New Consciousness For Inclusion…Vital For Achieving Post 2015 Agenda

With the on-going debate on the successor to the Millennium Development Goals, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, National Director of Caritas Nigeria, says there was the need for a new consciousness for the inclusion of all to ensure the success of the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

For this to happen, he said “Lifestyles have to change. Resources have to be freed for equitable service,” stressing that we cannot go on living the way we have been living. “There has to be a new consciousness for inclusion and for fighting structures of inequality”.

Fr. Bassey was speaking in Accra on The role of the Church in the implementation of the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, at the Second Country Forum of Catholic Development Organisations in Ghana.

He highlighted the need for effective collaboration between the Church, other civil society organisation and the state at all levels, and urged the Church not to see the government as an enemy,and should be careful not to dirty herself in the muddy waters of corruption when engaging with the state.

“Thechurch should raise funds to support development progrrammes” said Fr. Bassey, who also entreated her to develop a data base to showcase the Church’s contribution to development in the country, adding that there was the need for policy coordination in the Church’s institutions.

The two-day Forum on theme: ‘Responding to challenges and opportunities of the Post 2015 Development Agenda-Role of Catholic Development Organisation,’ was organized by the Department of Human Development (Caritas Ghana) at the National Catholic Secretariat; the Marshallan Relief and Development Service (MAREDES) and the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) in Ghana.

The Executive Secretary for Caritas Ghana, Mr. Samuel ZanAkologo, in a statement said the Forum seeks to increase awareness and participation of Catholic Development Agencies in the on-going processes towards a new global development agenda and also influence the remaining process of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He said the forum also creates a platform for Government to update its participation in the Post 2015 Development Agenda negotiations and how it will likely influence national development.

Most Rev. Gabriel A. Mante, Bishop of Jasikan and Episcopal Chairman for Caritas Ghana, in a welcome address expressed delight at the effort to institutionalize the annual Forum as a means of sharing knowledge and coordinate efforts in development practice.

He commended the organizers for their foresight and proactive approach to engage in the new global development policy with the universal church, urging the participant to seriously consider issues on peace promotion, environmental protection, promoting food security, protecting the poor and vulnerable in our society, as well as addressing the sanitation menace in our country and finding ways to ensure responsiveness in governance.

Mrs. Christine OkaeAsare, of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and focal person on the Post 2015 Agenda said the beauty of the SDGs was that it has 17 goals with 169 targets, but noted that the biggest challenge has to do with monitoring the targets.

She said Government will soon roll up a long term development plan for the country from 2016 to 2056 after the Shared Growth and Development Agenda expires in 2017, adding that the long term national plan was in line with the African Union agenda.

She noted that it was very important to involve the citizenry in the development planning, and implementation processes, adding that there was the need to create partnership between to Government and all stakeholders to ensure the success of development programmes.

Mrs. DadiariChikwengo, Coordinator of the Post 2015 Working Group of Caritas Internationalis, who chaired the function, underscored the need for effective coordination of efforts to build synergies to enhance the success of the SDGs.

She said the Church should ensure that institutions worked and delivered on their mandate, noting that when we work together, we can achieve more.

It is expected that the forum will also agree on preliminary priority areas of the SDGs and develop strategies to engage in the implementation and monitoring of success in Ghana in a more structured and coordinated manner.

The forum sponsored by Misereor, Germany, MAREDES, CRS in Ghana, the International Centre for Advocacy and Social Research (ICASOR), Caritas Africa and the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference was attended by over 20 Diocesan Development Officers from all Dioceses in Ghana, and Catholic Development Partners from Germany, England and USA.

Others are Caritas Member Organisations from Tanzania, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and representatives of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), Ghana Immigration Service.

*The participants at the Forum.
* Fr. Bassey interacting with Mrs. Chikwengo and Mrs. Asare after the Official opening of the Forum

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