In September 2015, world leaders met to take a very bold decision, which manifested in the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This marked the beginning of a new era in the pursuit of sustainable development with a commitment to “Leave No One Behind.” The SDGs are the boldest and loudest articulation of a collective transformational agenda the world has ever seen. The Goals present us with a historic opportunity to transform our world for the better; to end hunger and ensure all human beings achieve their full potential; to protect our planet against degradation and climate change; and to ensure that human beings enjoy a peaceful and prosperous life.
The success of the SDGs requires the collective action of all, including governments, the private sector, civil society organisations and communities. It is for this reason that the UN Secretary-General established the Eminent Group of Advocates for the SDGs to support him in generating momentum and championing accelerated implementation of the Goals across the world. In April, 2017, the United Nations Secretary-General appointed His Excellency the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to co-Chair the work of the Eminent Group of Advocates for the SDGs with Ms Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway. Since his appointment, the President has shown unparalleled commitment to championing implementation of the Goals at the national and international levels.
This Annual Report highlights important strategic activities and initiatives that the President, through the SDGs Advisory Unit, has undertaken to support the President’s leadership role on the SDGs. The Report covers the period between August 2017, when the SDGs Advisory Unit was established in the Office of the President, and December 2018 when the President’s initial appointment as co-Chair of the Eminent Group of Advocates came to an end. In October 2018, the UN Secretary-General commended the President for his commitment towards realization of the Global Goals and renewed the appointment for a further two years till the end of the year 2020.
Crucially, at the national level, several measures have been put in place, and important actions taken to support achievement of the SDGs. These include the establishment of a robust architecture to oversee implementation of the Goals, integration of the Goals into the overarching national development framework, the adoption of SDG-based budgeting to track expenditure flows in support of SDGs implementation, and the implementation of various flagship programmes which directly contribute to the achievement of the Goals, such as the Free Senior High School programme, the Planting for Food and Jobs and the One District One Factory initiatives.
The SDGs agenda is in its fourth year of implementation, and it essential that we step up and scale up implementation. Given the levels of ambition, it is clear that a business as usual approach will not suffice, and that success will require a strong partnership amongst all segments of society.
We owe it a duty to the present and future generations to achieve the SDGs in their entirety. The time for action is now! Let’s work together to achieve the noble goals enshrined in the SDGs.
Dr. Eugene Owusu,
Special Advisor to the President on the SDGs and Head of the SDGs Advisory Unit, Office of the President