The government of Ghana has presented its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to the United Nations.
This presentation was done by the Minister of Planning, Prof. George Gyan-Baffuor at the 2019 High Level Political Forum at the UN Headquarters in New York on the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.”
Among the Ghanaian delegation were the Minister for Education, Mathew Opoku-Prempeh; Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour- Awuah and Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Patricia Appiagyei.
The forum is part of the follow-up and review arrangement for the 2030 Agenda, and provides a platform for reviewing the progress of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), mutual learning, and forging of partnerships to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs.
This year’s forum brought together over 2,000 participants from governments, businesses, academia, civil society organisations, youth groups and United Nations agencies among others.
Presenting the report on behalf of government, Prof. Gyan-Baffour revealed that Ghana has made progress on many of the SDGs targets, adding that “overall, poverty had declined marginally from 24.2% in 2013 to 23.4% in 2017.”
He said growth in GDP remained robust, accelerating to 8.1% in 2017, thus making Ghana the second fastest growing economy in Africa in that year.
Touching on the social sector, he stated that access to education especially at the senior high school level had generally improved.
This, he attributed to the introduction of government’s free SHS education programme which resulted in additional 271,000 students enrolling in SHS for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic years.
He also noted that gender parity has been achieved at the basic level.
According to the Minister, the proportion of the population with access to electricity has also improved from 70.6% in 2013 to 81.1% in 2017.
On environment, the minister said there has been marginal increase in forest cover, and that Ghana has commenced the implementation of the Forest Plantation Strategy 2017-2040, with the aim to protect the forest cover to achieve sustainable supply of planted forest goods and services.
He highlighted several important lessons from the implementation of the SDGs in Ghana.
He underscored the need to develop strategic partnerships with key stakeholders, building strong linkages among government, research institutions, academia, private sector and other stakeholders for research and innovation.
Prof Gyan-Baffour mentioned sustained financing as some of the challenges facing the implemtnation of the SDGS.
According to him, improving domestic resource mobilisation and leveraging available resources from the private sector would be required to accelerate the implementation of priority interventions.
Addressing data challenges associated with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the minister said government was implementing a data roadmap with three priority areas for action – filling data gaps, encouraging data use an strengthening the data ecosystem.