The Director of the Ghana campus of the University of Applied Management, Professor Martin Gyambrah, says government urgently needs to come clear on its strategy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, with specific priorities, timelines and initiatives for implementation.
Professor Gyambrah said communication of government’s strategy for the SDGs is essential for other development actors such as civil society organizations and the private sector, to start developing specific projects and targets.
The Director was speaking at a stakeholders’ conference in Accra on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) organized by the Centre for CSR West Africa.
The conference which highlighted the role of businesses and CSR in the new development agenda, was supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other organisations and businesses.
“As it stands now, we should have seen the Government of Ghana clearly listing the focal areas, in terms of the specific aspects of the SDG objectives that it seeks to pursue in the short term and medium term. But we can tell there is no specific communication which sets the agenda for all of us to pursue.”
“So what we would see basically will then be pockets of initiatives and then we will end up getting to the same point that we have always been,” Professor Gyambrah said while calling on government to take action and institute monitoring frameworks for activities geared towards attaining the SDGs.
Professor Gyambrah added swiiftly that there must be highly reliable and specific data to pursue the SDGs, beyond the general figures usually available, which are not very reliable for deploying initiatives and measuring impact.
“Often times most of the development objectives that we set and the strategies deployed are not really backed by reliable data. We don’t really know in accurate terms people who have housing, people who do not have housing; we don’t know in accurate terms, people who stay in urban areas and people who stay in peri-urban areas and people staying in rural areas.”
The 17 SDGs were adopted in September 2015 to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and climate change, with the United Nations highlighting the complementary but crucial role of businesses, and the need for better coordination of the development activities of the private sector.
Ms Pearl Darko, the National Coordinator of the SDG Philanthropy Platform in Ghana – an international organization under the UNDP – reiterated the role of the private sector in the SDGs, saying that due to the huge development funding gap, governments will lead but cannot achieve the SDGs alone.
She said this was the reason for the establishment of the SDG Philanthropy Platform which has the role of coordinating the development activities of the private sector and philanthropic organizations, to reduce duplicity of effort and align their activities with national priorities.
“Everybody is doing their own thing. But if we want to be efficient, if we want to be effective, we must fall within the development agenda,” she said.
By Emmanuel Odonkor
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