Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary-General

The United Nations (UN) has urged Ghana to work towards bridging the widening socio-economic disparities in a manner that will promote social cohesion and foster rapid development.

?In our world today, rising inequalities within many countries are a serious cause for concern. There is abundant data which show that high levels of inequality have negative economic and social consequences and are a barrier to development progress,? the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, stated.

Speaking on behalf of the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, at the 68th UN Day flag-raising ceremony in Accra yesterday, Ms Sandhu-Rojon indicated that high disparity in socio-economic conditions of people had the tendency to undermine social cohesion and peace.

?In many middle-income countries, including Ghana, proactive inequality-reducing policies are urgently needed as an essential requirement for sustainable economic growth and resilient societies,? she said. The government, she further stated, must take the lead role in addressing those differences and promote opportunities for all.

Child Labour

One in five children in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the UN, was involved in one child labour activity or another. Ms Sandhu-Rojon said those children, who were denied education, often worked long hours for meagre or no pay. She, therefore, stressed the need for human rights to be strengthened across the continent to protect the rights and freedom of children.

Migration

One issue that is not fully addressed in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) but which had become a major challenge requiring urgent attention to address is migration. In Ghana, Ms Sandhu-Rojon said, growing rural-urban migration was driven by socio-economic factors.

The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Kwesi Quartey, for his part, said ?available data show that extreme poverty has been reduced by half since 2000?. While Ghana lagged behind in achieving MDG goals  four, five and seven (infant mortality, maternal mortality and provision of safe water and improved sanitation), Mr Quartey said, the country was on track to meeting MDG goals two, three and six.

?Indeed, school enrolment, gender parity and reduction of HIV/AIDS have all seen dramatic progress,? he said.

UN?s new website

A new UN website designed to provide a one-stop shop for UN operations in Ghana was also launched. Twenty-two UN agencies operate in the country. The new website, therefore, seeks to harmonise the operations of all the agencies and the information shared with the public.

Source DAILY GRAPHIC

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