The United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2021-2025 has been signed by the President of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Museveni, paving the way for its implementation over the next five years effective January 2021. The presidential assent to the UNSDCF, often simplified as Cooperation Framework, was witnessed by the UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Rosa Malango alongside Heads of UN Agencies in Uganda and senior Government officials at State House, Entebbe.
The signing of the Cooperation Framework reflects a milestone in the implementation of UN reform in Uganda, with the Cooperation Framework being positioned as the single most important country planning instrument in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The framework will serve to guide over 30 UN agencies in Uganda in a collective response to support the Government of Uganda in addressing national priorities toward meeting the Third National Development Plan (NDP III), the National Vision 2040 aspirations, and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Cooperation Framework was informed by a series of multi-stakeholder consultative processes, evaluation of the NDP III and learning lessons from the implementation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2016-2020. It comprises three strategic priorities; (1) Transformative and Inclusive Governance, (2) Shared Prosperity in a Healthy Environment, and (3) Human Well-being and Resilience, which aim to accelerate Uganda’s digital transformation, support economic development, enhance productivity in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), strengthen disaster risk reduction systems, and support the Government and key actors to meet increased demand for quality and inclusive social services.
“The UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework comes at the opportune time to contribute to the National Vision 2040 and the Third National Development Plan 2020/21 - 2024/25,” President Museveni said during his address. “I also hope we will further deepen the focus on youth employment, entrepreneurship and education programmes, including access to reproductive health information and services.”
UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Rosa Malango acknowledged the importance of strong partnerships toward achieving the SDGs. “Uganda has the second youngest population in the world, and this comes along with challenges and opportunities,” she said. “The UN system in Uganda will join the Government in their efforts to skill the youth of Uganda.”
“The UN system in partnership with the National SDGs Secretariat at the Office of the Prime Minister and the Youth Coalition for SDGs are undertaking a nationwide One Million SDG Solutions from Youth in Uganda Innovation Challenge. The challenge aims at identifying and providing a catalogue of solutions that are changing lives positively and linking them with support from partners including from the private sector to enable them to scale up,” Ms. Malango said.
Prior to the launch of the UNSDCF, panel discussions were conducted featuring stakeholders including diplomatic representatives, development partners, government officials, civil society and youth representatives. Contributing in one of the panel discussion, Mr. Innocent Fred Ejolu, Team Leader, Institutional Effectiveness Programme at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said, “We must situate the SDG agenda at the local level because that’s where the people are, that’s where the frontline of the Government machinery is, and that’s where the resources are … These frameworks need to land on the ground and be seen in giving direction at the parish, sub-county and district levels.”
During the signing ceremony, UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Elsie Attafuah handed over to the President a plaque and a copy of the report of UN-Government of Uganda benchmarking study to Ghana that was done with UNDP technical and financial support.
Titled Good practices, Uganda benchmarks with Ghana, this report provides valuable insights into Ghana’s experience which offers options for Uganda, and indeed other African countries, to consider in discussions and decision-making on how to organize national civic education, coordinate SDG delivery at the highest level in government, strengthen electoral processes and evolve an inclusive and home-grown national architecture for peacebuilding.
This benchmarking exercise was co-led by the Minister of General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister, represented by the Government Chief Whip, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, and the UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Rosa Malango. UNDP supported it in its role as a knowledge broker and thought leader and in furtherance of its role as the integrator of the UN Development system.
UNDP influential in co-designing the Cooperation Framework
The UNDP played an active and leadership role in co-designing the framework in coordination with other stakeholders.
UNDP provided technical and financial support toward major elements of the analytical, consultative and design processes; supported the Common Country Analysis, including disaster risk analysis and the design of Strategic Priority 1: Transformative and Inclusive Governance; and supported the design of other key pillars of the framework including Strategic Priority 2: Shared Prosperity in a Healthy Environment, and Strategic Priority 3: Human Well-being and Resilience.
The signing of the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2021-2025 presents UNDP with an opportunity to further deepen coordination with UN agencies, the Government of Uganda, development partners and other stakeholders in pursuit of fulfilling the Third National Development Plan (NDP III) and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).