Accra, June 12, GNA - Mrs Levinia Addae-Mensah, Deputy Executive Director of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), has hailed Ghana’s decision to commit to the Voluntary National Review (VNR) process, which seeks to review the level of progress in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The VNR is part of the formal intergovernmental follow-up and review process on the Agenda 2030 and will be presented at the UN High-Level Political Forum in July in New York.
In July this year, 51 countries including Ghana would present their VNR report to the UN in New York.
Mrs Addae-Mensah gave the commendation at a stakeholders’ validation meeting on the research on Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the SDGs.
"We were really excited when the Government of Ghana decided to take up this review agenda and present to the High Level Panel in New York," she said.
"It is important first of all to congratulate the Government of Ghana for the VNR that it has embarked on and also to commend it for allowing other stakeholders to be part of this process."
She recalled that in 2015, the United Nations adopted the Agenda 2030, which brought into being the 17 SDGs to help end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.
She said leaning on the “Leave no one behind” principle, with focus on SDG Goal 16, WANEP and the Global Partnership for Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) undertook a shadow assessment on the implementation of the SDGs, which focused on the operationalisation of Goal 5 and 16 at the local level.
Mrs Addae-Mensah said the SDGs also presented another opportunity for WANEP to be in what have been doing over the years; "which is peace building and the focus of prevention and sustainable peace".
She said the excitement which came with the SDGs was that it goes a long way to affirm that no sustainable development was possible without peaceful societies, inclusive societies and justice societies, which were firmly accord in the SDGs.
Mrs Addae-Mensah said just to ensure that this was not just another mechanism, another protocol or agenda, both GPPAC and WANEP felt that as part of their principles decided that it was important for them to monitor and review the implementation of the SDGs.
"In terms of WANEP and GPPAC our core areas of focus, we felt that as one of the strongest civil society networks, it was important that civil society support this process," Mrs Addae-Mensah said.
"And so, what we decided to do was to carry out the assessment in Ghana, just to see the level of operationalisation and also the level of understanding and unawareness around the SDGs. Because in terms of implementation and operationalisation, this is not only for the state and there are many stakeholders involved."
Mrs Addae-Mensah also commended GPPAC for the partnership with WANEP.
Mr Vincent Azumah, the Regional Coordinator for Research, Monitoring and Evaluation of WANEP, said without peace, there would be no sustainable development.
He also noted that combating corruption was very critical in attaining all the 17 SDGs.
At the workshop, findings of a study dubbed “National review of progress on Implementation of SDG 16+ Peace Goals in Ghana and role of Civil Society Organisations”, was unveiled jointly by Madam Beatrice Brew, a Programme’s Officer, Researcher and Capacity Builder, WANEP and Mr Albert Yelyang, National Network Coordinator, WANEP Ghana.
Madam Kristina Miletic, Project Assistant Knowledge, Policy and Advocacy of GPPAC, who gave an overview of SDG VNR in Cameroon, said the ongoing conflict in Cameroon was hampering efforts to achieve the SDGs by 2030.