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PRESS STATEMENT: GHANA’S CONTINUED LEADERSHIP ON THE SDGs LAUDABLE BUT REQUIRES FURTHER STRENGTHENING TO ACCELERATE PROGRESS ON SDGs

The Government of Ghana has shown commitment and leadership on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Firstly, government has ensured that past and present national budgets (2019 and 2020) are aligned to the SDGs, and has produced annually SDG Budget Report, to allow for the tracking of budget allocations across Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

Secondly, Government has produced its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) Report on progress on the implementation of the Goals. The VNR report presents the state of progress on implementation of all the 17 SDGs. The preparation of the VNR report involved an inclusive process that ensured the participation of various stakeholders representing different segments of society.

We welcome government’s decision in the budget statement to prepare a performance report in 2020 on the SDGs and continue engagement with key stakeholders and interest groups on the dissemination and implementation of the SDGs. This in our view will help to strengthen policies and institutions of governments and mobilize multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for the implementation of the Goals.

We also note government’s commitment to establish in 2020, through the Ministry of Planning, SDGs Resource Centre in Ghana.

While we commend Government for this continued leadership on the SDGs, we observe that consistent and systematic efforts are needed to ensure that the country is on track to attaining the SDGs by 2030. Research has shown that at the current pace of progress on the goal, no country will achieve the SDGs by 2030.

Having analysed the 2019 SDG budget Report and the 2020 budget statements and economic policies, we hereby recommend the following to strengthen SDG budgeting for Ghana and Ghana’s sustainable development initiatives as a whole.

  1. MDAs/MMDAs should be mandated to show the SDG Goals and targets under each budget programme

Government efforts towards ensuring that key outputs of the budget and economic policies are

linked to the SDGs targets and indicators, and also produce on annual basis, SDG budget report

to show how Ghana is tracking the financing of the SDGs is commendable. We, however, recommend that all MDAs/MMDA’s, as a matter of policy requirement, should demonstrate linkage among the SDG goals and targets under each budget programme and include them in their presentations during budget hearings. This will help to ensure that SDGs budgeting is fully institutionalized in all MDAs and MMDAs and also help monitor MDAs/MMDAs performance on specific SDGs and targets. This was a key recommendation in the 2019 SDG Budget Report and we fully endorse it.

  1. The capacity of Statistical Services and Departments should be strengthened to collect, compile and disseminate reliable official statistics for monitoring and reporting on the SDGs:

SDG 17.18.1 measures the proportion of sustainable development indicators produced at the national level with full disaggregation when relevant to the target. Access to reliable and timely data at the appropriate levels of disaggregation is a major concern across all sectors and at all levels of governance. So far Ghana has compiled and validated 80 out of 232 indicators which served as the basis for the preparation of the 2019 VNR report. Even with this 80 indicators, the data, mostly administrative data, is not up to date. We recommend that Government should support the Ghana Statistical Services and statistics departments across the various MDAs/MMDAs to strengthen Ghana’s data ecosystem.

  1. Ensure Strict Fiscal Discipline in Budgetary Allocations:

SDG indicator 16.6.1 measures whether government spending is in line with the country’s approved budget. In 2018, key ministries such as the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, among others did not receive their entire approved budgetary allocations. We note also that some ministries such as Ministry of Finance, Health and Education etc., exceeded their approved budgetary allocations for the year.

Achieving key goals and targets of the SDGs will largely depend on the execution of government budgets. The implications of weak budget credibility adversely affect the delivery of public service, with devastating consequences on the poor and vulnerable. We therefore call on government to exercise fiscal discipline to ensure that on one is left behind and that no target is left unattained by 2030.

Thursday, November 21st, 2019, Twitter: @ CSOPlatformSDG, Facebook: CSO Platform on SDGs Ghana, Email: csoplatformsdg@gmail.com

This is a press statement by the Ghana Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Platform on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We have prepared a full budget brief which will be made available to the Ministry of Finance. For this press statement we highlighted only three key recommendations.

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