By Patience Gbeze, GNA
Accra, July 1, GNA – Dr Eugine Owusu, Special Advisor to the president on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has noted that, attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) calls for collaboration and strategic partnership with all constituencies.
He said right from the adoption of the SDGs, world leaders were very clear in their minds, that it will be impossible for governments alone to achieve the Goals, adding that, cooperation from all sectors including the private sector, academia, civil society and communities was fundamental for success.
“Since the adoption of the SDGs, our country has taken up the challenge with great passion; and it is pleasing to see that we are working tirelessly towards achieving the Goals, he said.
Dr Owusu was speaking at a day’s Expert Workshop on Science for implementing the SDGS in Accra, organized by the Institute for Environmental and Sanitation Studies (IESS), University of Ghana, in collaboration with the University of Sussex, United Kingdom.
The workshop formed part of a collaboration between the two universities to see how they could use science to enhance the implementation of the SDGs.
The workshop brought together about 30 participants, mainly from the academia, to deliberate on four thematic areas, including “Concepts of the circular economy and green economy for achieving multiple SDGs; Trade-offs and synergies among the SDGs; Urban/peri-urban areas: food systems and sustainability, and the contribution of universities and the research community to SDGs planning and implementation”.
Dr Owusu noted that, the SDGs present a great opportunity to transform “our countries, to bring prosperity to our people and to build the Ghana that we want; and indeed a Ghana that we can all be proud of”.
He said 60 years after independence and 25 years of stable democracy, “it is unacceptable for our people to continue to suffer extreme forms of poverty and hunger; it is not right for our people to die from preventable diseases; and it is improper for our people to suffer inequality and injustice”.
Professor Chris Gordon, Country Engagement Lead, Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and a former Director of the IESS said the rationale behind the University of Ghana’s collaboration with the University of Sussex was based on many levels.
The first one, he said, was as a result of a historical relationship between them but in the recent past “we have now created an Institute in their university, which is collaborating on sustainability”.
“University of Ghana has been focused on the issue of sustainability for some time, so it is quite clear that we have like-minds, we should work together and try and see what we can do in partnership and in collaboration with each other.
Prof Gordon said there were also a number of funding calls that are only open, when you have the UK partnering with a Ghanaian institution and “the collaboration with university Sussex will make us be in the position to apply for such funding calls”.
That, he said, would help to “improve the quality of our research, improve the ability of our early carrier, faculty to travel, attend conferences and also to support capacity building, through improvement in the graduate students that we produce, both at the Masters’ level and under the PHD level,” he added.
Prof Joseph Alcamo, the Director of Sussex Sustainability Research Programme, said they hoped to create concrete academic relationships between both Universities, to work particularly in science and sustainable development goals.
He said: “The SDG’s are turning out to be an incredible framework for sustainable development for the entire world, and to achieve those goals, they would need a lot of good politics, lot of good financing and a lot of good science because many of the issues having to do with the SDGs also had to do with scientific issues.”
“For example, what is the state of water, air and plants, are they included or not; what actions can be taken to minimize pollution and increase environment quality. Many different scientific aspects are involved and scientists should begin working together to ensure that policy makers and other stakeholders have the knowledge they need to achieve that system,” he added.
Prof Daniel Asiedu, Provost, College of Basic and Applied Sciences on behalf of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, expressed the hope that the outcome of the workshop would lead to the identification of joint research projects, development of funding proposals and concrete plans for students and faculty exchange for the mutual benefit of both institutions.
Dr Fatima Denton, Director of UNU-INRA, commended the organisers for their efforts, adding that, SDGs are the strongest transformational agenda of these times that could be used to measure human progress, however, the science that will be used to build this transformation has not been achieved.
She said: “Science has a key role to play in achieving the SDGs, this science should include indigenous knowledge” and the workshop was a good opportunity to focus on how science could be used as a key component of the SDGs and how best African could be positioned to as a frontier continent, so that the science from Africa could support the process of the SDGs and help arrive at the right destination.
Dr. Ted Yemoh Annang, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies, announced that the IESS had also established a programme in sustainability science to solve problems associated with sustainability in the country.
He said the achievement of the SDG’s was very important to the institute, hence serves as a platform to advance the SDGs.