Give strong backing to the Special Prosecutor – Strikker

Accra, Mr Ron Strikker, the Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, has urged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to give strong backing to the Special Prosecutor to fight corruption.

He said despite the resource constraints, the Office of the Special Prosecutor, could deliver on its mandate, if given the necessary support by civil society.

Speaking at the SNV Netherlands Development Organization’s Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP) Programme Learning Event, in Accra, the Ambassador said, “CSOs are the voice of citizens at local, national and international level,” and could help make the government more accountable to citizens, to increase its legitimacy.

He reminded them of their vital contribution to greater social cohesion, stronger and more open democracies.

The V4CP Programme is an evidence-based advocacy programme being implemented by the SNV in partnership with the International Food and Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The programme focuses on generating evidence and building the capacity of CSOs in Renewable Energy, Food and Nutrition Security and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

Ghana having obtained the lower middle-income status, Mr. Strikker said the traditional development cooperation, which hinged on aid, had now changed to “Trade agenda”.

The focus should be on strong economic development through the promotion of investment and trade.

He added the private sector and entrepreneurship had pivotal role to play as the government created the enabling environment through good governance and a level playing field.

He applauded President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s drive towards Ghana Beyond Aid and said it was the way forward.

He underlined the need to do more to fight social exclusion and said doing that was as equally important as promoting economic growth.

Without doubt, advocacy had become a key driver of change in most areas of development across the globe and he said the V4CP was a good example of that.

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, in a speech read on his behalf, said the Ministry was eager to explore any collaboration that would lead to increased agricultural productivity and mitigation of the impact of climate change.

Let me use this opportunity to confirm government’s readiness to collaborate in generating evidence to guide the development and implementation of policies.

Mr Harm Duiker, the Country Director for SNV in Ghana, said in many of the districts, where they had been operating, their partnership had been based on sanitation and hygiene, nutrition and post-harvest losses and clean cooking interventions.

These had now been integrated into the medium-term development plans of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

“We find it crucial because the first step to realising service delivery begins with planning and as we continue to follow up on ensuring that these reflect in their annual plans, we are also exploring potential funding opportunities to support these districts in executing their plans,” he added.

Mr Eric Banye, the Country Programme Coordinator of SNV, said after almost three years of implementation of the programme, the Learnt Event was held to enable the share, reflect and analyze the lessons learnt.

It was also to deepen their partnership with relevant stakeholders such as the government departments and agencies, private sector, media and the other CSOs in the implementation of the 2018 activities under the Dutch Strategic Alliance Programme.

Nana Kobina Nketsia V, the Paramount Chief of Essikado Traditional Area, urged Ghanaians to embrace change that would lead to socio-economic development.

The V4CP programme empowers CSOs to engage with decision-makers, and those responsible for implementing decisions, by providing a solid evidence base, backing the proposed changes.

The V4CP, a five year project, is being implemented in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya and Rwanda.

Source: Ghana News Agency