Professor George Hagan, Chairman of the National Commission on Culture, last Thursday observed that Ghana's dream of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 would be a mirage, unless steps were taken to strategically involve the component of culture into interventions driving the goal.
He was speaking at a three-day workshop under the theme: 'Culture and the Achievement of MDGs,' organised by the National Commission on Culture in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.
The workshop which is aimed at creating awareness on the need to involve culture in the drive towards the MDGs and also address possible challenges that might be associated with implementation.
Prof Hagan reiterated that culture constituted a critical factor in development, and expressed regret that the sector was not being factored in community programmes. For example, he said, issues such as gender discrimination and women empowerment were critical cultural issues that needed attention.
Professor Hagan said negative cultural practices hindering development such as female genital mutilation, widowhood rites and betrothals would be difficult to change without the involvement of traditional leaders and community members themselves.
He stressed the need for community ownership of the MDGs and said the initiative should be decentralised through effective sensitization programmes. 'Culture has the power of either modifying certain negative practices to be in line with the MDGs or against its achievement,' he pointed out.
The workshop, sponsored by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), a German Political Foundation, was attended by 70 participants, including heads of department, traditional leaders, Assembly Members and representatives from civil societies.
Mr Isaac Owusu-Mensah, Senior Programme Manager of KAS, explained that the achievement of the MDGs was paramount to KAS as a body whose interest lies in human development issues.
He said KAS had identified that the involvements of cultural institutions in the MDGs would contribute to its achievement and appealed to all stakeholders to play an active part.