The Smart Sustainable Cities and Historical Heritage Secretariat was established to develop a blueprint for smart SDG cities in Ghana and the sub-region. The Secretariat implements its agenda by first identifying partnerships in and out of the community, engaging partners and establishing relationships for the design and implementation of catalyst projects that the community identifies as relevant to its community vision.
To ensure collective ownership of the sustainable cities idea, an effective Smart SDG Cities model for Ghana must unite three stakeholder groups: Traditional Authority as custodians of community assets; the Local Government Authorities as implementers of community-based development plans; and Knowledge Institutions that advise and consult for both authorities, preferably through an established Smart SDG Cities Secretariat. This ensures localization of the Model and its ownership by the community. This design model defines a sustainable city as one with community led and community approved catalyst projects.
The Kyebi Smart SDGs City Pilot Model was established with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council led by Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin. This initiative thus laid the basis for a knowledge body and a Traditional Council to collaborate; wherein the university proposed to the Traditional Authority to establish a Secretariat and to establish a joint working relationship with the Abuakwa South Municipal Authority as the local government machinery legally responsible for the development of Kyebi and the Municipality. Drawing on the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) approach, the Secretariat has co-developed an Action Plan with the pilot community, relevant stakeholders, and partners.
The Secretariat defines a smart SDG cities approach as one that prioritises community, by co-identifying and co-designing one or more (smart + sustainable) catalyst projects with the community. This approach does not assume that knowledge bodies, implementing partners and the Secretariat know more about the needs of the community than its inhabitants. As a wholistic community centred design that uses a sustainability approach, the SSCHH Secretariat’s Action Plan focuses the community as a knowledge bearer and leader of its sustainable development. It considers the community’s assets - human and physical resources - as the basis for its specific sustainable development.