Ghana holds meeting on Millennium Development Goals
A meeting of development stakeholders on Wednesday called for rational reform in budgeting to ensure that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are achieved. The stakeholders made up of representatives from all the UN agencies in Ghana, donor agencies, and NGO's urged government not to see the MDG's as a tool for seeking extra budgetary funding, but a means to redefine development goals and make them more measurable. They wILL also discuss the Ghana MDG Country Report, thus refining it to make government make informed choices on meeting targets in the MDG set out by the UN. The eight-point Millennium Development Goals aim at halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015, achieving universal primary education by 2005, empowering women and promote equality between women and men and reduce under-five mortality by two-thirds. The rest is to achieve maternal mortality by three-quarters, reverse the spread of diseases, especially HIV/AIDS and malaria, ensure environmental sustainability and create global partnership for development with targets for aid, trade and debt relief.
The main premise of the millennium commitments is to move development from the global to the local level, create the necessary links between global target setting and national priority setting. It is also to re-energize a broad political constituency to accelerate progress towards the goals and generate public awareness, scholarship and debate for action around the development challenges of the times.
Opening the meeting, Dr Kwesi Ndoum, Minister of Economic Planning and Regional Integration said, among others that the MDG must be points for monitoring and evaluating and also challenge implementers of the plan to work at meeting the goals. He promised that government would make a poverty reduction strategy paper available in March every year for incorporation in the annual budget.
Professor Bartholomew Armah, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, who dilated on the Ghana Report said work on the MDG would assist government revise and or set long-term targets for development. He said overall, the targets under the MDGs could be met if appropriate structures are in lace to make development take off firmly.
Prof. Armah called for supportive environment for the goals and urged the donor community to make funds available on time and in right amounts to carry out setout development goals.