reformative actions and decisions where needed.
The Shadow Report per the information gathered from the citizens engaged shows that there is an awareness creation gap on SDGs at the grassroots level.
All stakeholders, particularly government and CSOs from the findings in the report must step up awareness creation and public education campaigns across the country to promote wider and strong citizen ownership and support for the SDGs.
While the report stresses that awareness creation efforts should target and prioritise citizens, it adds that conscious efforts must be made to sensitise public sector workers for them to understand and relate their work to the SDGs.
Among other things, the report found out that government is not doing much with regard to engaging the youth in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
To address this, the report recommends that it is important for Government to take strategic steps to ensure young people are proactively being engaged and that both at the institutional and personnel level, young voices and actions are informing local and national actions as far as the SDGs are concerned.
A member of the CSOs Platform on the Sustainable Development Goals, Archibald Adams underscored the importance of the Shadow Report at the launch, insisting that there is a need for a collective effort from all stakeholders to ensure government achieves the targets of the SDGs by 2030.
According to him, although the country may be behind as far as reaching the targets is concerned, it is still possible to catch up.
“We are asking that everyone should take it up themselves to contribute to the bid of awareness creation. We are going to present officials copies to the National Development Planning Commission, the SDG Unit at the office of the President, Ghana Statistical Service
“We can achieve the SDGs by 2030. All hope is not lost,” Mr. Archibald Adams shared.
Speaking on the findings in the report, the member of the CSOs platform on the SDGs explained, “what the citizens realised was that in some of the goals, there are a lot of agencies responsible so when it comes to the issue of reporting there is that kind of shift blame where people don’t want to be held accountable
“We also realised that there is a problem with budget allocation and timely release of funds. So if it’s delayed it affects the bid about implementation.”
Archibald Adams added, “We also realised that there isn’t intentionality to include the untapped energy of the youth. So we did recommend that government through its various departments should ensure that we can have the youth being featured across all board from community to national level to ensure we have youth representation at all levels.”
Speaking at the launch of the VNR Shadow Report dubbed “Taking action on SDGs: Citizens’ perspective on the SDGs delivery mechanism in Ghana,” Co-chair of the Ghana CSOs platform on the SDGs, Mr. Siapha Kamara called on the citizenry to consider the policies of politicians when voting.
He bemoaned the current economic distress facing the country while arguing that it is largely because of the poor policies implemented by those in authority.
“We have politicians who bring policies that are so short-sighted and targeted at winning elections, and the electorate too is so gullible. What we are experiencing in Ghana today in terms of economic challenges shows that the weak policies politicians implement have exposed us, and we are far from sustainable development,” Mr. Kamara who is also SEND Ghana country director said at the launch of the report.
He continued, “Our perspective should not just be about electing our party but also to electing policies that will not make us susceptible to the dictates of donor countries. If we continue to do this, we are not serving the interest of our future generations.”
The SDGs, like all development paradigms, seek to offer a sense of direction and drive to over the many development challenges facing the world. In themselves, the goals are only not as effective as the arrangements put in place by nations to ensure they become actionable and implementable.
Given that the development context will vary in countries, it is important to always appreciate local-level actions within their own right and to understand that slow or fast-paced progress as far as the goals are concerned, may be an offshoot of many factors.
Ghana has chosen a path of integrating the SDGs into its local government development framework, a strategy that has the SDGs mainstreamed into the national planning processes, reactive in the Medium-Term Development Plans.