UN Day 2023 Statement by the UN Resident Coordinator for Ghana
24 October 2023
The UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Charles Abani said the UN commits to walking with Ghana, supporting Ghana and making Ghana work for the people of Ghana.
As we gather here today for this formal celebration of 78 years of the United Nations, let me use this opportunity to commend Ghana for standing tall and proud in always acknowledging and honoring the past and celebrating the future of the United Nations. Your commitment to multilateralism is an inspiration to the continent and the world at large. It is with much pleasure that I stand before you today, on behalf of the United Nations in Ghana, representing over 30 resident and non-resident agencies, to say thank you for your role and contribution to the United Nations.
Our gathering here is a symbol of a commitment to the unshakable importance of multilateralism to tackle global challenges as well as to unity, freedom, and hope for a future that is brighter. Today, for the 78th time, we raise our flags high above us to demonstrate our commitment and strong conviction that the United Nations is indeed the where leaders gather to find universal solutions for our collective problems. Raising the flag holds profound significance, representing our shared identity and the values we hold dear.
This last year has been busy, both domestically and internationally, and Ghana has played its role globally. Elected to the United Nations Security Council in June 2021 for the 2022 – 2023 term, and assuming the Presidency of the Council in November 2022, Ghana has demonstrated great leadership in the pursuant of conflict prevention, post conflict reconstruction and strengthening of governance, and enhancing global peace and security for sustainable and inclusive development particularly on the continent of Africa. At a regional and sub-regional level, through the Accra Initiative and much more, Ghana has demonstrated leadership. It is in recognition of its leadership role that Ghana will be hosting the 2023 United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial this December. This flagship biennial meeting will be the fifth UN Peacekeeping Ministerial meeting and the first to take place in Africa. It will help secure much-needed political support and generate pledges to strengthen UN Peacekeeping. AYEKOO Ghana for taking up the mantle once again to be the first on the African continent to host this very important meeting.
We also applaud Ghana for being recently elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council for 2024 – 2026 term. This is a significant opportunity to again leverage the power of Ghana to enhance and raise the bar on this important aspect of our shared global values.
The focus of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, out of which we have couched our local theme, reminds us that accelerating action towards the Sustainable Development Goals is critical if we are to create a future of peace, prosperity, and sustainability.
Our world continues to grapple with a wide range of crises and challenges that have profound impacts on societies, economies, and the global order. The COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing conflicts and climate change continue to create a web of challenges with significant global ramifications. Coupled with inequalities and injustices, these watersheds are giving rise to new grievances and a deep sense of unease among nations and people. Let us pause from a moment to reflect on and express our solidarity with those affected by conflict across the globe and recommit to humanitarian assistance, a focus on dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflict and work to support displaced persons everywhere.
Halfway to the deadline for the 2030 Agenda, the SDG Progress report reveals we are leaving more than half the world behind; and we have stalled or gone into reverse on more than 30 percent of the SDGs. It shows the number of people living in extreme poverty is higher than it was four years ago. Hunger has also increased and is now back at 2005 levels, and gender equality seems to be some 300 years away. It is estimated that, with current trends, only 30 percent of all countries will achieve SDG 1 on poverty by 2030. At the same time, inequalities are at a record high, and growing. The SG has called for a rescue plan to achieve the SDGs. And Ghana has responded positively, despite its challenges locally. Ghana’s 2023 SDGs technical report, coordinated by the National Development Planning Commission through the various consultations and engagement, highlights accountable and strong institutions, employment, education, health and sanitation and energy efficiency as catalytic areas essential to drive SDGs implementation and achievement. These are areas that also fall within the UN’s six priorities for accelerated transformation actions identified by the SDG summit namely (i) social protection and decent jobs, (ii) transforming education, (iii) food systems, (iv) climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, (v) energy transition and (vi) inclusive digitization.
As we raise this flag today, we must recognize that it also symbolizes our commitment to address our collective responsibilities. We are tasked with upholding the principles it represents. We must work together to ensure that the promises of liberty and justice for all are not mere words but a reality for every citizen. In his policy brief on “A New Agenda for Peace,” the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres reminds Member States to respond to the needs of its people.
On the global stage, let us be emphatic that Ghana has played a strong and positive role on key issues of peace and security, such as reforms to the security Council and pushing for a more equitable global financial system that also seeks to make debt more sustainable, charting a course for a just climate transition – raising the bar on mitigation by announcing an ambition agenda to achieve Net Zero by 2060 and charting a course for a practical, just energy transition. Ghana, your commitment is not in doubt.
The Cooperation Framework, Key areas and the 5 cross cutting issues
This April this year, we signed our new Cooperation Framework with Ghana. Our Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (2023-2025) with government provides the opportunities to journey with the government and people of Ghana, in these difficult times, towards attaining its vision of self-reliance and self sufficiency.
Deploying an estimated US$500 million over a period of three years to empower institutions and people through capacity development and other provisions, it prioritizes three key areas – Inclusive Economic Transformation; Equitable Access to Services; and Durable Peace in Ghana and in the Sub-region. We recognize that this is not possible without addressing the cross-cutting challenges of financing for the SDGs, climate change, digitalization, urbanization, a focus on governance, transparency and accountability and ensuring no one, especially women, children, young people and persons with disability are left behind.
This agreement demonstrates the UN’s commitment to stand with Ghana on its forward-looking ambition to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs and Agenda 2063.
Finding a way, through expanded partnerships with all stakeholders across Government, civil society and the private sector, to leverage more private capital as part of our SDGs financing agenda, in this recovery period, will be key to achieving the 2030 agenda and supporting Ghana to achieve its flagship programmes. To this end, several UN agencies, both in country and regional, have partnered and continue to contribute to the development priorities of Ghana.
In collaboration with other partners, UN agencies have provided financial resources and technical support to catalyze institutional strengthening efforts and capacity enhancement of state institutions across various sectors. UN has supported the productive capacity of MSMEs and value chain development through technical assistance and access to finance as well as various digital initiatives and stands firmly with Ghana on its ambition on Food systems to create jobs and boost production and export – backing the ambition in PFJ 2.0, industrialization, turbo-charging sports among others.
In the social sectors, we are working to enhance basic services including support for the review of the inclusive education policy, development of Ghana’s first Food based Dietary Guidelines (FBDGs) and ongoing work to expand social protection social coverage as Ghana grapples with priorities in the context of macro-economic challenges and shrinking fiscal space.
On sustaining peace, UN is working assiduously with stakeholders to safeguard Ghana's peace through support to the Accra Initiative as well as many programmes including a Peace building fund programme to support women and youth empowerment and engagement in peace building in Northern Ghana.
Ghana’s elections 2024:
Ladies and gentlemen, I crave your indulgence to look forward to the future and point to two key areas
Firstly, in the midst of regional challenges to democracy, we must focus our attention to the moment when Ghanaians will once again go to the polls. Elections represent citizenship's power to reflect, choose and act for their country and for the future. This can only be possible when there is peace and stability, freedom, tolerance and respect for one another - essential prerequisites for holding free and fair elections and upholding Ghana’s reputation as a leader for democracy in the region. As Ghana prepares for the 2024 elections, it is the responsibility of every one of us to engage meaningfully before, during and after the elections. We wish Ghana the absolute best in its next presidential and parliamentary elections. The UN will continue to support Ghana’s electoral process to promote inclusive, transparent, and credible elections that reflect the will of the people and contribute to peace and stability in Ghana. We have already started with the “I Pledge for Peace” campaign, launched recently in collaboration with the National Peace Council - to promote peace and hold key stakeholders accountable to pledge for peace before, during and after the presidential and parliamentary elections in the country. We call on all partners to join the campaign as we prepare to roll out activities to amplify messages of peace, tolerance, and respect during the period of election.
Secondly, let us turn our head to next year’s global Summit of the Future. Crafted around the Decade of action and the key priorities identified at the SDG Summit, this will be the opportunity to refocus efforts on the reforms needed at the global level to create a UN 2.0 that enables us begin to envisage an agenda for sustainable development and finance, peace and security, harnessing the power of science, technology, innovation and the digital transformation, and deliberate on an agenda where the Youth and Future generations take center stage and building a co-creating truly transformative global governance institutions – a truly 2.0 version of the UN that puts all citizens globally at the center and reflects the feedback that we have recieved. We have no doubt that Ghana will play its role in this emerging conversation, and we will work with key constituencies to join this future-looking agenda under the co-chair ship of Namibia and Germany.
Permit me to share the message of the UN Secretary-General, in observance of the 78th UN Day:
“The United Nations is a reflection of the world as it is – and an aspiration of the world we know it can be.
It is our responsibility to help build that world of peace, sustainable development and human rights for all.
I know we can do it. The Charter of the United Nations – which entered into force 78 years ago today – points the way.
Above all, it is rooted in a spirit of determination to heal divisions, repair relations, and build peace.
To expand opportunities, and leave no one behind.
To ensure justice, equality and empowerment for women and girls.
To provide life-saving relief to those in need.
And to be flexible enough to address challenges that did not even exist when the UN was born – from the existential climate crisis to the perils and promise of artificial intelligence.
The United Nations is guided by timeless values and principles, but it must never be frozen in time. That is why we must always keep strengthening ways of working and applying a 21st century lens to all we do.
On this United Nations Day, let us commit with hope and determination to build the better world of our aspirations.
Let us commit to a future that lives up to the name of our indispensable organization.
We are a divided world. We can and must be united nations.
In conclusion, on behalf of my colleague UN Heads and staff in Ghana, I take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Ghana on her achievements and contributions to peace, progress, and sustainability, even in the face of many global challenges. Let me also extend my personal appreciation to UN staff themselves and the international community and development partners gathered here today – without whom the progress we have made will not be possible. Ayekoo to you all. Our gathering here is a reminder of our strong partnership, and the journey that still lies ahead; it represents the pursuit of a more prosperous future, where every Ghanaian is treated with dignity and respect. We commit to walking with Ghana, supporting Ghana and making Ghana work for the people of Ghana.