Racing against time to meet SDG targets amidst economic and fiscal crunch


Ghana, like many other developing countries across the continent of Africa and the globe, faces the extra hurdle of reviving an economy battered by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the Russian-Ukraine War while meeting the targets and deadlines of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the deadline draws closer

The SDGs were adopted by the UN in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. This all-important call was embraced mainly by developing nations. However, the recent global socio-economic crisis has thrown into sharp focus the challenges impeding the implementation of the SDGs and triggered international discussions about how fragile economies will recover some of the progress they had made prior to the twin pandemics that led to the food, energy, and financial crisis across the world.

In Ghana, west Africa’s second largest economy, the government seems to be fully aware of the enormity of the task ahead and has outlined a raft of measures and identified 19 policy areas, which will spawn as many as 47 adaptation and mitigation programs of actions in a bid to achieve the targets within the deadline while ensuring the Ghanaian economy becomes resilient enough against future shocks.

As a consequence, the government started processes including replanting forests and restoring damaged ecosystems; climate resilient agriculture; the preservation of watersheds; the development of innovative solutions to manage the impacts of natural disasters; as well as developing climate resilient infrastructure. The transition to a low-carbon economy has also offered several job and business opportunities in the energy sector, also referred to as Green Jobs.
According to the ILO, twenty-four million new jobs will be created globally by 2030 if the right policies to promote a greener economy are put in place. The government of Ghana, in recognition of this, intends to utilize skills training and enterprise development programs such as `You Start’ to provide the skills set as well as the tools set to position young people to take advantage of the opportunities in the green economy and ultimately accelerate economic development.

Other initiatives include the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP BUSS), which was launched in May 2020, where a special fund was made available to cushion micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The Ghana CARES Obaatan Pa Programme was subsequently launched in 2021 as the government’s key recovery strategy and is providing funding and technical support to businesses to continue to expand and create more job opportunities

Ghana has also committed to strengthening its population’s resilience in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of its contribution to keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to keep it even lower, at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In light of the above, Ghana is slated to host a two-day `Accra SDGs Investment Fair’ on September 8th and 9th that will bring together entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers, public institutions, innovators, knowledge institutions, sustainability professionals, and multilateral and bilateral development partners to brainstorm and share expertise on renewable energy, waste to energy, sustainable transportation, and ecosystem services – which includes developments in air and water purification, pest control, soil renewal and fertilization, innovations in farming, advanced warning systems, as well as protection against extreme weather conditions.
These engagements are expected to enable Ghana to prepare, formulate and implement programs and policies that will revive the economy, create jobs and develop in sustainable ways while contributing to its quota in ensuring that all 17 interlinked Sustainable Development Goals, the shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, are achieved.

The writer is with the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry of Finance

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