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Regional News Sat, 24 Aug 2019

UNICEF advocates for increased children’s right to basic social services

Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative in Ghana, has advocated an increase in children’s right to basic social services.

She urged the Government and various stakeholders to ensure children and the most deprived in society have access to basic social services.

Speaking at the 2019 High-Level Inclusive Development Forum in Accra, Madam Dufay said with regards to access to social services, Ghana still had a long way to go.

The forum was organised by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and the UNICEF.

Madam Dufay said there was a need to advocate for budgets that ensured that there were enough resources to strengthen access to social services in the area of sanitation, health, water, social protection and education.

Ghana’s commitment to equitable and sustainable development is enshrined in the country’s 1992 Constitution.

International obligations such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Africa Agenda 2063 have been integrated into successive national development planning frameworks.

Currently, the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (CPESDP) 2017 to 2024 and sectoral initiatives and policies have incorporated goals, strategies, targets and indicators towards ensuring an inclusive, fair and just society.

Madam Dufay noted that a recent study conducted by UNICEF, the Ministry of Planning and NDPC, related to multidimensional child poverty, revealed that 28.2 percent of children were monetary poor.

She said considering the dimension of poverty it was found that 73.4 percent of children were deprived of services in areas including sanitation, water, nutrition, protection and education, saying, the analysis had been useful, not just looking at monetary poverty but multi dimension of poverty.

Madam Dufay recounted that in her field visits to some parts of the country, she observed that there were a number of issues confronting teenage adolescent girls, particularly child marriage and teenage pregnancy, hence, the need for stakeholders to address such issues.

Professor George Gyan-Baffour, Minister of Planning, said the Government was committed to the SDGs and inclusive growth as indicated by its policy actions since 2017.

He said the 2019 budget statement indicated government’s commitment to pursue prudent macroeconomic policies to provide a stable environment to facilitate the expansion of economic opportunities and promote inclusive job creating growth and development.

Prof Gyan-Baffour said the budget also mentioned children as the future of Ghana and the importance of human capital development in realizing the needs for a productive workforce.

“The government as part of its commitment is also working on improving service delivery by reforming the public service to, particularly focus on serving the private sector and citizens.

Dr Grace Bediako, Acting Director-General of NDPC, in a speech read on her behalf, expressed the hope that the forum would help examining ways in which to guarantee better integration of child responsive perspectives into national development process.

She said Ghana’s current Medium-term National Development Strategy, 2018-2021, continued with the shared growth concept with emphasis on job creation.

The current medium-term national Development Agenda, she said, had the theme: “An Agenda for Jobs - Creating prosperity and equal opportunity for all.”

Dr Bediako further noted that the vision was to create an optimistic, self-confident and prosperous nation, through the creative exploitation of their human and natural resource, and operating within a democratic, open and fair society in which mutual trust and economic opportunities existed for all.

She stated that to ensure realisation of these goals, flagship projects and initiatives were being implemented in all dimensions of national development; and these included: implementing the policy of free education for all Ghanaian children up to senior high school; and also the implementation of government’s flagship One District, One Factory industrial initiative.

Source: Ghananewsagency.org