The UN resident co-ordinator for Ghana, Charles Abani has said the world cannot sit blindly and proclaim blindly that it is on course to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Abani said the damaging effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic means that the world needs to redouble its effort at achieving the SDGs.
Speaking with Kwaku Nhyira-Addo on the Asaase Breakfast Show on Monday (24 October) he said, “Certainly Ghana has made progress on many of these SDGs.
In fact, earlier this year the 2022 Voluntary National Review which Ghana conducted [bravely in my opinion] in spite of the impact of COVID, showed a lot of progress in key areas.
But of course, there are many challenges; those challenges are exacerbated by the impact of COVID.”
He added, “When we talk about the impact of COVID, we talk about the socioeconomic impact of COVID rather than necessarily particularly on the African continent the immediate direct health impact of COVID-19.
We saw children out of school for lengthy periods of time, we saw businesses close, and we saw economies shrink dramatically.
We [also] saw resources being diverted to be spent on important issues addressing the pandemic which otherwise could have gone towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
“And so in a sense, that progress though we remain optimistic about it, we should not be fooled into believing that without redoubled efforts we will make that progress.”
Abani said access to services remains weak, particularly for people in rural areas adding that for instance “since a lot of digital learning took place and only those who could afford it took the opportunities … we cannot sit here blindly and say we are course to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
He said, “Ghana equally has a very young population and that demographic potency has a dividend potentially or a catastrophe and it really depends on how Ghana is ready to harness that opportunity.”
Abani said the world needs to resolve several dilemmas over the next few years “if really we want to make a dent in achieving the SDGs.”