Poverty is not inevitable. We must commit to building a fair globalisation that creates opportunities for all” Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General

On behalf of the United Nations family, I would like to thank the Government of Uganda, in particular, the Office of the Prime Minister for organizing this important event. This moment accords us an opportunity to deliberate on Sustainable Development, which is a defining concept of our time.  I invite UN staff and representatives to stand up for recognition.

By agreeing to the 2030 Agenda, the United Nations Member States, including Uganda envisaged making the concept of Sustainable Development achievable. This is indeed the era for it to become deeply meaningful as a guide for changing global trends. After all, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are at the core of this Agenda were a product of a massive global consultative exercise, and are therefore what we, as humanity, want to achieve the world we want.

Can we end hunger, halt climate change, achieve gender equality, ensure every child goes to school and attains meaningful education all by 2030? Are all these things possible? Global leaders including Uganda said yes, we actually can! The idea that the world will achieve all the targets set for 2030 may appear unrealistic, but a positive mindset accompanied by innovation and sustained deliberate action will lead us there.  

Rt. Honourable Prime Minister, distinguished guests,

I am glad the Government of Uganda took several bold steps before other countries could on Agenda 2030, starting with mainstreaming of the SDGs into the Second National Development Plan (NDPII), before the Agenda 2030 was officially launched.

In 2016, Uganda again, demonstrated commitment by becoming one of the early starters, when it established a coordination framework for implementation of SDGs, under the leadership of the Office of the Prime Minister, enabling the participation of actors in the public sector, private sector, civil society and the development partner community.  

As part of efforts to operationalize this framework, we are here today to launch the Roadmap for creating an enabling environment for delivering on SDGs in Uganda. I would like to thank OPM, in particular, for ensuring that the preparation of this roadmap was consultative. This is a testament of the resounding obligation to ensure that issues of sustainable development matter to everyone.

Rt. Honourable Prime Minister

Let me recognise the progress made in terms of implementing the 2030 Agenda and the AU Agenda 2063 in Uganda. A recently published report by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network on SDG Index and Dashboards provides country performance on the historic Agenda 2030 and the SDGs. The report ranked Uganda 125th out 156 countries with SDG index score of 54.9[1], higher than the Sub Saharan Africa regional average of 52.8.  This is a good base line for us to accelerate progress.

I wish to thank the Government of Uganda for demonstrating strong commitment to sustainable development through its National Budget, which is the main instrument for Vision 2040 and the 2030 Agenda to be realised.  The budget over the last three financial years has upheld an important theme of ‘Industrialization for Job Creation and Shared Prosperity’, that has significant implications for the realisation of several Goals. For example, SDG 1- eradicating poverty, SDG 5- Gender equality, SDG 8-decent work and inclusive growth, SDG 9 industrialisation, SDG 12- sustainable production and Consumption as well as SDG 13 -on climate action. The budget process allowed an important discussion to take place on critical issues such as concurrently investing on physical infrastructure and human capital development to improve the prospect of inclusive economic growth in the medium and long term in Uganda.

In connection to the above, I wish to recognize the great work that the National Planning Authority is doing to ensure the alignment of the annual budgets to the national planning frameworks using the Certificate of Compliance (CoC) as per the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015. 2017/18 Certificate of Compliance had an innovation to assess the alignment of the budget to SDGs. It indicated that the Budget is aligned to SDG’s resource requirement by 60 percent. It also indicated information on the specific Goals where the alignment with budget is less than the desired level. This is significant because it shows us where we can improve in the future in terms of aligning resources and provides the evidence base for fruitful discussions within the government for example, between executive and parliament; as well as among other stakeholder groups on innovative and efficient ways to use scarce resources for the achievement of SDGs.

Further to the above, let me applaud the Government of Uganda for its continued effort in establishing dynamic and sound national statistical systems. In particular, the National Standard Indicators (NSI) framework developed by the Uganda Bureau of statistics (UBoS) which is vital for tracking progress on the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and Vision 2040. Moving forward, I encourage more effort to achieve the full integration of all the SDGs in this framework, building on the successful exercise of mainstreaming Goal 5 targets and indicators.

In addition to the Government efforts, I am glad that Uganda’s private sector is demonstrating strong commitment for SDGs. We do hold their contribution in high regard. For instance, their participation in the national SDG taskforce has enabled concrete actions to be reflected in this roadmap. We have also observed several engagements on the ground. The Private Sector Foundation (PSFU), through the Cente SupaWoman Programme, has economically empowered more than 7000 Ugandan women. I applaud them for their contribution to addressing the skill imbalance among young people, in the agriculture, manufacturing and construction sectors through the Skills Development Programme. I wish to strongly acknowledge the steadfast support of private sector leaders in supporting advocacy on SDGs. Among them include Mr. Patrick Bitature, the Ambassador for SDG 8 on decent work, and Prof. Margie Kigozi, our Ambassador for SDG 5 on gender.

The proactiveness of the Civil Society in Uganda is also a clear indication that the SDGs are a shared agenda for all of us. The coordinated engagement of the civil society has showcased how all of us can work together to deliver on this agenda. To mention a few, I must commend CSOs for championing the “tondeka mabega (leave no one behind) campaign” a collective action of Civil Society to make the agenda known to everyone, and to amplify citizen’s voices on the agenda. The National Core Reference Group and the Uganda gender consortium on SDGs, have been instrumental in the localisation drive.

I would like to thank in a unique way, his grace archbishop Stanley Ntagali of the church of Uganda and ambassador for SDG 10- reducing inequality, and Mr. Victor Oceng the global ambassador for SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions for their immense contributions for the advancement of these goals.

Rt. Honourable Prime Minister

With regards to the UN system support, allow me to appreciate the trust the Government and the people of Uganda has vested in the United Nations by granting us the opportunity to work with you on our journey to implement the SDGs, starting with the consultative processes that led to the 2030 Agenda in 2015.

In addition to supporting efforts to establish the coordination framework and the development of the roadmap, we have collaborated with several Government institutions, civil society and private sector on a number of initiatives including: strengthening mechanisms for measuring the goals, such as SDG 1 on poverty, SDG 2 on hunger, SDG 5 on Gender, SDG 6 on water and sanitation; translating the SDGs into 10 local languages, positioning Uganda as the first country; strengthening the institutional capacity of relevant forums such as the Parliamentary Forum on SDGs;  training of the media fraternity  on reporting of the goals.

Rt. Honourable Prime Minister, distinguished guests,

As I mentioned earlier, the global aspirations are achievable, but we need to accelerate progress through whole of the government and whole society approach. We’ve got to think about how to do things differently. In this regard I wish to call for action on the following three areas to help us fast-track our delivery on this agenda:

(1)The agenda requires the involvement of all actors including frontline service providers such as Local Governments. Local Governments are not just implementors of the agenda, they are catalysts of change and they are critical institutions to realise the Goals working with the local communities. I wish to reiterate the need for strengthening the role of Local government for the implementation of the SDGs.

(2)In connection to the above, Sector Working Groups (SWGs) at national level have a key role to play in designing, implementing and monitoring coherent projects and programmes for the achievement of SDGs. In this regard, I call upon the Government and development partners to have an open and frank discussion on how best we can ensure that programmes and projects enable Uganda to achieve the SDGs and Vision 2040.

(3) I wish to encourage the Government of Uganda to set a time to reflect on how to bring all the requisite resources both human and financial for the achievement of the action enlisted in the roadmap and for the realization of projects and programmes in support of the National development plan.  To my colleagues in the Development Partner community, let us put our weight behind the government and support the achievement of SDGs while joining efforts to mobilise additional resources to close the funding gap identified in the roadmap as part of our support for the National Development Plan.

As I conclude, I would like to extend my appreciation to you all for taking part in this event. It is my hope that this meeting re-energises debate on ways to deliver on the 2030 agenda for the ultimate benefit of the citizens of Uganda. Given that we are launching this roadmap towards the end of the NDPII, it is important to update it as a living document on yearly basis that will also support the preparation of Third National Development Plan.

Rt. Honourable Prime Minister

Tomorrow is UN day, we celebrate 73 years at the service of humanity and a partnership with Uganda since shortly after independence.  Allow me to give you an SDG bag with samples of our work, and a UN pen as a symbol of our partnership.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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