Awareness creation on the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) is low in the country, despite four years of its implementation, a survey conducted by the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) has established.
According to the three month survey carried out in nine regions, from January, 49 per cent of 504 respondents said they were not aware of SDGs while 1.8 per cent said they were uncertain about their knowledge on SDGs.
The survey focused mainly on SDG 16 which is on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and aimed at identifying progress made in the implementation of the SDGs, challenges encountered and how to surmount them.
Conducted in collaboration with the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), it also sought to create awareness on the goals and engender participation among all stakeholders.
The findings were presented at stakeholder meeting held in Accra on Tuesday to validate the research dubbed ‘National review on progress in SDG Peace Goals Implementation in Ghana and the Role of Civil Society Organisations’.
Albert Yelyang, National Network Coordinator, WANEP-Ghana, in a presentation said 73. 9 per cent of the respondents blamed the government for their lack of knowledge, saying it had not created enough awareness.
Citing the reasons for the low awareness, he said, it was found out that the implementation of the goals seemed elitist, with many citizens left in the dark on the national programme and strategic plans.
He said the goals were centralised in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Accra and Regional Coordinating Councils, but not localised at the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
It was also discovered that low awareness would not help the attainment of all 17 goals, and therefore, recommended that awareness creation be boosted to enable the citizenry embrace the goals.
Mr Yelyang said there was the need to institutionalise the goals at the MMDAs and the community level, in addition to capacity building and external partnerships to improve implementation.
According to the survey, respondents want the government to prioritise Peace, justice and strong Institutions (SDG 16), followed by Good health and wellbeing (SDG3) and Decent work and economic growth (SDG8).
Clean water and sanitation (SDG6), Industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG9) and Gender equality (SDG5) were listed respectively as priorities, Mr Yelyang stated.
Specific pertinent issues respondents wanted addressed by the government included; crime prevention, upholding the rule of law, effective justice systems, poverty reduction, job creation and women empowerment.
The Programme Director and Deputy Executive Director OF WANEP, Levinia Addae- Mensah, called for strong partnership between stakeholders in implementing the SDGs.
She stated that the implementation of the SDGs could not be achieved without a peaceful society adding that there was the need for civil society to be involved in its process.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR AND DEBORAH ASUMA