The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Platform on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has called for a paradigm shift from politically motivated policies to evidence-based interventions to promote the country’s sustainable development.
It said the churning out of policies geared towards short-term political interests was inimical to national development, as such policies failed to tackle key national development challenges.
A Co-chair of the CSOs Platform on SDGs, Siapha Kamara, who made the call, stressed that the implementation of politically induced policies over the years had contributed to making the local economy more susceptible to global crisis.
"We have politicians who bring policies that are so short-sighted and targeted at winning elections; and the electorate too is so gullible. What we are experiencing in Ghana today in terms of economic challenges shows that the weak policies politicians implement have exposed us, and we are far from sustainable development," he stressed.
Shadow VNR report
Mr Kamara made the call at the launch of the CSOs Shadow Report on the Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the SDGs in Accra yesterday.
The report was put together by the CSOs Platform on the SDGs, with funding from Action for Sustainable Development.
The VNR Shadow Report is dubbed: "Taking action on SDGs: Citizens’ perspective on the SDGs delivery mechanism in Ghana."
It focuses more on the institutions responsible for implementing the various goals.
It delves into the level of implementation of the SDGs at the national and the sub-national levels, the level of accountability and transparency, as well as the level of public awareness of the SDGs.
In gathering data for the report, 308 citizens were purposively sampled, 77 of which are activists of CSOs.
Mr Kamara observed that within the context of national development challenges, it was important for all citizens to be critical of policies that were put forward by politicians to make informed decisions.
"Our perspective should not just be about electing our party but also to electing policies that will not make us susceptible to the dictates of donor countries. If we continue to do this,
we are not serving the interest of our future generations," he stressed.
He also urged governance activists and CSOs to work together to ensure that citizens got the needed information that would empower them to analyse policies of those who wanted political leadership.
Again, he said for the country to experience the needed development, citizens and CSOs must ensure that they elect "principled people who will make decisions based on hardcore evidence".
A member of the Shadow Report Writing Committee, Archibald Adams, said the study found that there were national plans, actions and budgets on SDGs. as well as policy frameworks, "but their implementation has been slow".
He said the study also found that the institutions responsible for the implementation of the SDGs were not financially resourced.
He added that due to the absence of monitoring templates, there was no evaluation or assessment report on progress of the SDGs.
Touching on transparency and accountability mechanisms, he said although there were laws and systems in place, they had not been fully utilised.
"Public awareness of the SDGs is very low and capacity across agencies to speak to the goals, the indicators and the national strategy towards achieving them may also not be appreciable or acceptable balance," he added.
The report recommends that there must be proper integration of sectoral plans with SDGs.
It also recommends that deliberate effort must be made to engage the private sector, academia and other relevant stakeholders in the design and implementation of sectoral plans on the SDGs.
"There is also the need for greater awareness creation on the SDGs at both the local and the national levels and a conscious effort to build the capacity of CSOs and the media to contribute effectively to the implementation of the SDGs," he said.