UNDP Country Director's Remarks at the launch of the Global and Uganda Human Development Reports 2015

Dec 17, 2015

Ms Almaz Gebru, Country Director, United Nations Development Programme in Uganda, unveiling the Global Human Development Report , "Rethinking Work for Human Development", shortly after the unveiling of the Uganda Human Development Report 2015: Unlocking the Development Potential of Northern Uganda" by 3rd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs, Hon Kirunda Kivejinja (in white).


Right Honourable, 3rd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs, Hon Kirunda Kivejinja,
Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Hon Rebecca Amuge Otengo,
Your Excellences the Ambassadors
Heads of Government Ministries, Agencies, and Departments,
Development Partners Present
Members of the Private Sector, Civil Society, and The Media,
Colleagues from the UN,
Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen

I am delighted to welcome you ALL to the dual launch of the 2015 Global Human Development and the National Human Development Reports.

Since 1990, UNDP has been producing the Global Human Development report to stimulate dialogue and policy thinking around important issues that advance human development.

The first Human Development Report was on “Concept and Measurement of Human development”. It was about people - and about how development enhances peoples’ choices.

It indicated that human development was more than income and wealth and more than producing commodities and accumulating capital.

It argued, a person's access to income may be one of the  choices, but it is not the sum total of human endeavor. It was about wide-ranging choices:  to live a long and healthy life, to be educated and to have access to resources needed for a decent standard of living; etc.

Since then, range of issues have been the focus of these reports - ranging from gender and development; aid and trade to climate change; deepening democracy, human mobility and building resilience, to mention few.

Consequently, regional and national reports, being produced and to date, 140 countries including Uganda produced over 700 reports.

The 2015 Global Human Development Report, was launched on Monday 14th, December, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, by the UNDP Administrator.

The Report explores the vital link between work and human development and calls for provision of decent work – and NOT just jobs – to tackle poverty, inequality and exclusion.

Work, depending on how we treat it, can improve not just the ‘richness of economies’ but the ‘richness of people’s lives’. It can however, also endanger human progress - if people, are not accorded the dignity they deserve.

As we embark on implementing Agenda2030 for Sustainable Development, including the new Paris Agreement on Climate Action, it is vital that we promote productive work that is inclusive, equitable, expands social protection; and promotes fair income and security in the work place for workers and their families. This is what the concept of human development advocates for.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very pleased today to introduce to you the 8th National Human Development Report produced by Uganda.

The last National report was launched in 2007, and contained strong recommendations on how to revitalize agriculture to strengthen human development in Uganda.

Previous national reports addressed issues of economic growth, poverty, employment creation, HIV/AIDs, and environment.

Clearly, the publication of these reports focused on topical issues of national development. For instance, the focus on economic growth in the 1990s was undoubtedly vital given the concern regarding how the economy would be revamped after a long and sustained period of conflict, and how subsequent gains could translate into overall human development.

This year’s Human Development Report for Uganda is different for two reasons: Different, because it is the first national report with a regional focus; and two, it comes out in a historic year for global development. The theme of this year’s report is “unlocking the development potential of Northern Uganda” – focusing on a region that has been, and remains a priority for UNDP’s support and other UN agencies in Uganda.

As you will learn today, this Report builds on a lot of research and national interventions that have gone into this region, following decades of instability and underdevelopment.

There is no denying that the region has made tremendous progress since peace was restored in 2006. The signs of progress, stability and basic human security are evident for all.

Most significantly, we have seen, poverty reduce from 61 percent in 2005/06 to 44 percent in 2012/2013, in addition to witnessing substantial gains in health, and education.

The local economy is equally beginning to thrive, with more communities engaging in income generation and productive economic activity.

To this end, I commend the efforts of the Government of Uganda, and development partners, in undertaking affirmative action through interventions such as the Peace Recovery and Development Plans (PRDP) – that have been critical in driving this progress.

As the Government sets out to implement the third phase of PRDP, this National Human Development Report proposes a shift of attention from recovery to a new era of enhanced productivity, enlarged capabilities and choices, as well as transformative interventions.

Northern Uganda’s Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.431, is not too far off from 0.463 for the rest of Uganda. This, to UNDP, suggests a very promising future for the region.

Therefore, making the right choices at this critical point will not only benefit more than eight million people, but also position the region as a role model for other countries that are transitioning from post-conflict to development.

That said, reports of this kind are, only as good as the actions that follow. It is my hope that this report will influence policy, and also generate dialogue and debate on the challenges and opportunities of unlocking the development potential of Northern Uganda.

I urge for full support of the UN agencies and other Development Partners, to continue supporting government’s efforts, to realise the development aspirations of the people of Northern Uganda in an equitable, inclusive and sustainable manner.

We commit to staying at the forefront of cutting-edge research to inform policy and transformative action to continue empowering people and building resilience.

In closing, I would like to thank the government of Uganda for supporting the preparation process of this report.

I wish also to acknowledge the support of the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) for successfully preparing this report on behalf of UNDP. UNDP appreciates, and will continue to strengthen our valued partnership.

Finally, I thank all partners and experts who contributed to the report, and look forward to increasing our joint efforts in support of Northern Uganda’s human development.

I Thank You!

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