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General News of Friday, 29 February 2008

Source: GNA

Integrate culture into MDG

Cape Coast, Feb. 29, GNA - The chairman of the National Commission on Culture, Professor George Hagan, has stressed the need for policy makers to incorporate the positive dimensions of the country's culture into national policies to facilitate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

He said cultural practices of the people could have a significant effect on national policies and decisions either positively or negatively and therefore law makers should not ignore culture "and leave it at the bottom of the ladder" but consider maintaining the positive aspect and integrate them into "our policies". Prof. Hagan said this at a day's workshop organized by the Commission in collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) for stakeholders of the MDGs to brainstorm on how best the objectives of the MDG would be achieved.

It was attended by representatives from the ministries of Health, Education, Science and Sports, Culture, Foreign Affairs, NEPAD and Regional Integration, house of chiefs, Department of Social Welfare, Central Regional Development Commission (CEDECOM) and the Environmental Protection Agency.

He said African countries had not made much progress towards achieving the MDG's objectives even though it was half-way through the 2015 deadline because these countries were yet to examine the cultural practices that could either facilitate or impede on its attainment. Prof. Hagan said the objectives of the MDG which included the eradication of extreme poverty, achievement of universal primary education.

They also include gender equality, women empowerment and reduction of under-five mortality and HIV/AIDS and these are laudable and could improve the socio-economic status of the country when achieved. He stressed the need for the country's culture to be developed to respond to the socio-economic needs of the nation. Prof Hagan said aspects of Ghanaian culture such as "our belief systems" where people were barred from entering certain forests and mangroves as well as water bodies during certain times of the week, month or year for example was used in preserving the country's eco-system and environment, but were gradually being eroded by foreign cultures.

Mr Isaac Owusu-Mensah, senior programme manager of KAS, said it was unfortunate that the average Ghanaian lacked knowledge about some basic things including their human rights, culture and the constitution and urged all citizens to read the constitution and know their rights and responsibilities.

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