The Chairman of the National Commission on Culture (NCC), Prof George Hagan, yesterday, advised Ghanaians to include culture into National Development Framework.
He was speaking at the launch of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 2008 State of the World Population Report dubbed, ' Reaching Common Ground: Culture, Gender and Human Rights' in Accra.
Prof Hagan said the theme should offer Ghana the opportunity to raise gender, cultural and human rights issues and enable us examine the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) which is a prerequisite requirement of attaining MDGs by the year 2015.
According to him, culture should be seen as a tool for national integration and a useful resource which if well managed will increase Ghana's development index. 'Ghanaians must examine the impact of negative cultural practices on human rights and put measures in place to ensure that such practices are abolished', he added.
He urged all to be proactive in fighting negatives cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation and widowhood rites among others and direct its usefulness towards national development.
A Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of African Studies of the University of Ghana, Prof Albert K Awedoba, said the UNFPA report provides answers to population issues such as gender, cultural and human rights issues.
Prof Awedoba noted that there are anti-child trafficking laws in place to stop child trafficking but the practice is still going on, citing child labour and school dropout rate as a major cause.
He said some aspects of our Ghanaian culture have made Ghanaians slaves and there is the need to change such negative aspect of those culture in order to promote development. He observed that chiefs are playing their role but community dialogue is necessary to initiate change.
On his part, the UNFPA Executive Director, Mr Makane Kane, said every year, the UNFPA chooses a topic of global concern and this year's theme is to change the negative aspect of some Ghanaian cultures to positive in order to ensure human rights protection.
Madam Salimatu Abdul Salam, Acting Chief Director at the Ministry of Health and also the Chairperson for the occasion, advised that the state of the Population Report should not only be a duty of the UNFPA or the Ministries but should be a major concern to all Ghanaians.