‘Ghana achieving millennium goals’

Dr. Esther Ofei - Aboagye (inset) launching the MDGs report.                          Photo Michael Ayeh

Dr. Esther Ofei – Aboagye (inset) launching the MDGs report. Photo Michael Ayeh

The Ghana Millennium Development Goals 2015 report shows that the country has made a significant progress in achieving the targets set in the goals.

The report, the sixth and final one in the lead up to the adoption of the post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda (SDG) to be implemented in January 2016, was launched by the vice chairperson of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Dr. Esther Ofei-Aboagye, in Accra yesterday.

The report showed that Ghana largely achieved Goals I, 2, 4, and 8 that had to do with eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, universal primary education, reduction in child mortality as well as indicators to develop a global partnership for development.

Dr William Baah-Boateng and Eric Osei- Assibey, both of the University of Ghana, reviewed the document to set the stage for contributions and discussions from the audience.

Though the country did not achieve Goals 3 and 6 on the promotion of gender equality, women empowerment and combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases respectively, it made significant progress in those areas.

Ghana’s dark spots were on Goals 5 and 7 in which the country failed to achieve improvement in maternal health and ensuring environmental sustainability.

The report revealed that poverty declined from 17 per cent to eight per cent between 2006 and 2013, with seven regions scoring high marks in poverty reduction, while the phenomenon remains a challenge in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.

It said in spite of considerable gains made in child health since 1990, targets for infant and under-five mortality were unlikely to be met and signal the need for accelerated progress.

Under-five mortality rate improved from 122 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 82 per 1,000 live births in 2012 which falls short of the MDG target of 40 per 1,000 live birth.

Similarly, infant mortality fell marginally from 57 to 53 per 1,000 live births between 1994 and 2012 but was short of the target of 22 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Institutional maternal mortality fell from 216 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 144 per 100,000 live births, short of the global target of 54 per 100,000 live births in 2015.

Though the country achieved access to safe drinking water, sanitation remains a major challenge with only 48 per cent of the population having access to sanitation much lower than the 84 per cent target set in the MDG.

“I look forward to learning lessons documented in this report … where we can scale up promising endeavours , where we can   avoid re-inventing the wheel or where we can acknowledge that new approaches and more substantial, investment are needed, “ Christine Evan-Klock, the UN Resident Coordinator said at the launch.

Ms Evan-Klock, also the UNDP Resident Representative, added that now that Ghana had achieved lower middle status, the imperative was mounting to improve   domestic revenue mobilisation in order to be able to finance the policies and programmes   needed to complete the unfinished agenda and address the new commitments in the SDG.

Let us continue working together to integrate the new global SDG into the implementation and accomplishments of   the 15 of Ghana’s 40 year development plan”.

She said challenges of environment population issues and climate change were the new shared challenges that had been recognised in the ensuing global agenda.

Ms. Evan-Klock said significant progress had been made through the MDGs with the number of people living in extreme poverty declining from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 836 million in 2015.

The Director General of the NDPC Dr. Nii Moi Thompson said the lessons learnt from the MDGs and the targets set in the successive agenda would form the basis for the formulation of the 40 year development framework.

He said though Ghana had made significant progress, there was more room for improvement citing issues of urban rural dichotomy, development of slums as some of the challenges that needed much attention.

Dr. Osei-Assibey, an economist, enumerated some challenges including dwindling donor support in the light of the country attaining issues of inequalities especially poverty situation in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, the realignment of the targets set in the SDG to end in 2030 with that of the proposed 40-year development framework expected to span from 2017-2057.

He said the challenges must be addressed to resolve inequalities “so that no one is left behind in our quest to end poverty in all fronts.”

The international community is expected to adopt the SDG at the Sustainable Development Summit on September 25-27, to become operational from January 1, 2016 to succeed the MDGs.

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman

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