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14.04.2004 General News

Experts attend review meeting

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Accra, April 14, GNA - Experts in the health and population sectors on Wednesday began a review of the 25.3 million dollar Fourth Country Programme between the United Nation's Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and the Government of Ghana to enhance its effectiveness and efficiency.

The Professionals would examine the implementation of the programme in the last three years to determine whether key targets in the areas of Reproductive Health as well as Population and Development Strategies were on track.

The meeting would assess the design, relevance, progress and performance of the programme and make recommendations for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the programme.

The current country programme spans a period of five years (2001-2005).

Opening it, Dr Samuel Nii-Noi Ashong, Minister of State for Economic Planning, said population management was crucial to ensuring sustainable development in any country.

"No matter the efforts put into the restoration of macro-economic stability and the formulation of viable economic and social policies to restore fiscal discipline, no development process can succeed if the linkages between population management, socio-economic development and environmental concerns are ignored."

The Minister said any interventions that aimed to achieve sustainable social, economic and human development would be meaningless without the involvement of the populace.

It was in this direction, that Government took steps in the past few years to ensure that population concerns were addressed in planning and policy formulation at all levels of decision-making in the country. Dr Ashong said government was also making efforts to ensure that the next version of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy was consistent with the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations.

Mr Moses Mukasa, UNFPA Representative in Ghana, said the country had seen increasing funding of its population and development programmes since the inception of UNFPA work in Ghana.

The Fund's support to Government for formulation and implementation of population and development programmes rose from 3.2 million dollars in 1985 to the current level of 25.3 million dollars.

He expressed the hope that the information from the meeting would help improve the programme quality and implementation as well as enhance people's lives.

Professor Andrew Aryee of the Population Impact Project of the University of Ghana said financial support for the current country strategy was on course, with over 7.75 million out of the 14 million dollars from regular sources spent by the end of last year.