Feature Article of Monday, 25 March 2013

Columnist: Kuunifaa, Cletus D

Great Advocacy Work from Ambassador Ken Kanda and Team

at the UN



Ghana’s image at the UN was given a boost, when the United Nations' Organization (UNO) nominated Ghana to play a lead role among 30 member-states from five regional blocks, to develop Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will be universally applicable, through the Open Working Group (OWG) initiative. The statement indicated that the Rio+20 Conference agreed to launch a process to develop a set of SDGs, which will build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to converge with the post 2015 development agenda.
This is positive news and a healthy development for Ghana which would have come on the heels of great service and hard work from Ambassador Kanda and his team at the just ended UNO meeting here in New York. Such a story needs to be retold again and again so that people appreciate the time, energy and hard work that these men of integrity, full of patriotism, pitch in everyday at our Missions for the sake of the country.
Quite too often, when we visit the Missions/Embassies with our concerns and do not secure audience nor the intended interaction with the Ambassador, we jump to conclusion and begin our vituperations; “You know what?... these guys are not doing their job”. Why are they even here for? We then get frustrated, leave the premise with a score of a low grade for the Mission in our minds.
But contrary to this hasty conclusion formulated in our minds, little do we know of the amount of work executed daily at these Posts. My hope is that our mentality or view about our Missions/Embassies change for the better with the display of this impressive show of a sense of purpose, hard work, and diligence from Ambassador Kanda and his team. Many of us will now understand that these diplomats are playing their part in line with the vision of putting Ghana in the lime light of the comity of nations. Ghanaians should be impressed with presumably the amount of advocacy work, the quality of presentation of arguments, the level of persuasive communication all wrapped with a touch of academic expertise that led to the selection of Ghana among others, to lead the OWG initiative. On account of this achievement, Ambassador Ken Kanda and his team must be congratulated and highly commended for doing Ghana such an honor. Thank you for your service and sacrifice!
The statement further indicated that, it was decided that an "inclusive and transparent intergovernmental process open to all stakeholders, with a view to developing global sustainable development goals to be agreed by the General Assembly," is what Ghana will now play a lead role among the 30 member-states representative, to be established.
As Ambassador Kanda noted, “Ghana considers the role as a duty to humanity and the UNO to develop goals to enhance the assets of the poor and address current global crises. The real impact of these goals will be felt if the issues that hinder the development of developing countries, particularly Africa are addressed. Mr Ken Kanda also noted that climate change, energy, trade, industrial development, full employment, global governance, technology transfer, agricultural subsidies and land degradation, would serve as key thematic areas that the group will look at.
His thoughts, in my opinion, resonate the need for a perspective in management to be factored into the work to be done. A management model will be a top priority to factor in and could serve as leverage on the thematic themes outlined by the Ambassador and the goals could then be measured and easy to implement within a reasonable time frame.
I could not agree more with Ambassador Kanda when he urged the OWG to consider inviting academia, international organizations, as well as experts to make presentations to the Group and for it to engage them thoroughly, because an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of the sustainable development will definitely inform their work.
It makes sense therefore to craft an SDG that would build upon the Millennium Development Goals. It is equally important and visionary that Ghana is to craft the SDGs based on our experience in pursuing the MDGs.

By Cletus D Kuunifaa, Long Island University, LIU Post, New York. Can be contacted at [email protected]