Our Perspective

Memories of Gold

08 Nov 2017

image By: Joel Ayim Darkwah, Assistant Programme Officer. UNDP Ghana

By: Joel Ayim Darkwah, Assistant Programme Officer. UNDP Ghana The future belongs to the young. Though many say it with little or no meaning, just to sound politically correct or trendy, Others do with the conviction that the current generation of young people have what it takes to lead the future; a conviction I strongly subscribe to.  In October 2017, I got what I needed, a personal experience to solidify my viewpoint, that indeed the future belongs to the young and that young people of today are more than ready to lead the building of a strong today, for a better tomorrow. I got this rare and empowering experience at the just-ended World Festival for Youth and Students which took place in Sochi, Russia, of which I was privileged to have participated as a UN Volunteer.  The Festival, fully organized and managed by youth, assembled young people from all corners of the globe to interact, establish friendships and agree on our desired future. It reminded us of how far we the youth have come, the challenges we have overcome together and the many opportunities that lie ahead of us in the future. From an ‘awakening’ opening ceremony to the diverse discussion  Read More

The creeping mercury menace - Solution is here!

16 Aug 2017

image Illegal mining activities in Ghana are known for the use of mercury for the amalgamation of gold. (Photo credit: Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana)

By Joel Ayim Darkwah, Assistant Programme Officer (Sustainable Development) What is the Minamata Convention Though useful in many areas including mining and the health sector, mercury can have adverse effect on both human health and the environment. For instance, in 1956, more than 2,000 people died in Japan due to mercury poisoning, an incidence which later became known as the Minamata Disease. Currently, an increasing number of people are being affected with different diseases through mercury poisoning. It is with this background that the Minamata Convention was agreed by more than 120 countries in October 2013, to increase global efforts to significantly reduce and eliminate mercury releases in the atmosphere, land and water bodies. This convention after being ratified in more than 50 countries comes into force today. It is therefore expected that all parties, including Ghana, initiate policies and programmes that will ensure a significant reduction in mercury use in the country.  Citizens through same, are being sensitized to avoid contacts with mercury substances to reduce and eliminate potential health risks. How is Ghana affected by this convention? Mercury use in the Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector The Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector is  Read More

We have a relevant mandate

18 Apr 2017

image Joel Ayim Darkwah is an Assistant Programme Officer at the Sustainable Development cluster of UNDP Ghana

By: Joel Ayim Darkwah Assistant Programme Officer (Sustainable Development)   March 2017 started with an exciting challenge.  I had the opportunity of travelling to northern Ghana to monitor some projects on disaster preparedness and to assess their impact. As I journeyed from the national capital through the forest belt to the savanna region, I couldn’t help but engage myself in deep thoughts about development across the country, but in particular, the savanna region where many challenges persist. From Tamale to Bunkpurugu, from Chereponi to Saboba and Zabuzugu, I saw the great strides that various development entities including UNDP have made to empower the lives of people living in such harsh terrains. I saw people who now have access to potable water, children going to school and some enjoying the lunch provided through the School Feeding Programme.  The joy on the faces of these little ones taught me that they appreciate the gains made from the interventions and of course, more children will need such assistance to enjoy school. A few days after my trip to the north, I read from the 2016 Human Development Report that such progress is realized not only in Ghana but also in most parts of the  Read More

Update on SWITCH Africa Green Networking Forum in Accra, Ghana - Day 1

22 Mar 2017

image Sylvanus Kyeo, a farmer who is using effluent from the biogas system installed at St. John’s Grammar School in Achimota Accra region in Ghana as part of the SWITCH Africa Green pilot

Theme: “GHANA’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE TRANSITION OF AFRICA TO AN INCLUSIVE GREEN ECONOMY” SWITCH Africa Green (SAG) began the 2-day Ghana National Networking Forum in Accra City Hotel in Accra on 21 March, 2017. The main objectives of the forum are to discuss opportunities, challenges and barriers faced by the private sector in transitioning to an inclusive, low carbon green economy that promotes SCP practices and patterns in Ghana; discuss ways of scaling up and replicating green business in the context of trade associations, MSMEs, government policies and programmes; and foster networking between different project entities with other stake-holders. Patrick Mwesigye (UN Environment Regional Coordinator for Resource Efficiency) gave his remarks commending Ghana for being the first country to hold a national networking forum and its acceptance to host the SWITCH Africa Green Regional Policy Dialogue. He noted that the progress of the project in Ghana was impressive. The stakeholders were informed that funding for the second phase of the project was approved to a tune of 20 million euros from the European Union. He urged qualified organizations to apply for grants in the current call for proposals. The deadline for application is 31 March, 2017. Ebenezer Appah-Sampong (Deputy Executive Director  Read More

Philanthropy a Driving Force to Achieve SDGs in Ghana

30 Jan 2017

image Philanthropy has been a critical social investment partner in water and sanitation in Ghana (Photo credit: Cause Flash)

By Jessica Russell In September 2015, 193 countries adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the follow-up framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Until 2030, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequality, tackle climate change, and ensure that no one is left behind. Providing our global population with clean, accessible water is essential to achieving the SDGs by 2030. Unfortunately, every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene, due to poor infrastructure and a lack of investment. Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation have a negative impact on food security, livelihood and educational opportunities for millions. Due to climate change, increasing droughts exacerbate hunger and malnutrition. By 2050, at least one in four people are likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water. SDG 6 aims to ensure access to water and sanitation for all by 2030. According to a United Nations report, the MDG target of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015  Read More

Access and Delivery Partnership, utilizing new approaches to solve old problems

24 Jan 2017

image ADP assists LMICs to enhance relevant capacities for the introduction and scale up of new health technologies through six strategic, inter-related pathways

By Belynda Amankwa, UNDP Programme Specialist, Access and Delivery Partnership Access to medicines is an age old problem. However, in recent times there have been new calls to address this issue. This renewed interest is laudable because over 400 million people worldwide lack access to health care, medicines and diagnostics according to recent WHO and World Bank reports. Behind these statistics are individual stories of lives marred by diseases which can be treated, prevented or cured by health technologies they simply have no access to. Issues that affect access to health technologies are complex and require novel integrated approaches to deal with them. Thus in 2013, with funding from the Government of Japan, UNDP initiated the Access and Delivery Partnership (ADP) to systematically address the bottlenecks associated with the access and delivery of new health technology in low and middle income countries.   The ADP’s approach has been to strengthen 6 critical pathways that impact access to health technologies namely legal and policy issues, implementation research, safety issues, supply chain issues, resource allocation and strategic information and evidence. The ADP partners- UNDP, TDR (the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases) and PATH work on these critical areas based  Read More

YouthConnekt - A model for youth engagement

23 Jan 2017

image The 7 components of the youthconnekt model

By Sylvia Sefakor, UNDP Economics Analyst  “The future of humanity and of our planet lies in our hands. It lies also in the hands of today's younger generation who will pass the torch to future generations.” (Agenda 2030, paragraph 53). A recent experience from attending the Regional YouthConnekt Planning Event in Rwanda left me so impressed.  Noteworthy is the spelling of connect with K and T at the end. K represents Knowledge and T, Technology. YouthConnekt was initiated in 2012 by the Ministry of Youth and ICT in partnership with One UN Rwanda and other partners, to empower young people and connect them to the public, private sector and the civil society for economic opportunities. Aligned with the UNDP Youth Strategy and the Global Programme on Youth Empowerment, YouthConnekt provides an African context-specific approach to what works in addressing issues of youth unemployment and inclusion in socio-economic and political processes. The initiative is made of 7 different but interconnected components. 1. YouthConnekt Hang Out is a Bi-monthly program which leverages ICT to connect the youth with their peers, leaders, experts and role models via media networks. A platform to INSPIRE and connect Youth to opportunities by sharing their dreams and challenges  Read More

Women’s Political Participation —a Catalyst for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in Ghana

23 Jan 2017

image In Ghana, women's participation in political processes is progressive. (Photo Credit: Bossman Owusu/ UNDP Ghana)

By Jennifer Asuako, UNDP Gender Analyst Women constitute more than half of Ghana’s population (51.2%). Without their participation in the public discourse or decision making process, it would be difficult for Ghana to achieve sustainable development. Unfortunately, their participation at all levels of decision making is very low. This can be attributed to patriarchy or male dominance which is a key aspect of the Ghanaian social system. The woman’s role and status are recognizably inferior to those of the man in almost all aspects of social, political and economic life. Custom, law and even religion have been used to rationalize and perpetuate these differential roles to the extent that women themselves seem to have accepted and internalized them. It is worth noting that the legal frameworks of the country give equal opportunities for both men and women to register to vote, to exercise their franchise, and to stand to be elected   as presidential candidates, members of Parliament or Assembly representatives in both local and national government structures. The promotion of Gender Equality and women’s empowerment was the third goal set out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) but also one of the goals that evaded the world, including Ghana. Women are  Read More

How UNDP supported Ghana's peaceful Election 2016

03 Jan 2017

image A voter casts her ballot while others wait patiently in long queues to have their turn in Ghana's 2016 polls. Photo credit: Wendy Laryea, TV3

Peaceful elections facilitate development and enhance investor confidence in the economy for positive growth. To sustain such progress, UNDP, ahead of Elections 2016 in Ghana, supported several initiatives that sought to boost public confidence and participation in elections, and increase trust in political parties and election results. The following were a few: 1. Strengthening a transparent and inclusive electoral process Since 1992 when Ghana turned into constitutional democracy, UNDP has positioned itself as a trusted and impartial partner in leading the UN’s effort to support Ghana to further consolidate the gains of her democratic stature. Under its electoral cycle support, UNDP has made significant contributions by building the capacities of the Electoral Commission and other national electoral stakeholders responsible for the credibility and the inclusiveness of the electoral process. In preparation for the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, UNDP supported the Electoral Commission to identify critical capacity gaps constraining its effective functioning and to develop a responsive strategic plan. This support helped bolster the EC’s commitment to undertake many reforms to reposition the institution to enhance the integrity of electoral processes and the ultimate acceptability of electoral outcome. UNDP also supported the Electoral Commission’s determination to enhance transparency in electoral results  Read More

Where is “Health” in the Sustainable Development Goals?

22 Jan 2016

image Belynda Amankwa, Programme Specialist, Access and Delivery Partnership; HIV, Health and Development, UNDP. Belynda works with the Democratic Governance Programme Cluster

In September 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted with much pomp. From world leaders through to pop stars everyone hailed the adoption as a ‘truly defining moment’ in human history. Personally, I was also thrilled because finally we had truly global goals. Unlike the MDGs, the SDGs were for everyone, no dichotomy, no distinction, goals for all humanity one might add. I have heard arguments though that health has been “diluted or diffused” in the SDGs. This is because compared to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which had 3 (MDG, 4, 5, 6) out of the 7 goals geared towards health, the SDGs have only one goal (Goal 3) out of the 17 goals that talks directly about health. I am however of this opinion: not only can we see health in almost all the 17 goals (personally I counted 12 out of the 17 goals), but also the SDGs provide us with the opportunity to work together to consolidate gains made in health over the past decade. Consider SDG 1, to end poverty in all its forms. Poverty and health are intimately linked. For instance, a poor mother is less likely to know of and access maternal health  Read More

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