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The Urgent Need To Double Up Efforts For Agenda 2030

Since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, member states of the United Nations have been investing and watching closely the pace of global development, pursuing and advocating for a world of equal access to the basic necessities of life such as safe drinking water, education, food and nutrition and demanding more action to ensure our environment is sustainable and conducive for all on land and below waters.

Unfortunately, a number of polycrisis including the impacts of climate disasters, conflict in various parts of the world, economic downturn, and lingering COVID-19 effects, are affecting development efforts and to a good extent reversing progress made.

Mid-point into its implementation, our assessment shows that the SDGs are falling significantly behind the 2030 targets. The reports are staggering. If present trends persist, by 2030, a staggering 575 million people (which is about 19 times the entire population of Ghana) will remain trapped in extreme poverty and 84 million children will be out of school. According to the SDGs Report 2023, it will take nearly 300 years to close gender gaps in legal protection, eliminate discriminatory laws, and end child marriage if immediate actions are not taken to advance progress on the SDGs.

The report sounds the alarm and urgently calls for redoubled efforts to get the 17 Goals back on track now, more than ever, as we approach halfway to the deadline of the SDGs and the Agenda 2030.

From 18 to 19 September this year, world leaders will converge in New York for the 2023 SDG Summit.  The Summit offers the world the opportunity to carry out a comprehensive review of the state of the SDGs amidst the persisting crisis facing the world, and to provide high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions towards achieving the targets by 2030.  It is under the theme “Reinforcing the 2030 Agenda and eradicating poverty in times of multiple crises: the effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions.” Considering the many pre-Summit events held to set concrete targets and objectives to be met at the Summit, member states, including Ghana are keen on presenting their state of affairs and the challenges they are facing to meet the SDGs targets. Member states will also harness the opportunities that the Summit will present and champion a clearly defined course of action that will address shortcomings and fill the gaps towards achieving the SDGs and development priorities that will inure to the benefit of their people.

Led by the President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and with support from the United Nations, Ghana will participate in the Summit to push for the adoption of a concise, action-oriented political declaration that will seek to improve people’s lives and reinvigorate the sense of hope, optimism and enthusiasm that characterized the adoption of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda over seven years ago.

The United Nations in Ghana has supported Ghana, through various avenues including partnering with Metropolitan, Municipal, and Districts Assemblies (MMDAs) and the NDPC, to ensure Ghana puts its best foot forward at the Summit and beyond. Several dialogues, including the Royal Dialogue and the SDG summit dialogue on Circular Economy and Bridging the SDG Financing Gap, were held with the support of the UN. A number of consultations and validation meetings were organized at the regional and national levels on emerging top-priority targets, including poverty and inequality targets.

These engagements are particularly critical in supporting Ghana’s preparation towards the SDGs Summit, and in developing forward-looking national commitments to SDG transformation in the years ahead. Ghana’s commitment outlines priorities that include

(i) important transitions and areas for investment that will help maximize progress across the SDGs;

(ii) a national benchmark for reducing poverty and inequality by 2027; and

(iii) steps towards strengthened national planning and institutional frameworks to support progress in these areas.

Ghana’s technical report, which was coordinated by the NDPC through various consultations and engagement highlights the following priorities:

  • Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
  • By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes
  • By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
  • By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency

Clearly, ensuring accountable and strong institutions, inclusive and equitable quality education, closing the gender gap paying key attention to the environment and addressing the challenges therein can offer enormous potential for Ghana towards achieving the SDGs.

Securing a sustainable future requires a fundamental shift in commitment, solidarity, financing and action.  We must reconstruct how we tackle existing crises if we are to get back on track to end poverty, realize just societies and reset a balanced relationship with the natural world. A great teamwork approach, multilateralism and good leadership are critical to shift us back on the right track towards the achievement of the SDGs.  Together, we can and must act to ensure what we do yields remarkable and desired results.

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