Christine Evans-Klock, 20 June 2017, Accra: Solidarity Message for General Meeting of the Civil Society Platform on the SDGs

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ghana has always been an active member of the United Nations, and was instrumental in the development of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.  Ghana undertook national consultations on “the Ghana we Want” as part of the extensive global grassroots consultations to articulate a vision for an ambitious, transformative development agenda.

Some of the priorities that emerged from the consultations in Ghana on the “future we want” were about reducing inequality and about having more good jobs for more young people.  These ambitions are reflected in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development agreed by UN Member States in 2015.

Agenda 2030 is a political commitment, and it is a Road Map for ending extreme poverty in all its forms, for overcoming uneven progress across regions and within countries, and for leaving no one behind.

It is one unified agenda for social, economic and environmental development, with its five components, which you all know very well as the Five Ps:

  • to end Poverty,
  • to Protect the Planet,
  • to Promote Prosperity,
  • to ensure Peace for all,
  • and to work together through Partnerships.

The SDGs are owned nationally, and each Government has the responsibility to set plans that make sense in their own country to achieve them.  But we learned from the Millennium Development Goals, the MDGs, that partnerships with Civil Society are critically important.

The work that the Civil Society Platform is doing here in Ghana goes far beyond raising awareness at community and district levels throughout the country.

Your work is about ensuring that all Ghanaians know that the SDGs are a promise made to them.  They must hold their leaders to their promise, to keep them accountable for steadily making progress in implementing the SDGs.  The first line of accountability is at the local level, where actions directly affect people’s access to water, to quality education, to health services, and being resilient in the face of extreme weather events … to give just a few examples.

Your work is about helping to bring about those changes, through direct action, service provision, advocacy, and policy advice you provide.  I am confident that your work will make a huge difference to Ghana’s success in achieving the Sustainable Development Agenda.

I have been impressed at the organisational expertise of the Platform.  You rightly recognised that your members work in each of the 17 SDGs and organised cooperation and coordination within them.  This is an asset to Ghana and an example of civil society ownership and promotion of the SDGs that we have been highlighting to others.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals translate the core values and principles underlying the Agenda into concrete and measurable and accountable results.  The UN is honoured to work with you, to be developing joint messages on the SDGs that can be delivered locally and in local languages by the UN and by Civil Society together, and to set out on a journey over the next 15 years that will propel forward Ghana’s equitable and sustainable development.

I wish you an excellent and productive General Meeting.