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

By
Iddi Yire, GNA

Accra, Aug 23, GNA –
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.

GNA

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