2023 ECOSOC Youth Forum – Ministerial Session
STATEMENT DELIVERED BY HON. MINISTER FOR YOUTH AND SPORTS, HON. MUSTAPHA USSIF (MP) AT THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL YOUTH FORUM (ECOSOC) 2O23 ON 25TH AND 26TH APRIL 2023 AT THE UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES.
“HOW ARE YOUNG PEOPLE SUPPORTED TO ACHIEVE GHANA’S NATIONAL VISION FOR THE WATER AND SANITATION SECTOR, FOCUSING ON SUSTAINABLE BASIC WATER AND SANITATION SERVICE FOR ALL”
Her Excellency Lachezara Stoeva, President of Economic and Social Council
Heads of UN Agencies and members of the Diplomatic Corp
Representative of the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
Representative of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Colleague Ministers Responsible for Youth Affairs
Youth and Student Participants
Ladies and Gentlemen
All Protocol Observed
I bring you all warm greetings from His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic and his Vice, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, together with the people of my dear country Ghana. We are happy to be part of this global fraternity of sovereign nations united with common goal of ensuring peace and sustainable development for all.
I also wish to appreciate Her Excellency Madam Lachezara Stoeva, President of the Economic and Social Council and all organisers of the ECOSOC Youth Forum and further express my gratitude for the opportunity to deliver these brief remarks.
It gives me great pleasure to be given the honour to deliver this brief remarks on the topic “How Are Young People Supported To Achieve Ghana’s National Vision For The Water And Sanitation Sector, Focusing On Sustainable Basic Water And Sanitation Service For All”.
The theme for the 2023 ECOSOC Youth Forum is “Accelerating the COVID-19 recovery and full implementation of the 2023 Agenda with and for youth”. With less than ten years for the world to achieve targets set in the Sustainable Development Goals, coupled with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important, that world leaders and citizens work together to improve our chances of realising the 2030 objectives.
The overall goal of the Government of Ghana for the water and sanitation sector, is “to contribute to the improvement in the living standards of Ghanaians through increased access to and use of safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices and sustainable management of water resources.” Strategies for achieving this goal are to improve access and coverage of potable water in rural and urban communities; promote effective liquid and solid waste management; and promote sustainable sanitation and water resources for all.
The public institution leading the implementation of Government’s sanitation and water policies and programmes is the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR). MSWR working with other public and private bodies has implemented programmes, projects and activities centered on involving young people to achieve Ghana’s national vision for water and sanitation.
Other government institutions implementing programmes and projects on sanitation include National Youth Authority (NYA) and Youth Employment Agency (YEA).
Private organisations also working in the water and sanitation sector include Water Aid Ghana, WASH Alliance Ghana and IRC. They work to achieve increased sustainable access to and use of safe water and sanitation services, and improved hygiene practices especially for women and the vulnerable groups in the communities.
The following highlight key government programmes and initiatives:
• Sanitation Hackathons: This initiative brings young people together to solve water and sanitation issues in the country and to develop measures to alleviate negative impact. Also, in partnership with UNICEF a platform was created to engage young people in solving challenges relating to solid and liquid waste management to curtail the practice of indiscriminate littering and promote good sanitation, amongst others.
• The Rural Sanitation Module and Strategy (RSMS) Programme, is also being run across the country with many Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). The strategy identifies groups through the “community led rural sanitation methodology” in these areas with the objective of targeting youth groups to solicit for their inputs into sustaining access to water and sanitation services in their respective communities. Over 5000 communities have benefitted from this programme.
• Also, a sanitation marketing strategy has been put in place to create opportunities for young people. Low interest funds are given to the young people as seed capital to support their innovative ideas to implement sanitation measures.
• Government is also implementing youth employment modules within the sanitation and water sector. These modules create employment opportunities for the youth through maintenance of environmental cleanliness with special emphasis on the coastal belt. The modules comprise the under listed:
a. Coastal Sanitation Assistants
b. Youth in Sanitation
c. Coastal Protection Assistants
d. Water Bodies Protection
• Policies on water and sanitation have been implemented to help sustain basic water and sanitation services for all, these policies factor in the active participation of young people in achieving this much important Sixth Sustainable Development Goal. Some of the policies in place are;
i. Urban Liquid Waste Management Strategy launched in April, 2023;
ii. Urban Solid Waste Management Strategy launched in the year 2020; and
iii. The overarching national policy for sanitation and water resources, the National Environmental Sanitation Policy is in the process of being reviewed after its implementation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
10. Major projects such as, Greater Accra Sustainable Sanitation and Livelihood Improvement Project (GASSLIP), Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project (GAMASWP) and Greater Accra Resilience and Integrated Development (GARID) Project have also been implemented with strong involvement and participation of young people. These young people were recruited to educate and undertake sensitisation exercises on accessing safe water and maintaining good sanitation in communities. The programmes served an additional function of reducing unemployment.
The NYA launched the National Youth Volunteer Programme to ignite the spirit of selflessness and volunteerism amongst young people in Ghana. Through the implementation of modules such as infrastructure, environment, climate change and disaster risk management; and education, youth will be empowered to contribute to improving environmental and sanitation conditions of communities.
The Government of Ghana is committed and focused on achieving sustainable basic water and sanitation service for all in the execution of its duties, and pledges to continually factor in young people as a key driving force to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal Six (6) on water and sanitation.