Let’s take the Sustainable Development Goals pledge together. Pledge with me to make sustainability a priority personally. Pledge with me, “I understand that my actions, behaviors, and choices make an impact on the society, environment, and our economy. I pledge to make intentional choices that will benefit the quality of life for myself and advocate for choices that benefit the lives of others”. Don’t only be awesome in life, learn to #beHumane.
Every 21 September was Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day in Ghana. This holiday commemorated the birthday of Ghana’s main independence leader, first prime minister, and first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. He was one president that believed so much in Africa. To this end, it’s great to know of the African Unions agenda 2063 as visibility on it is low compared to the SDG. Look out for a special feature – the Africa we want is possible, lets form it together.
Ghana recently launched its 2022 Voluntary National Review (VNR) report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). The 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana provides the expectations from government, citizens, and other entities on what should be accomplished by the state. These expectations make room for human rights, balanced development, environmental protection, international affairs, among others. According to the report, a total of 102 indicators were assessed in the 2022 VNR compared to 66 in the year 2019.
World leaders declared the period 2020 to 2030 as the Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2019. According to His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana in his opening remarks read on his behalf; He cherished strongly the hope that this would trigger the rapid scaling-up of sustainable solutions needed to address the critical challenges facing our world. Unfortunately, few months after this historic declaration, our world was hit by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, pushing us into “unchartered territory”, while fear and sheer terror gripped many.
The pandemic since have had a devastating effect on lives, livelihoods, global supply chains, businesses, and significantly eroded the development gains made over the last decade and the prospects of achieving the SDGs have become more daunting, but he dare say that giving up is not an option for Ghana. As the world re-opens up and begins to recover from the deleterious effects of the pandemic, the SDGs have, become even more relevant as they present us with a credible pathway for a prosperous, inclusive, resilient and peaceful world. Continuing from previous publication…
What then is the status of the indicators as reported in the 2022 VNR on the SDG’s?
SDG goal six is looking at ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. According to the report, access to improved drinking water sources has improved from 87.7% to 92.2% an indication Ghana is on the path to achieving is national target of equitable access to basic drinking water services by 2025. Interestingly the two main sources of water are sachet water (51.5%) and pipe-borne (33.5%) for urban and borehole/tube well (33.6%) and pipe-borne water (28.8%) for rural. What will become of this progress with an increase in utilities seeing sachet water earmarked to be sold at GHC0.50 per sachet with immediate effect? Greater Accra, Bono, Upper West, Ashanti and Central regions are said to have almost achieved universal access whiles Northern, Oti, North East and Savannah still lacks access to improved water sources.
Sanitation is equally a great issue of interest, household toilet coverage according to the report also increased from 46% in 2010 to 59.3% in 2021 and for both periods access to toilets was higher among urban than rural households. Households using public toilets have declined by 12% to 23% from 35% in 2021 and same for open defecation from 19% to 17.7%. What then are the emerging issues for consideration; For Ghana to achieve the target of ending open defecation by 2030, it will require an average annual reduction of about 2% of population without toilet facilities. More than 45% of households are still without toilet facilities and the progress towards ending open defecation is slow. Data from the 2021 population and housing census (PHC) revealed 70.6% of households still dispose-off waste water on the ground and on the street and outside. This practice is common in rural (88.9%) than urban (58.7%) areas with only 2.3% households relying on sewerage system for waste water disposal. With water systems, discharge of wastewater by soak away is common in Greater Accra region (17.8%) the practicing of throwing water on the ground is more common in Bono East region (89.3) by regional segregation. There is equally slow progress to achieving the very high scale of integrated water management. Our water basins and water quality are also affected with activities of illegal mining, uncontrolled pollution and dumping of refuse into river bodies.
SDG goal seven is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Ghana is on track to achieving the universal access to electricity with 86.3% of the population said to be connected to the national grid in 2021. Urban population used about 95.2 % of electricity as main source of lighting in 2021 and 72.6% for rural areas for 2021. Greater Accra region continues to enjoy the highest electricity coverage (96.1%) whiles Upper East region has the least (57.0%).
The proposition of urban (51.3%) and rural (14.8%) households using gas (LPG) as their primary cooking fuel increased according to the report whiles the proposition of households using electricity as the main source of cooking declined from 0.5% in 2010 to 0.4% in 2021. Interestingly enough, the use of charcoal and wood has remained the main cooking fuel for more than half of the total population translating into a 54.3%.
The electricity generation mix in Ghana is approximately 34.1% for hydro as against 65.3% for thermal and a further 0.6% for renewables. Renewable energy share of the total final energy consumption has seen a decline from 42.7% in 2019 to 39.6% in 2021.
What then are the emerging issues for consideration; the increasing cost of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a challenge. Media reports on price hikes has it that; in January 2022 a kilogram of LPG sold at GHC8.93 totaling a GHC129.49 for a 14.5 kg then in May 2022 the same commodity sold for GHC11. 18 for a kilogram, this means GHC162.11 will be the total cost for the same 14.5kg. Its September 2022 now, can you imagine the cost as we approach the yelitude? Switch back to charcoal will affect the level of progress however the heightened economic situation could compel more people to opt for charcoal in a bit to managing the tough times. The situation that more than half of household population depends still on wood fuel and charcoal means is of great concern. Further issues includes the gradual improvement in the share of renewables in energy generation mix, decreasing cost of solar panels, continuous disparity in access to electricity between the northern and southern parts.
Earlier publication reviewed progress made for SDG goals one to 6. Subsequent editions will review the other SDG goals to include; goal 8 – promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. Goal 9 – build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. Goal 10 – reduce inequality within and among countries. Goal 11 – make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Goal 12- ensures sustainable consumption and production patterns. Goal 13 – take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Goals 14- conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Goal 15- protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. Goal 16 –promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Goals 17-strengthen the Means of Implementation and Revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.
Baptista is a Hybrid Professional and the Executive Director of ProHumane Afrique International. ProHumane is a charitable, development & think thank organization working with communities & individuals to create sustainable solutions to transform communities through diverse pro-poor initiatives. Pro-poor initiatives are initiatives that help to alleviate poverty. Baptista is a realist, affable, simple and humane. You can reach us via e-mail on [email protected] and follow this conversation on all our social media sites: Linked-In/ Twitter/ Facebook/ Instagram: ProHumane Afrique International. Call or WhatsApp: +233(0)262213313. Hashtag: #behumane #thegivingcapsules #prohumaneafriqueint #fowc