Ensuring inclusive growth through local dialogue in Accra

Ortis Yankey, Accra Community Manager
Accra, 24 September 2015

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have played a major role in focusing development policy since their inception 15 years ago. However, Ghana has faced enormous challenges in meeting its MDG targets. Some of the reasons for this include lack of local participation, and the top-down approach of the MDG, without focusing on local needs and preferences. As the MDGs draw to a close, 2015 sets a new paradigm with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) globally.

As part of the process to ensure inclusive dialogue, the United Nations (UN) selected Ghana as one of the 50 countries to provide inputs on priorities and feedback on the means of implementation that will define the development goals. This partnership is with the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) of Ghana. As part of the dialogue process, a series of stakeholder meetings were held in the three Northern regions of Ghana that account for a higher incidence of poverty. Also, deprived communities across the country, especially in urban slums of Accra, Kumasi, and Takoradi (the three largest cities in Ghana), were selected for focus group discussions and consultation with professional groups and civil society organizations.

Accra's urban poor raised issues such as environment and sanitation, peace and security, education and skills training, and housing and employment. The groups of urban poor noted that they lacked sanitation facilities and waste disposal sites, as well as tenure security to set up decent accommodations. They also raised concerns about their inability to gain decent employment, and how out of reach public services are from them. They therefore deemed education, job creation, access to housing and tenure security, affordable health care and access to public goods a paramount agenda. Feedback and recommendations from these meetings were taken by the NDPC and the UN towards informing the implementation of the SDGs.

The country consultations have provided opportunity for inclusive dialogue that captures the views of the urban poor towards promoting a global development agenda beyond 2015. It has provided an analytical base, inputs and ideas that build on a shared global vision of ending poverty in all its forms including, urban poverty, and ensuring sustainable cities for all. The urban poor have been given this opportunity to articulate their concerns towards ensuring a better urban future. This has certainly challenged the dominant policy formulation and implementation approach, which is mostly top-down, without regard to local context and needs. Post-2015 must see the Ghanan government, development stakeholders and the urban poor working hand-in-hand to meet the SDG targets to ensure a better standard of living for all.

Photo 1: Consultation meetings. Photo 2: Concerns raised during the meetings. Credit: National Development Planning Commission

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