Ghana is in the process of turning all water reservoirs into security zones to safeguard the provision of the quality treated water for the people.
The Executive Secretary of the Water Resources Commission (WRC), Ben Ampomah has disclosed this at the United Nations University-Institute of Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) Stakeholders’ Engagement workshop on the 61st National Level Learning Alliance Platform (NLLAP) held in Accra.
He added that very soon water would be treated as a security resource to protect it from being abused by encroachers.
According to Mr Ampomah, a security post had been created at the Weija River to guard off some people or animals from polluting the water.
Adopt and adapt SDG PSS
He encouraged stakeholders in Ghana to adopt and adapt the Sustainable Development Goal Policy Support System (SDG PSS) since it was user friendly and generic.
Mr Ampomah said one advantage of the SDG PSS was its flexibility and urged stakeholders to tweak the system by adding more components that are suitable to the Ghanaian context to enable them monitor the implementation of the SDGs effectively.
He explained further that it was critical to unpack the system also to develop and find a way to have an agreeable system to suite Ghana’s local and national contexts.
Mr Ampomah urged stakeholders in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector to contribute effectively to enrich the SDG PSS for the benefit of all countries.
He expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the UNU-INWEH, the Korean Environment Corporation (KECO) and the Ministry of Environment (MOE) from the Republic of Korea, and the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development and the Water Research Institute (WRI) for bringing the workshop to Ghana.
In his introductory remarks, the Head of the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD), administered by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Dr. Jong Soo Yoon, indicated that experts have warned that the world would experience more environmental catastrophes if efforts were not made to effectively implement the SDGs.
He said despite these warnings, insufficient progress have been made.
According to Dr. Yoon, it was critical for stakeholders in the WASH sector to analyze the gaps and challenges and identify its effects on domestic policies and behaviour.
The UNOSD, he noted would continue to facilitate and monitor the implementation of the SDGs especially the water goals and targets, adding that several international bodies were carrying our research on water.
On the SDG PSS, the UNOSD Head said it was an evidenced based solution approach to identifying the challenges in the implementation of the SDGs and resolving them.
Dr. Yoon added that the SDG PSS which was comprised of six components-status component, capacity assessment component, policy & institutional assessment component, finance component, DRR/resilience component and gender mainstreaming component was very important in the implementation and tracking of progress of the SDGs.
Build synergies in the WASH sector
Taking participants through an ‘Overview of SDG 6 and Water in the World We Want’, Lisa Guppy of the United Nations University – Institute of Water, Environment and Health said there was the urgent need to build synergies in the WASH sector to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all and would require that stakeholders analyse their systems to identify the gaps and challenges in their domestic policies and work towards addressing them.
She said water and sanitation were intertwine and to achieve the SDG targets of water required collaboration and cooperation among WASH sector actors (Government, CSOs, and NGOs).
Madam Guppy indicated that the SDG process was different from MDG, explaining that during the MDG period there were minimal or no international processes or tools available across countries to assess the progress, and the focus was also primarily on developing countries. For the other SGDs targets to be achieved, there was the need for efforts to be made in shaping policies at the national level to ensure that all the water related SDGs were achieved.
She expressed the need for countries to define their own national targets and priorities within the general SDG process and work assiduously on those that they can realistically achieve by 2030 and be mindful of the need to regularly report on progress.
On evidence for decision making, Madam Guppy said there was the need for a more credible water and sanitation evidence to inform policy making, as well as drive advocacy, stimulate political commitment, inform decision making, and trigger investments.
Touching on the SDG Policy Support System (SDG PSS), Madam Guppy said the system was a generic policy support system which recognised existing tools, initiatives and systems and simply draws these existing processes together to address gaps or challenges identified and then put them together for policy or decision making at the national and organizational level.
She said the SDG PSS was open to interested individuals and organisations in Ghana to guide them in their work, adding that the SDG PSS has 7 components and Ghana might not require all the 7 components, but would need to tweak the system to suit its local needs.
For the system to become enriched and relevant to institutional and national needs, Madam Guppy said it was critical for stakeholders to engage to contribute ideas to make it reflect the changing times.
She said the project was ready to support Ghana in tracking the progress of the SDG 6 implementation, adding that Ghana required an evidence-based policy to ensure the sustainable and accelerated implementation of the SDG 6.
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) and target 6.3 is about more than ticking off indicators. Effective policy frameworks and multi-sectoral decision making that incorporate interlinked environmental, economic and social values are needed to meet SDG 6 and other water-related SDGs.
However, this can leave decision-makers awash in a sea of complex and perhaps contradictory analyses, evidence and data that are impossible to base coherent policy on.
It was in view of this that the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), the Korean Environment Corporation (KECO) and the Ministry of Environment (MOE) from the Republic of Korea, and the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development decided to organize the national workshop on the theme: ‘Water in the World We Want and WASH Related SDGs in Ghana’ using the National Level Learning Alliance Platform (NLLAP) meeting, which is the largest WASH sector platform for learning and sharing of knowledge and best practices in Ghana.
The workshop sought to build the commitment of stakeholders towards the achievement of water-related SDGs in Ghana; to introduce the international project “Water in the World We Want” to stakeholders in Ghana and to demonstrate the SDG policy Support System (SDG PSS); and to discuss with WASH sector stakeholders steps towards collaborative policy making that enables the achievement of water-related SDGs.
The workshop was also to provide the platform for international and Ghanaian partners to propose six policy-critical components for water-related SDGs and to demonstrate how these six components will be incorporated into the SDG Policy Support System; and discuss how Ghanaian Government actors and their partners might use the SDG Policy Support System to realign national, evidence-based policy making, in order to accelerate progress towards SDG 6 and its indicators.
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