Business News of Friday, 21 December 2012

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MDGs hold key to prosperity

In September 2000, member states of the United Nations ratified the Millennium Declaration which sought to provide a blueprint for developing countries to pursue to improve the lot of the most disadvantaged, downtrodden and discriminated against.

At the end of the debates, the world leaders adopted eight goals to guide developing countries. They were: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a Global Partnership for Development.

The countries which were to pursue programmes along the agreed goals, popularly referred to as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), had a target date of 2015 to achieve the goals.

It is a fact that before the UN outlined these developmental challenges at its General Assembly, many countries were pursuing programmes with the aim of dealing with those difficulties confronting their nations and peoples, for that matter. However, when the UN adopted the MDGs, it galvanised most developing leaders to undertake unprecedented programmes with the view to meeting the needs of their people.

But with the target date of 2015 just around the corner, it is obvious that many of the countries cannot meet the goals they set themselves in 2000. It is also a fact that a lot of progress has also been made in a number of areas.

In Parliament last Wednesday, the report of the Special Committee of Parliament on Poverty Reduction Strategy revealed that Ghana might miss achieving the MDG target of reducing maternal mortality rate by 2015. It, however, stated that notwithstanding that, the overall performance of the health sector continued to show positive and improved performance.

The Daily Graphic believes that such reports should not discourage us as a people but rather energise us to work harder towards getting our people out of the poverty, squalor, illiteracy and diseases in which they find themselves.

On a continent often referred to as the epicentre of crisis, it will take some time before we overcome some of these developmental challenges. It is in view of this that some developed countries agreed to partner the developing countries in achieving the MDGs.

The Daily Graphic urges our political leaders and policy makers not to throw their arms up in despair because the country is struggling to attain the MDGs.

We expect that when the nation secures loans or grants to support some of these programmes, it must endeavour to direct the resources to the appropriate projects. It is a fact that a chunk of the loans and grants go into the acquisition of vehicles and putting up magnificent edifices, while very little goes into initiatives that target the basic needs of the people.

The Daily Graphic believes that our people must be involved in the planning of such programmes, since it affects them. That way, it will be easier for them to own the programmes and the success of implementation will certainly be higher.

No development objective will succeed without the involvement of the people.

Basically, the MDGs are about the well-being of the people and although the initiative is sponsored by the UN, individual governments have the responsibility to ensure that they are attained.

The social contracts governments sign with the people will better be served if governments work hard to attain the MDGs, which are the bedrock of national development.