- On May 28, 2020
By Ugonna Ukaigwe, National Coordinator, CSOs Platform on SDGs
Following the adoption of the SDGs in 2015, a coordinating unit for CSOs known as the Ghana Civil Society Organizations Platform on SDGs was established in 2015 to coordinate the activities of CSOs working on the Global Goals. The process leading to the establishment of the platform incorporated lessons learned from the Civil Society Platform on the MDGs, particularly on the need to have a decentralized structure that is owned by its members and sub-platforms.
The Ghana CSOs Platform on SDGs has strong and functional structures at the national level. For this reason, government has included the Platform in all the relevant SDGs implementation structures – the High-Level Inter-Ministerial Committee (HLIMC), the Implementation Coordinating Committee (ICC), the National Technical Committee (NTC), the Advisory Unit of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and most recently, the High-Level Committee for Ghana’s Voluntary National Review (VNR). However, this strategic model of partnership with civil society was not replicated at the district level.
To facilitate a multi-stakeholder engagement on the SDGs to spur sustainable development at the local level, CSOs Platform on SDGs collaborated with Care International Ghana, GIZ-Agenda 2030-Support for Decentralization Reforms and WaterAid Ghana, to establish thirteen Civil Society Platforms on SDGs in 13 Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts Assemblies (MMDAs) in East Mamprusi, Garu-Tempane, Nadowli-Kaleo, Ho, Bongo, Offinso South, Cape Coast, Sekondi-Takoradi, Kumasi, Sunyani, Tamale, Bolgatanga, and New Juaben South.
Each of these district platforms has prioritized a set of five SDGs that they will jointly work in partnership with local authorities. To ease coordination and facilitate the implementation of the prioritized goals, the platforms have elected six convening team members each, to lead and coordinate the activities of the platforms. The conveners will lead their members to develop and implement a one-year action plan based on the selected goals. The conveners have also been introduced to their district-level authorities and have had the opportunity to engage the authorities to speak about their expectations.
Some MMDAs have commended the establishment of the district platforms and indicated their commitment to working with the members and the conveners.
“The establishment of the district platforms is a good initiative that will make the work of the assembly easier. A district platform makes it easier to bring stakeholders within the civil society on board,” said Madam Yvonne Naboo, Deputy Director of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA).
Mr. Kingsley Kofi Sencherey, the Municipal Coordinating Director of Sunyani Municipal Assembly also said the availability of the CSOs platforms would provide a better avenue for effective information dissemination.
“I am happy that the CSOs will be working in close collaboration with us, they will be the best people to share information with other stakeholders, and when CSOs understand the issues, they can speak to it,” said Mr. Kofi Sencherey.
As a way of promoting mutual accountability, local authorities agreed to receive action plans from the district platforms and also welcome one of the conveners to sit in the District Coordinating and Planning Units (DCPU). Additionally, the 13 district platforms benefited from training on data visualization for the SDGs as well as strategies for mainstreaming SDGs targets and indicators into annual plans and programmes of their various organisations.
Since the establishment of the platforms, conveners have rallied their members together to implement activities. For example, members of the platforms in Ho, Cape Coast, Tamale, and Bolgatanga, led by their conveners, have initiated series of awareness programmes on the SDGs in their communities targeting school children, market women and the media.