- On July 15, 2019
On July 4, 2019, the Ghana Civil Society Platform on the SDGs launched its first shadow report titled “Telling the Ghanaian story through the Lens of Citizens” at the Coconut Grove Regency Hotel in Accra.
The report complements Government’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) report and highlights CSOs contributions to the implementation of the SDGs, assesses levels of public awareness on the SDGs and presents the experiences and perceptions of households from across the country.
The event was attended by 230 dignitaries, including government functionaries, diplomats, private sector actors and Civil Society Organizations including the media among others. The attendees shared solidarity and good will messages in recognition of the significant role Civil Society play in the implementation of the SDGs.
Chairperson for the event, Prof. George Gyan Baffour, the Hon. Minister for Planning was represented by Dr. Christine Okae Asare. In a statement read on behalf of the Minister, Dr Asare noted that one of the key factors that has ensured progress on Ghana’s efforts in achieving the 2030 agenda for sustainable development has been the strong partnership that exist between government and civil society organizations.
She acknowledged that, right from the start of the open working groups at the intergovernmental stages of the Sustainable Development Goals development, CSOs have partnered and contributed constructively to national and global discussions on the global goals. This is “an illustration of our commitment to fostering and strengthening partnerships and working to complement each other through the structures that government has put in place to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the SDGs in Ghana”, She said.
Dr Asare emphasised the active participation of Civil Society as a sure way to attaining the SDGs.
“An active and vibrant civil society ready to complement government efforts and demand accountability on behalf of the citizens of the country cannot be overemphasised. Government appreciates the commitment of the CSOs to the 2030 agenda, which is further reflected by the preparation of this shadow report, and stands ready to engage more with the CSOs as you strive to achieve the common objective of the future we want.”
Ms. Beauty Emefa, Co-Chair of the Ghana CSOs platform on SDGs, said CSOs has a mandate to hold government accountable and should not see ourselves as competitors but as complementary partners, forming a critical mass of advocates for greater accountability and equity in the implementation of the SDGs. The collective action demonstrated by our membership is indeed prove that in unity, we thrive.
Ms Emefa stated further that, the attainment of the transformational objectives within the remaining years of agenda 2030 will require the concerted efforts of all actors, and therefore encouraged all stakeholders to support the attainment of these goals and the vision they provide for a more inclusive and sustainable Ghana. “Let us work together to achieve the SDGs by ensuring that no Ghanaian is left behind, this will require timely and sustained engagement with government, the private sector, CSOs including the media, citizens, the youth, development partners among others”, Said Emefa.
Head of Government Programme at GIZ, Raphael Frerkin expressed his satisfaction with the work of CSOs in promoting good governance by particularly strengthening the voice of citizens from the grassroots level to hold government accountable. He said this was enough reason for GIZ to continue to provide both technical and financial support to coordinate CSOs efforts in improving the democratic structures in Ghana.
Ms Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, the UN Resident Coordinator, described the Voluntary National Review process in Ghana as exemplary. “The processes in Ghana in my view has been quite exemplary”, she said. “From the media launch of the VNR process where civil society was invited by government to make a statement, to the launch of the shadow report today, where the civil society has selected a member of government to be the chairperson. Now, we have just learnt that government has given some of its official time to the civil society to also present its shadow report at the High Level Political Forum in New York. “This is fantastic”, she remarked!
Sylvia also commended the CSOs platform for its leadership in promoting the participation of all segment of the society, especially making the voices of the most marginalised heard and captured in their report saying “we can’t expect government to do it alone.”
The private sector actors were not left out. Nana Osei Bonsu, CEO of Private Enterprise Federation in a statement, read on behalf of the federation congratulated the CSO platform on SDGs for promoting multi stakeholder approach towards achieving the SDGs.
He said the complementary efforts of the CSOs is very commendable and should not be seen as anti-government, but rather, a need to put the government on its toes and to also provide opportunities to put things in perspective for addressing the issues on sustainable development.
Osei Bonsu further stated the commitment of the private sector to the attainment of agenda 2030. “The private sector led by the Private Enterprise Federation is fully committed to the successful implementation of the SDGs and we will continue to engage civil society and government in many ways through which the country can deliver on its targets.”
The report was finally launched by the government representative, Dr. Christine Asare, who reiterated government appreciation of the CSOs for producing the shadow report.
“As government, we are very proud of what the CSOs have produced, this report has been complementary, it is not a shadow, is not a critique, we realised that it has brought to fore some of the gaps that we didn’t look at under our report, and when it happens like this, it strengthens the whole SDGs process. I like to say ‘Ayekooo Civil Society’! Government is really grateful for this report.”
In a closing remark, Dr. Esther Ofei Aboagye, who reviewed the CSOs shadow report, applauded the emerging culture of collaboration between CSOs and government in the country that has resulted in the “reduction of mutual mistrust and suspicion and rather increased partnership in the implementation of the SDGs.” She however, expressed worries about the rising inequality levels in the country and calls for a step up efforts to deal with the issue, since it’s key to achieving the SDGs agenda of leaving no one behind.