Christine Evans-Klock, 29 October 2018, Accra: Remarks at UNSDP Media Launch

UNCT-GH-UNSDP-media-launch-2018Minister for Planning, Honourable George Yaw Gyan-Baffour, and Ms Christine Evans-Klock, UN Resident Coordinator

Thank you for being here this morning for the media launch of the UN partnership framework with Ghana for the next five years.

The UN partners with the Government of Ghana, with civil society, and with the private sector for sustainable economic, social and environmental development, peace and democracy, and human rights.

In June this year, the Government of Ghana and the United Nations in Ghana jointly signed the UN Sustainable Development Partnership, a 5-year framework to guide the UN’s support to national development efforts through 2022.

I want to tell you a little bit this morning about

  • the process of how this partnership was developed,
  • its content, and
  • its implementation.

2017 marked the end of the previous partnership framework, the UN Development Assistance Framework for 2012-17.  It had been timed to coincide with the national development planning cycle, and ended last year.

So in 2016, we began the development a new strategic document to coordinate UN Agencies’ support in Ghana, and in this process the UN Country Team in Ghana followed good practice of the UN everywhere.

First, we undertook a human rights assessment, because UN partnership agreements must take a human rights up front approach, in keeping with UN values.

We listened to civil society organizations, NGOs, academia and government stakeholders about who is at risk of being left behind in Ghana because their human rights are not recognized and protected.

They raised concerns about who is at risk of being left behind because of gender inequality, because of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, because of lack of access to legal aid or overcrowding in prisons, because of lack of protection due to migrant or refugee status, because of lack of access to quality health care and education services, because of stigma on the basis of HIV/AIDS status, and because of environmental degradation.

Second, we undertook an evaluation of the UNDAF, about how well results had been achieved, and the quality of the partnership between the UN and the Government of Ghana, and among UN Agencies.

We learned that we needed to push progress on “delivering as one” UN and to be more effective in sharing information about the work of UN partners in Ghana.

And Third, we undertook a Common Country Analysis, to identify the underlying development challenges in Ghana.

Extensive consultations with stakeholders identified four root causes of development challenges:

  • Persisting inequalities, measured in income and in access to quality health, education and justice services, with growing polarization between regions, rural and urban areas and social groups.
  • Low productivity, dependence on export of raw natural resources and unprocessed crops continues in an environment not yet conducive to transformation to higher-value activities, private sector growth and better jobs.
  • Demographic dividend, a workforce-age bulge, is a potential asset for economic development, but coupled with persisting regional disparities and poor education attainment drives internal and external migration, rapid and unplanned urbanization, and burgeoning demand for decent work for young people.  Unmet expectations both robs Ghana of human resource-led development and undermines social cohesion.
  • Environmental degradation and poor sanitation threaten public health, undermine future growth in forestry, mining, fisheries, and agriculture, and lowers resilience to natural hazards.

The UNSDP then identified priorities for UN partnership at the concurrence of national development needs and strategies to address them, UN comparative advantage, and opportunities for partnerships that could sustain efforts and achieve results over these five years.

Most importantly, therefore, the Partnership Framework aligns with the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, 2017-2024 (CPESDP), which sets out a vision for national development which incorporates Ghana’s global development commitments to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an ambitious, global and unified agenda for social, economic and environmental development, translated into concrete and measurable results through its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 2030 Agenda commits UN Member States to complete the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals on poverty, health, and education, and to meet higher aspirations to reduce social and gender inequalities, boost economic and environmental development, strengthen national institutions for peace and security, and reinforce international partnerships on trade, development, corruption and climate change.

The UN’s partnership for 2018-2022 sets out four strategic Results Areas that closely align to the five components of the 2030 Agenda: Prosperity, People, Planet, Peace, and Partnerships, as localized in the Coordinated Programme:

Results Area One, Shared prosperous economy, promotes productive agriculture to drive sustainable industrialisation, ensure a hunger- and malnutrition-free nation and generate decent jobs that expand opportunities for inclusive economic growth.

Results Area Two, Social investment in people, supports Government capabilities to deliver equitable, quality and financially-sustainable social services in education, health and social protection, especially to vulnerable groups.

Results Area Three, Protected and safe environment, promotes effective and coherent environmental governance at national and local levels and seeks to build up the resilience of both urban and rural communities.

And Results Area Four, Inclusive, accountable governance, strengthens the transparency and accountability of institutions at all levels that protect the rights of all Ghanaians.

Within these Results Areas, UN actions will help achieve cross-cutting priorities that reflect

  • UN values on human rights,
  • gender equality and women’s empowerment,
  • the generation and use of data for development,
  • avoiding stigma and promoting prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS,
  • resilience to natural disasters and the impact of climate change, and
  • youth development.

The entire framework is designed to support Ghana’s national development strategy that private sector-led growth be inclusive and equitable growth.

The partnership framework sets out the collective contributions of 24 UN Agencies working in Ghana. It will be implemented through annual joint work plans agreed with Government Ministries and Agencies and carried out with many implementing partners in government, civil society, and academia.

Monitoring and guidance for UNSDP implementation will be the responsibility of the High Level Ministerial Committee for the SDGs established by HE President Akufo-Addo in September last year.  This will anchor UN work firmly in national strategies to achieve the SDGs and drive coherence.

The title for the UN programme for Ghana, UN Sustainable Development Partnership, rightly reflects the nature of UN work in Ghana as a partnership, as a shared commitment to achieving the SDGs and the meaningful difference they can make in the lives of all Ghanaians, and the prosperity of its economy, and the effectiveness of its institutions.  wo commitments.

Through this partnership, the collective strength of the UN in Ghana will:

  • pilot projects to demonstrate new approaches to entrenched development challenges and inequalities;
  • cooperate in extending essential public services to underserved social groups and locations;
  • advise on the statistical foundation, design and practical implementation of policies and programmes;
  • strengthen the institutions of democracy, justice and accountability; and
  • facilitate knowledge sharing across countries.

The strength of national institutions and electoral processes in Ghana maintains expectations for transparent and accountable governance. This presents enormous potential for protecting basic human rights, driving inclusive economic development, and achieving the SDGs. The collective partnership of the United Nations in Ghana will continue to focus on realising this potential.

Ghana’s success in mobilising domestic resources to invest in development, and achieve the SDGs, depends on

  • success in combatting corruption,
  • mobilising domestic resources through equitable and transparent policies on taxing households and businesses, and
  • raising revenues from sustainable development of the bountiful natural resources in order to benefit all Ghanaians.

This success also depends on perception of the effectiveness of public policies and programmes to meet daily needs for jobs, sanitation, health care, education, housing, and transportation. Ghana’s design and adoption of policies in these key areas is commendable; and thus much of the focus in the UN Partnership going forward is about supporting their implementation, including promoting sufficient funding and public accountability for their implementation and impact.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank Ghana for its leadership in the United Nations. I am grateful to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration for its support of many aspects of national participation in the work of the UN.

I am grateful to HE President Akuffo-Ado for agreeing to continue to co-Chair the Secretary-General’s Group of Eminent Advocates for the SDGs for another two-year term.  This position helps drive Ghana’s leadership across Africa and the world.   It also makes Ghana’s efforts more visible, as it continues to be accountable to citizens for the tangible difference the SDGs make in their lives.

On UN Day this year we again took the opportunity to acknowledge the life of service and impact of former UN Secretary-General, and son of Ghana, Mr Kofi Annan.

It was his vision to have the UN Member States agree to the Millennium Development Goals to reduce by half the share of the world’s population living in extreme poverty.  We did it.  Countries and development partners and the private sector working together did it.

The number of people living in extreme poverty fell from 1.9 Billion in 1990 to 836 million in 2015.

And it is worth acknowledging again that Ghana was the first country in sub-Sahara Africa to achieve this goal.

This success gives us confidence that the SDGs, although more ambitious, are also within our grasp.  And the document that we are launching today, the UN Sustainable Development Partnership, is focused on partnering with Ghana in its national strategies to be sure that Ghana again leads in achieving the SDGs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In closing this morning, I would like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration for sponsoring this media launch.

I thank the Media present for your interest.

And I thank the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Planning for their leadership, in the design and now implementation of the UN partnership framework.