Government reviews UNDP Uganda's 2014 portfolio and pledges to improve efficiency and utilisation of funds

Jul 24, 2015

On Point: Ms Maris Wanyera, Commissioner for Development Aid and Regional Cooperation in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) speaking at UNDP's 2014 Country Programme Portfolio Review on July 24, 2015. On the left is Ms Almaz Gebru, Country Director,UNDP Uganda; and review chair, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury (moFPED). Far right is Mr Joseph Enyimu, MoFPED Assistant Commissioner (Photo: UNDP Uganda)

KAMPALA - Government of Uganda today reviewed United Nations Development Programme’s portfolio for 2014, with a renewed commitment to increase efficiency, accountability and utilization of resources to support the country’s development.

The portfolio review, is an annual exercise carried out by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) to assess the impact of UNDP’s support across the various sectors of the economy, identify key successes and lessons learnt, challenges and measures to improve or sustain progress.

In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury, Mr. Keith Muhakanizi, acknowledged UNDP for its continued support to Government and the people of Uganda over the years. He said UNDP had successfully mobilized over US$90million worth of development support over the current 5-year programming cycle which ends in December 2015.

“Even when we had issues with other donors, UNDP has remained with us and been very willing to work with us for the development of this country,” explained Mr Muhakanizi who singled out low resource absorption and poor planning as major challenges to government’s ability to deliver quality services and development benefits to the people of Uganda.

He added: "Every year, a lot of money is returned to the consolidated fund unutilized. Starting this financial year, we will be enforcing performance contracts and we will penalize whoever is not efficient, or accounting properly for the funds".

In 2014, UNDP channeled US$21.6m worth of development support to Government of Uganda to strengthen accountable democratic governance, reduce poverty - the two major focus areas the organisation takes lead on under the United Nations Development Assistance Framework for Uganda (UNDAF).

Notable contribution and leadership was provided towards the preparation of the second National Development Plan (NDPII) was critical in identifying the country's key development priorities needed to achieve Vision2040. Vision2040 is Government of Uganda's blueprint to transform the country to a middle income status by 2040. The NDPII, which was launched on June 11th by H.E. the president of Uganda, Mr Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, is also the first national framework that has already localized at least 75 percent of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the area of Governance, UNDP has provided financial and technical support to build the capacity of the National Consultative Forum (NCF) and the National Elders Forum to carry out mediation and dialogue to support institutionalization of a national peace architecture in Uganda. These two entities have been engaging actively with political actors, to lay the groundwork for peaceful national elections in 2016. To complement this intervention, UNDP has facilitated community policing in 9 districts in Northern Uganda in addition to providing training on the same (using a human-rights based approach) to police officers and constables. A capacity development plan for traditional justice institutions in Northern Uganda is now operational, helping many communities to resolve disputes peacefully. This has helped reduce dependency on formal courts, which often have few judicial officers, thus helping to increase access to justice.

With the National Monitoring and Evaluation framework now in place, there has been significant improvement in quality and efficient reporting of progress on service delivery, in addition to supporting development of a new M&E course unit which is now being offered at the national Civil Service College.

At least 240 civil society organizations are currently using open platforms to amplify citizen voice while the HIV/AIDS response has been revitalized with further support to local governments through the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders' Initiative for Community Action on AIDS at the Local Level (AMICAALL).

In regard to poverty reduction, UNDP facilitated the development of the first Uganda Tourism Development Master Plan launched in September 2014. The Master Plan outlines marketing strategies to generate up to US$1.4bn annually in tourism revenue and creating an additional 150,000 jobs by 2024, if well-implemented. In addition, 15,000 farmers were trained by UNDP in modern agricultural techniques as well as business skills, with many venturing in to small scale enterprises thereafter.

In regard to the environment, several studies have confirmed Uganda as being vulnerable to climate change and variability, evidenced by recent extreme and frequent periods of intense rainfall, erratic onset and cessation of the rainy season, as well as frequent episodes of drought. These changes have potential to impact significantly on agriculture, food security, and soil and water resources. UNDP, as co-chair of the Development Partners Working Group on Natural Resource Management, has supported government to mainstream climate change issues in the NDPII. Several policies and strategies have been developed to address various environment-related issues, namely: Biomass energy, E-waste, and Disaster Risk Management, in addition to integrating dryland issues in local government plans and budgets.

Despite these successes, a number of operational and technical challenges were also noted by the review. These include, low capacity by government to absorb and utilize resources within the required period, poor accountability of funds, inadequate monitoring and reporting; as well as endemic procurement delays. Measures that were put forward to address these hiccups, include the need to focus on a few multi-year high impact programmes that have several components to reduce transaction overhead costs; provide more accurate baselines to inform programming and measurement of progress; strengthen joint monitoring and reporting of programmes; incorporate gender issues in all projects; engage more CSOs and private sector to implement programmes so as to speed up delivery; and develop a more robust communications strategy to improve results reporting and advocacy.

“In the new programme, we will be working very closely with government and all our partners to address these issues to ensure we streamline our support and make it more targeted to address the key development priorities,” said Ms Almaz Gebru, Country Director, UNDP in her response.

The review was attended by representatives of government Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) that implement UNDP-funded projects; civil society; development partners, and UNDP programme staff.

For more information, please contact:

Polly Mugisha, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist/Team Leader Management Support Unit, UNDP Uganda. Tel: +256 417 112100 Ext. 150. Cellphone: 0772289150.

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