SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
One of the noblest decisions the world has taken in this twenty-first century is the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs present us with a great opportunity to bring prosperity to millions of people, address the existential challenge of climate change, and enhance global security and most importantly to build the World that We Want. Fortuitously, the Global Goals are well aligned with Africa’s Agenda 2063. The human, environmental and climate gains that will accrue from successful implementation of these global goals are important for national, regional and global peace, prosperity and stability.
It has been almost four years since we committed ourselves to this noble and game-changing agenda, and the Voluntary National Review gives us an opportunity to take stock of progress made, identify areas where we fall short, and crucially to put in place urgent policy and programmatic actions to accelerate implementation of the Goals. I am delighted that, this year, Ghana has been accorded the opportunity to share the results of our actions, our experiences, challenges and best practices with the rest of the world through our Voluntary National Review report.
Since their adoption, the Government and people of Ghana have taken up the challenge of the SDGs, and we are working assiduously towards their successful implementation. We have incorporated the goals into our national development plans, including our national budget, and, in our unflinching commitment to Leave no one behind, we have ensured that our flagship programmes – Free Senior High School education policy, “One District, One Factory” initiative, programme for “Planting for Food and Jobs”, “One Village, One Dam” initiative, amongst others – are fundamentally about achieving the SDGs.
Additionally, we have established a robust national architecture to support the implementation of the Goals. This includes a High-Level Ministerial Committee charged with the responsibility of providing leadership and strategic oversight of the implementation process.
Four years into the implementation of the SDGs, the Voluntary National Review process has provided us the platform to assess how these initiatives are having an impact on prospects for achieving the Goals. The results are, indeed, encouraging, but they also show that we are far from where we need to be, and, indeed, want to be. I am, nonetheless, hopeful that with the commitment, hard work and ingenuity of the Ghanaian people, the SDGs will be within our reach. Whilst the tasks may be daunting and the challenges numerous, we are putting in place the necessary policies and appropriate measures to ensure that our country becomes a shining example in the achievement of the SDGs by the year 2030.
Our strategic approach to scaling up implementation will continue to involve all stakeholders. And notably, we recognise that the huge cost associated with financing the Goals can only be met with a significant boost in private capital and with businesses fully aligning behind the implementation process. Towards this end, we have established a CEOs Advisory Group on the SDGs, made up of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of key private sector entities, who are leading and championing the private sector’s engagement. Together with the Advisory Group, we have created an SDGs Delivery Fund that seeks to pull together corporate social responsibility resources of the private sector to fund transformational SDGs initiatives. Moreover, we are establishing a Green Fund to support the scaling up of interventions in the renewable energy sector, and, most especially, transitioning towards widespread use of solar power.
In addition to our engagement with the private sector, we have also prioritised engagement with the youth to fully unleash their creativity and potential through targeted programmes. We are pursuing innovative financing opportunities and finding innovative solutions to the many problems that confront us.
A critical ingredient, in making sustainable economic progress, is to ensure a stable democratic system of governance. Fortunately, Ghana is making progress in this direction. We are poised to leverage our stable democracy to achieve sustainable development. Our commitment to the Goals will not end with this Voluntary National Review process. We will continue to pursue the right policies, build the right partnerships and take the necessary actions to build the Ghana we want.
For us as a country, the SDGs are indispensable. We must continually remind ourselves that there are too many precious lives at stake – the survival of the current generation and generations yet unborn – and that we have a moral duty and obligation to bequeath a more prosperous and a more secured world to future generations. We must do everything within our power to make it happen; achieve the goals, and save our people from the indignity associated with poverty and under-development.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
President of the Republic of Ghana and
Co-Chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Eminent Group of SDGs Advocates