Ghana would shine in SDG’s implementation – President

Tokyo- President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday said, Ghana would emerge a shining example in the implementation of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – Agenda 2030.

He said his government was fully committed to the realisation of the SDG’s and was pursuing the implementation of the 17 goals “with a strong sense of urgency, and an unparalleled commitment to act now.”

Speaking at the Junior Chamber International’s 2019 symposium, on the sidelines of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, in Japan, President Akufo-Addo stated that Ghana had a history of being first among her peers when it matters most.

We were the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to free ourselves from colonialism; we were the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve the goal of halving poverty, as contained in Goal 1 of the Millennium Development Goals; and we were the first country in Africa to eliminate trachoma, he said.

With his address on the theme, Ghana as a role model for the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030, the President noted that, the 17 SDGs had been captured in Government’s Co-ordinated Programme for Economic and Social Development Policies (2017-2024), which was adopted by Parliament in 2017.

He told the gathering that, working in tandem with all stakeholders, including the private sector, he had put together an Advisory Group of prominent Chief Executives, who are establishing a $100 million SDGs Delivery Fund and a $200 million Green Fund to complement government’s efforts in the realisation of the SDGs.

President Akufo-Addo indicated that, to realise SDG 4, which demands inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all, his government had made education in the public sector free from Kindergarten to Senior High School, with the adoption of government’s Free Senior High School policy.

This September, when all students in public senior high schools will be beneficiaries of the policy, will witness the enrolment of 1.2 million pupils, the highest in our history. Investments in our educational system are a key priority for my government, and we are insisting that a third of our nation’s budget is dedicated to educating our young people. Ghana’s young people must acquire skills that would put them at par with their peers across the globe, he added.

The President noted that his government has revitalised the National Health Insurance Scheme, strengthening the healthcare system through the construction of health infrastructure, the training of more doctors, the employment of more nurses and midwives, and the impending arrival of 275 ambulances to make treatment of emergency cases more effective.

This fell in line with SDG 3, which requires that Governments ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.

Drone technology has also been introduced into the system to help deliver essential medicines, blood and blood products to remote communities. Today, the fear of getting sick has considerably abated, the President added.

On the provision of decent work and economic growth, as envisaged in SDG 8, President Akufo-Addo noted that, through the Nation Builders Corps initiative, one hundred thousand graduates had been put to work.

Some fifty-nine thousand (59,000) teachers have been given jobs since I came into office in 2017. The One-District-One-Factory and One-Village-One-Dam programmes, and the Zongo Development Fund and the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP), are being pursued to stimulate job creation opportunities across the country, he said.

With agriculture impacting on as many as 10 goals, the President stated that, through the flagship programme for the revival of Ghanaian agriculture, dubbed Planting for Food and Jobs, support had been provided to some 1 million smallholder farmers.

The intervention, for the first time in a very long while, resulted in a bumper harvest last year, with the country exporting food to her neighbouring countries. And the Government has also signalled its intention to reduce rice imports by at least 50 per cent this year.

On SDG 13, which calls for action to combat climate change, the President revealed that, at the local level, Government had mandated and tasked all local assemblies to address climate change issues in their medium-term development plans.

Additionally, his Government had boldly clamped down on the reprehensible activity of illegal mining that was destroying the country’s forests and water bodies.

The government has also banned the harvesting of rosewood timber as one of the measures to protect the forests and endangered species; and, through the Youth in Afforestation Programme, had employed over 20,000 youth to plant 10 million trees across the country as a way of increasing carbon sinks.

Towards realising the country’s international obligations under SDG 7, on access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy, President Akufo-Addo indicated that his Government is promoting the deployment of renewable energy in line with the policy target of 10 per cent renewables in the energy mix from the current 1 per cent.

In the course of this year, Jubilee House, the seat of our nation’s presidency, will be powered by solar energy, as an example to other public institutions. The target is to install 200 megawatts of distributed solar power by 2030, in both residential and non-residential facilities, and in state agencies, in order to reduce Government’s dependence on power generated by fossil fuels, he said.

On SDG 14, which requires the conservation and use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, President Akufo-Addo noted that, Ghana was determined to eliminate pollution on the country’s coast, and significantly reduce pollution in the marine ecosystem by 2025.

This, he explained, will be done by tackling the current challenges posed by use of plastics and indiscriminate disposal of waste; and, secondly, by completing the assessment of ecologically sensitive areas along the coast, and designating Ghana’s first marine protected area by 2025, to safeguard coastal and marine biodiversity.

The SDGs are intended to be the boldest and loudest articulation of the collective ambition for human development that the world has ever known. They are helping us in Ghana focus on a common agenda for development. We have a unique opportunity to transform our country, and bring prosperity to all by diligently implementing the SDGs, he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency