Monday, February 25, 2013

Ghana: Ghanaians express views on the world they want


By Cynthia Prah, United Nations Information Centre

Key Priorities: Health, Education, Women Empowerment, Employment and Nutrition

The United Nations and partners are currently facilitating consultations with communities and development stakeholders in Ghana on what issues should be included in the next global development framework after the 2015 target date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

National consultations on the post-2015 development agenda are being held in more than 50 countries across the world, including Ghana, which launched its consultations on November 26, 2012 in Tamale. The launch was attended by more than 250 people representing Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations, as well as public institutions from diverse backgrounds.

One of the participants was Dr. Sagoe, Chief Executive Officer of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, who said his concern was “to reduce significantly the needless deaths in pregnancy” in Ghana and especially in Tamale.  

According to Dr. Sagoe, the rate of pregnancy-related deaths at Tamale Teaching Hospital fell from 74 deaths in 2007 to 44 deaths in 2011. However, he added, “We are battling to keep it down,” as a result of problems encountered at the community, intermediate and end levels.

Dr. Sagoe noted there was a need to see more education at the community level for people to know the risks associated with certain lifestyle choices during pregnancy. He said the health sector also required more trained personnel with adequate resources to handle all health conditions.

Referring to what he would like to be most prominent on the post-2015 development agenda, Dr. Sagoe said, “I will like to see health featured prominently in any target or content.”

For Farouk Issaku, a staff of Rise Ghana, an NGO located in Bolgatanga, targeting extreme poverty and hunger, which represents MDG 1, should continue to be a top priority. Mr. Issaku said that when rural women are empowered to engage in activities that generate income for themselves and their families, then they will be in a better position to care for their families. One way he suggested is considering ways for banks to be more flexible in offering loans.

“Many rural women are smallholder farmers and it is difficult for them to expand their farming activities to increase their profit margin,” Mr. Issaku said. “Women can and should be empowered to access loans whose payments are much more flexible.”

Ibn Faheed, a student from Walewale, expressed displeasure with the unequal distribution of wealth in his community. Mr. Faheed wanted to see a world of “equal opportunity for people with disability and ability and for the poor and the rich.”

Unless checks and balances to govern institutions responsible for the provision of services are put in place, Mr. Faheed said the needs of the disadvantaged will continue to go unaddressed.

“For the world to develop, it should start with the provision of good quality education for the youth irrespective of region or class,” Mr. Faheed said.

While the concerns Dr. Ken Sagoe, Mr. Issaku, and Mr. Faheed may seem local, they echo the voices of millions of citizens around the world about what the development priorities should be for the next generation, which is what the UN is trying to capture through the consultation process and other channels.

Further background

The combined input and outreach from the consultations and online tools will feed into the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. By the end of May 2013, the Panel is due to present a report to the Secretary-General setting out recommendations for the vision and shape of a post-2015 development agenda that will help respond to the global challenges of the 21st century, building on the MDGs and with a view to fighting extreme poverty.

The High-level Panel is scheduled to hold a meeting in Monrovia, Liberia, from 30 January to 2 February to discuss ways of fostering economic transformation and prosperity. The Panel will then meet again in Bali, Indonesia in March. Follow updates of the Panel at http://www.post2015hlp.org/.

An online platform – www.worldwewant2015.org – is the main global post-2015 web platform and provides a space for citizens and stakeholders to contribute to the post-2015 process. Results from the consultations will be provided on the platform as the year progresses. The ‘World We Want 2015’ site is open to people around the world to share their views without necessarily attending a post-2015 event.

Complementing the world we want platform is the MY World survey– the United Nations global survey for a better world. Citizens worldwide are encouraged to vote on which issues matter most to them at www.myworld2015.org. MY World will act as the main entry point for the general public to enter post-2015 conversations.

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