Ghana has presented its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) report on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at this year's High Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the United Nations (UN) headquarters at New York.
The HLPF was under the theme "Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality"
Minister of Planning, Prof. George Gyan-Baffour, who presented the review report on behalf of the government, revealed that Ghana had made progress on many of the SDGs targets adding that "overall, poverty had declined marginally from 24 per cent in 2013 to 23 per cent in 2017."
Key macroeconomic indicators, including budget deficit, inflation and interest rates, he said, were trending downwards, adding that trade balance recorded surpluses in 2017 and 2018, leading to improved balance of payment position.
He said the introduction of the free Senior High School (SHS) flagship initiative resulted in additional 271,000 students enrolling in SHS for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic years adding that gender parity was 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.
To protect the forest cover to achieve sustainable supply of planted forest goods and services, Prof. Baffour noted that Ghana had commenced the implementation of the Forest Plantation Strategy 2017-2040.
He stated that the government was developing strategic partnerships with key stakeholders including research institutions, academia, private sector and other stakeholders to enhance the capacity of sub-national structures for effective implementation of the SDGs and mobilise adequate domestic resources to sustain and expand current interventions.
He said the government was focused on improving domestic resource mobilisation and leveraging available resources from the private sectorto accelerate the implementation of priority interventions.
A data roadmap with three priority areas for action - filling data gaps, encouraging data use and strengthening the data ecosystem was being implemented to address data availability challenges
Alexandra Bankole Williams, a visually impaired person, who jointly presented Ghana's VNR with the minister, indicated the readiness of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to collaborate with government to improve awareness creation on the SDGs.
She said that "citizens' awareness of the SDGs was crucial because many of the SDGs can only be achieved through behavioural change" and called on government to help strengthen their capacity in the area of efficient data collection to be able to produce complementary data for monitoring progress.
The HLPF, which was held on July 17, was 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.
It brought together over 2,000 participants from governments, businesses, academia, civil society organisations, youth groups and United Nations Agencies among others.