CSO Statement on the Implementation of the SDGs at the Third National SDG Conference

Published By UNNGOF |  June 19, 2024

Munyonyo Conference Centre

Wednesday 19thJune 2024

Distinguished Guests and All Protocol Observed,

We are delighted to share a statement at this 3rd National Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Conference on behalf of the Civil Society Fraternity in Uganda organized under the theme: “Strengthening Localization and Service delivery mechanisms for national development and SDG acceleration.” It is imperative to note that through the Office of the Prime Minister, we have witnessed Government leadership and commitment to accelerating progress towards the SDGs in Uganda. We also applaud the Office of the Prime Minister, specifically the SDG Secretariat for the continuous partnerships with Civil Society in Uganda on advancing the 2030 Agenda.

Since adoption of the 2030 Agenda in 2015, Uganda has shown dedication to incorporating the SDGs into its national development agenda as integrated in the National Development Plans (NDPs), strategies, and programs. Despite these efforts, the country grapples with challenges in fully localizing and implementing the SDGs hence constraining the full achievement of set objectives. These challenges particularly hinder progress in social and economic aspects that help in addressing poverty, healthcare accessibility, and education quality, especially in rural and marginalized communities.

As we may recall, 2023 marked the midway of SDG implementation and at the SDG Summit, Uganda committed to accelerating implementation of the SDGs with a focus on “Leaving No One Behind,”Leveraging Science, Technology, and Innovation, and Improving data for the SDGs.As such, a review of the commitments made and what has been achieved is critical to inform next steps. The conference therefore presets a great opportunity to celebrate the milestones achieved and reflect on the challenges that impeded the realisation of the 2030 Agenda.

The Civil Society Fraternity is concerned about the slow progress in SDG implementation with only six (6) years to the realisation of the agenda. However, we are optimistic that with concerted efforts and resolve we can harness Uganda’s immense endowments, leverage the power of digital transformation, translate our demographics into a dividend and mobilise better our domestic resources as a catalyst to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs.

We therefore highlight some key areas that need to be fast-tracked to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs;

  1. Parish Development Model (PDM) as a strategy for Poverty Eradication. We appreciate Government for initiating the PDM which has a comprehensive and strategic approach that focuses on transitioning households from subsistence to monetary economies, harnessing local resources for holistic economic transformation. PDM targets to address SDG 1 on Ending Poverty through localised development activities at the parish level hence reaching households at the lowest level of the community setting. However, preliminary findings of a study by the Uganda National NGO Forum on the Implementation of the PDM – Two Years Later reveals challenges including;
  2. Limited transparency, inadequate borrower engagement, and inadequate communication during the Loan Approval Process,
  3. Sudden change of Business Enterprises by beneficiaries without guidance, often due to challenges such as diseases, limited options, and the failure to find suppliers,
  4. Ambiguity in Guidelines and Regulations e.g. the absence of regulations on using interest on PDM SACCO accounts and conflicting guidelines on Parish Revolving Fund loan amounts and,
  5. Contradictory messages from politicians and technical staff.

For PDM to achieve its intended objectives, resolving these issues require clarifying the purpose of the Parish Revolving Fund , dispelling misconceptions, and establishing effective coordination mechanisms between political and technical officers to ensure consistent messaging.

  • Meeting Government Commitments on the SDG Agenda. We applaud the Government through the National Planning Authority for integrating the SDG indicators into the National Development Planning Framework. While the 3rd National Development Plan (NDPIII) performed below average (17%) during the mid-term review, there are government commitments in relation to the SDG agenda that are not being met in the NDPIII. Aware that the NDPIV Strategic Direction and Road Map is already approved, we appreciate Government’s recognition of this underperformance and willingness to integrate strategies for addressing identified gaps in the NDPIV. However, planning, budgeting and implementation of the NDPIV and strategies to achieve the SDGs require a multi-stakeholder approach. This will require tripling collective efforts and accelerating actions for meaningful change.
  • Localization of SDGs and the role of Local Governments: Through the Decentralization Policy, Local Government Units occupy a vital position in the governance and development process of Uganda, as they are mandated to delivery services to citizens. This gives them the best platform to engage citizens and foster their voices in championing the SDGs agenda.This are in a bid to localize the SDGs. We therefore cannot underestimate the importance of having citizens at the centre of SDGs realisation because – “There is nothing for us without us”. To achieve this, the capacity of Local Governments in facilitating citizen led development needs to be strengthened. Furthermore, the effective implementation of the Local Government Own Source Revenue Mobilization Strategy (2020) is critical in addition to monitoring and reporting on SDG indicators.
  • Climate Change Financing: Dear Delegates, Uganda’s experience of escalating climate change, threatening sustainable development and efforts to end povertycan no longer be ignored. It’s worth noting that climate change actions contribute to achieving SDG 13 (Climate Action) which targets the integration of measures into national policies, strategies, and planning. Indeed, Uganda is aggressively taking steps to strengthen its policy, legal and institutional framework for climate change action. For instance, the enactment of the National Climate Change Act 2021 is a step made in the right direction amidst several other climate change policy, institutional and regulatory framework underdevelopment. We therefore call for massive awareness and implementation of the enacted policy.

At the sub national level, budget allocations to address climate change vagaries is inadequate even when prone districts have developed action plans. This has led toannually witnessing climate related disasters caused by landslides, floods, among others.To achieve SDG 13, and Government through Budget Call Circulars needs to consistently instruct districts to increasingly commit a percentage of local revenue to address climate change challenges and disasters whenever they happen to ensure quick response. In addition, as government continues to develop Public Investment Management Frameworks, it needs to be clear how climate change actions will be mainstreamed into projects and mitigation of its impact. 

  • Leveraging Quality and Disaggregated Data: Dear participants, we would like to confirm that data availability enables effective planning, budgeting, monitoring and reporting on development results. The timely collection and managementof high quality and disaggregated data further informs action and improve outcomes.A harmonized and effective data collection mechanism and the dissemination of SDG information in user friendly formats is paramount. This will help to fast track the implementation of Government commitments, specifically those on the SDGs to provide information that depicts the true picture of achievements. Therefore, we underscore the importance of citizen generated data and its role in increasing availability, accessibility and utilization data for improved development outcomes.

In conclusion, on behalf of Civil Society, I wish to thank the Government of Uganda for demonstrating leadership and commitment in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We stand ready to partner with government in working towards achieving the Agenda 2030 and creating a better future where no Ugandan is left behind in development processes.

For God and My Country!