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National Activities: Ghana

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Fourth International Workshop on the CSD Indicators of Sustainable Development
Hosted by the Government of the Czech Republic in Prague
19-21 January 1998



Ghana has been using indicators to assess its socio-economic development for several years. For instance, in the area of health, factors such as infant mortality, have been used annually to assess various health interventions. Poverty levels have also been used to determine how various income generating measures have succeeded in improving the status of the Ghanaian population. In the industrial sector, measurements are regularly made, for instance, on industrial and agricultural growth rates on a yearly basis. With population having a critical bearing on the economic well-being of the country, population growth rates are also an important index for the country.

Various environmental indices such as rate of desertification and changes in the levels of different pollutants are also normally measured.

These indicators are collected and used by specific institutions for their use. Unfortunately, though these environmental, social and economic indicators are assessed with specific aims in mind, this is not undertaken in an integrated manner in order to assess the totality of development as defined by the concept of sustainable.

During the Accra Workshop, the representatives from Ghana discussed with the staff of DPCSD the possibility of Ghana joining the countries currently involved in the national testing of indicators of sustainable development.


The Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology held discussions with a number of national institutions which took part in the Accra Workshop. Following these discussions, a National Committee on Indicators for Sustainable Development is being formed. The membership of the Committee is from the following institutions:

  1. National Development Planning Commission;
  2. Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology;
  3. Statistical Services;
  4. Environmental Protection Agency;
  5. Town and Country Planning Department;
  6. Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana;
  7. Centre for Policy Analysis;
  8. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research;
  9. United Nations Development Programme;
  10. Private Enterprise Foundation;
  11. Rescue Mission Ghana; and
  12. National Union of Environmental NGOs.

The Committee will function under the National Committee for the Implementation of Agenda 21 (National Committee for Sustainable Development). The broad functions of the Committee are:

  1. Identification of indicators for use in the country;
  2. Integration of indicators being used in the country;
  3. Integration of the indicators into the national development process; and
  4. Management of the programme for the testing of the indicators in the country.

The Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology will be the focal point for the work of the Committee.


At the moment, a number of programmes are taking place in the country and it is intended that the indicators be tested along side these programmes. Two of these programmes are being funded through the UNDP and, in view of their cross-sectoral nature, will constitute focus of the testing programme. These programmes are:

  1. Poverty Reduction Programme; and
  2. Capacity 21 Programme.

The most important aspect of these programmes is that they are decentralised with the focus of activity taking place at the lowest level of political authority in the country, that is, the districts.

The National Committee should start functioning effectively at the beginning of 1998 using the Methodology Sheets.

Before the start of the testing of the indicators, the National Committee is to have a series of meetings to appreciate better the indicators, identify which ones will be needed for the testing, understand the methodology sheets, and develop a programme of workshops to educate various stakeholders on the various components of the indicators (social, economic, environmental and institutional) and their relevance.

It is also hoped that initial steps will be taken to identify a possible twinning partner for the Ghana programme.


Ghana sees the indicators of sustainable development as useful tools to help in assessing in an integrated manner its sustainable development programme, as enshrined in her developmental programme, VISION 2020. It is hoped that the experiences that other countries have gained in the use of the indicators will help her as it joins phase III of the testing programme, a programme the outcome of which should help the global community in providing a more objective assessment about how they have been able to meet the various goals set out in June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro at the Earth Summit.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Edwin P. D. Barnes
Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation
Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology
P.O. Box M 232, Ministries Post Office
Accra, Ghana
Tel. no.: (233-21) 666-049/662-013/780-305
Fax no.: (233-21) 666-828