Ghana Unlikely To Attain Some MDGs

ISSERWith barely two years away from the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), development practitioners continue to flag the challenges associated with meeting the goals and issues to be considered for the post-2015 agenda.

The Social Development Forum of the Economy of Ghana Network (EGN), a policy think tank at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), of the University of Ghana, says Ghana is not likely to attain many of the goals despite important policy implementation initiatives.

According to the forum, given the trend of assessment of the MDGs, outcome in the country, it was clear that while much had been achieved since 2000, a lot more remained to be done to firmly launch Ghana on the path of equitable and sustainable development
This came to light at a workshop held by the EGN at ISSER under the theme, ‘Insight into the Millennium Development Goals and emerging issues for the post 2015 Agenda,’ meant to discuss and document researcher feedback on the goals.

The MDGs were adopted by member countries of the United Nations at the historic Millennium Summit in 2000 to improve human development in eight key areas by the year 2015.

While Ghana is said to have met the goal one of halving extreme hunger and poverty ahead of the targeted year, the attainment of the rest of the goals, especially goals four and five, relating to child and maternal mortality, remain problematic.
For instance, maternal mortality in the country stands at about 345 per 100,000 and Ghana has two years left to attain the goal of 185 per 100,000 live births.

Giving an insight on the MDGs, Professor Ellen Bortei Doku Aryeetey, and Director of the Centre for Social Policy Studies and Associate Professor at ISSER, observed that despite MDG minimum standards, “we have persistent social exclusionary practices that serve as a barrier for the poor to access basic social services.”
She said “social injustice undermines economic growth, undermines social cohesion for peace and prosperity,” noting that although MDGs were expected to contribute effectively towards social inclusion, there were some doubts about the goals.

Prof. Aryeteey said people have “multiple deprivations” and that the MDGs have not sufficiently reached out to the different groups that experienced different vulnerabilities, adding “we have a situation of social exclusion despite the efforts.”
She said the social exclusion was as a result of the marginalisation of these groups, “aggravated by poverty, ignorance, discriminations and institutional marginalisation.”
Prof. Aryeteey said underlying dynamics of some socio-cultural practices limits access to some basic services and “limits the impact of whatever that we are trying to achieve.”
She pointed out that harmful cultural practices, violent against women, the issue of the girl child were some of the underlying dynamics that that militated against the attainments of the goals, stressing that such underlying dynamics must be addressed to realise the goals.

“Until there is concerted efforts in addressing these underlying dynamics to overcome these limitations these problems would still be there, some social groups have been socialise that they cannot hold office,” she added.

Prof. Aryeteey said the MDGs must have transformative spirit explaining that MDGs on access to basic education must go beyond enrolment to include the transformation of the educational systems to set new norms and values to support all-inclusiveness in education.

Access to education must ensure inclusive education in which all the social groups with different vulnerabilities have access to service and there must be opportunity for lifelong learning for all social groups, including People With Disabilities (PWDs).

Prof.Aryeetey noted that the MDGs had been silent on some social groups like the youth, the elderly and PWDs, stressing that the monitoring was very key in realising the targets set in the MDGs.

She stressed on the need to integrate the youth into mainstream of leadership and the world of work and to address the needs of the vulnerable in the remaining two years, to improve progress in overcoming social exclusion toward all inclusive society. – Salifu Abdul-Rahaman

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