Members of more than 40 NGOs and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the three Northern Regions have endorsed the establishment of 25 million Ghana Cedis Northern Ghana Development Fund (NGDF)by Government for accelerated development of Northern Ghana.
They have therefore called for partnership between the State and private sector in allocating resources for sustainable development of the North.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a day's forum jointly organized by Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA) and Institute of Policy Alternatives (IPA) in Tamale on Saturday to collate ideas for inputs into the development strategy for the North.
It was issued and signed on behalf of the participants by Mr Ismael Lansa, Executive Secretary of Northern Ghana Network for Development.
The NGDF was established in the aftermath of 2007 floods that devastated Northern Ghana and heightened the need to bridge the development gap between the North and the South.
The communiqué called for the establishment of a special facility to empower civil society and NGOs to engage effectively in the northern development process.
The Communiqué said consequently, all institutions designated for the governance and management of the development strategy should reflect adequate representation from civil society groups and NGOs.
“The empowerment of women and men to engage equally in development should be promoted to ensure that the assets created as a result of the accelerated development strategy should strive for gender and social equity,” the Communiqué said.
It called for a consultative process of decision making to ensure that views of the people and the marginalized reflected at all stages of the development process.
“The development of Northern Ghana should be seen as an integral part of efforts by a united Ghana to transform lives and livelihoods, reduce poverty among the most marginalized and vulnerable and foster an inclusive process of socio-economic development,” the communiqué said.
The communiqué contended that, investment in the three Northern Regions should benefit women and the vulnerable and make provisions to secure equitable access to land by establishing and implementing effective land administration policies.
It proposed the establishment of a five member consultative group representing Northern Ghanaian CSOs and under the auspices of the Northern Ghana Network for Development to maintain contact with CEPA and IPA in consolidating CSO/NGO inputs into the final document of the northern development strategy.
The communiqué called for sustained advocacy efforts to pass the Northern Development Fund Bill through Parliament and the establishment of the needed institutional processes to implement the development strategy after the approval of the legal framework.