Partnership is key to building resilience in Uganda

Nov 26, 2015

Opening the dialogue, Commissioner for Disaster Preparedness and Management at the Office of the Prime Minister, Martin Owor (centre), underscored the Government’s commitment to building the resilience of Ugandans to shocks (Photo credit: UNDP Uganda 2015).

KAMPALA – Development that doesn’t take risk into account, cannot be sustained, nor be sustainable was the key message from the Uganda Resilience Dialogue.

The dialogue brought together policy-makers from across Government ministries together with Uganda’s development partners to exchange perspectives on resilience in the context of Uganda’s development.

Without addressing the growing levels of disaster and climate risk it is estimated that 43 per cent of Ugandans could regress into poverty during shocks. While the business case for collective efforts to support Uganda become more resilient is clear, the question of how remains less clear.

Approaches to enhancing resilience in the implementation of the second National Development Plan, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction were at the centre of discussions.

Opening the dialogue this morning at Protea Hotel in Kampala, the Commissioner for Disaster Preparedness and Management at the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Martin Owor, underscored the Government’s commitment to building the resilience of Ugandans to shocks. He noted that for most Ugandans, this means reducing vulnerability to natural disasters.

Challenging representatives to identify approaches to enhance resilience building efforts, Mr. Owor called for greater coordination and increased engagement across sectors.

Speaking on behalf of UNDP’s Resident Representative, Assistant Country Director, Ms Patience Alidri, described resilience as a transformative process of strengthening the capacity of people and communities to anticipate, manage, recover and transform from shocks. UNDP’s focus on supporting Uganda build its resilience to all types of risk, stems from a growing understanding that the issues of poverty, environment and crisis are intertwined, she noted.

“It is about addressing climate and disaster risk across all areas of our work and recognising that other actions across the development spectrum, including in governance and poverty eradication, contribute to this process,” Ms. Alidri said.

During the dialogue, moderated by Dr. Roy Mayega from Makerere University’s Resilient Africa Network, representatives discussed the importance of ‘knowing your risk’. The need for evidence and reliable data to support risk-informed development emerged as a critical demand.  

On the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals, UNDP’s support to Uganda on developing district-level hazard, risk and vulnerability profiles was recognised as a key tool to realising risk-informed development.

Speaking on the coherence across the new development agenda, the Head of UNISDR’s Regional Office for Africa, Sharon Rusu, said the focus is on addressing underlying risks. She highlighted that 10 of the 17 new Global Goals specifically related to disaster risk, with a clear focus on the management of disaster risk, not disaster events.

“There’s no separation between disaster risk reduction and sustainable development. It’s about risk-informed development,” Ms. Rusu said.

The challenges of funding disaster risk reduction, empowering communities, applying technologies, knowledge transfer, utilizing indigenous knowledge, and the need to consider vulnerability more broadly were also discussed.  

On disaster risk governance, representatives recognised the importance of a policy and legal architecture to guide institutions and provide accountability. A number of representatives also highlighted the challenges of compliance.

The Uganda Resilience Dialogue was convened by the Office of the Prime Minister in partnership with UNDP.

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