In Ghana, everybody has a voice in post-2015 consultations

voicesThe eight Millennium Development Goals – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest people.

Leading up to the year 2015, the United Nations is planning a series of consultations to help shape the post-2015 agenda with support from civil society coalitions.

This process includes the creation of a high-level panel, over 50 national and thematic consultations, community-based discussion and a global online conversation – all of which will contribute to a vision for The World We Want beyond 2015. It will be important that the post-2015 debate be informed by inputs and ideas from a broad base of civil society, marginalized groups and others who have been left out of discussions on development priorities.

TAMALE, Ghana, 14 December 2012 – What is the greatest hope for three educated young women living in northern Ghana?

Esther Agana, Angelina Anabile and Bridget Teni want a decent job.

Post-2015 consultations

The three women were sharing their vision of the ‘dunya’ (world) they want at post-2015 consultations in Tamale.

Ghana is one of 50 countries chosen to hold national consultations about the world post-2015. The country consultations have been designed to formulate ideas for a shared global vision of The World We Want, building on the Millennium Development Goals. Civil society, marginalized groups, and others previously left out of discussions on development priorities have been included in the consultations.

Inequity was a major theme discussed at the first of the consultation sessions in Ghana, held in the northern city of Tamale on November 27–28. UNICEF staff assisted in the organization and facilitation of the event, which drew out the views of participants in group work and focus group discussions.

© UNICEF Ghana/2012
Inequity was a major theme at the meeting, which was designed to include marginalized groups and others previously left out of discussions on development priorities.

“While we’re not working, we’re not helping to build the future”

Ghana is experiencing an economic boom, thanks to the discovery of offshore oil. But the inflow of investment – so obvious in the capital Accra, where new building works herald a period of prosperity – is yet to be felt in the far north of Ghana.

Ms. Agana, Ms. Anabile and Ms. Teni travelled six hours by two shared taxis and a bus to get to the consultations. They joined more than 200 representatives of youth, people with disabilities, labour organizations and residents of poor rural communities.

Employment, the women said, is the one thing of most concern to Ghanaians in their 20s. Ms. Agana and Ms. Teni are both unemployed, while Ms. Anabile works at a community library.

“While we’re not working, we’re not helping to build the future,” said Ms. Anabile, who lives in the community of Sumbrungu in the Upper East Region of Ghana.

Influencing global decisions

National Development Planning Commission Director General Dr. Regina O. Adutwum said the focus group discussions would influence decisions at a global level.

“The world we live in today is the result of decisions made yesterday. The world we will live in tomorrow is based on the decisions we make today. None of us can count ourselves out.”

United Nations Resident Co-Ordinator Ruby Sandhu-Rojon said that the post-2015 consultations would ensure that the future development agenda – both in Ghana and across the world – would be of the people, and for the people.

“It is time to make all the voices heard and to demonstrate that, through listening to the ideas and concerns of all people, we can achieve societies that are inclusive, equitable and sustainable.”

Facebook and Twitter were used to gather more people’s views. People were also encouraged to SMS comments via their mobile phones.

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