Between the 16th and 17th June 2022, the SDG Secretariat, under the Office of the Prime Minister, held the inaugural Uganda Annual Sustainable Development Goals Conference (ASDGC-UG) under the theme: “Building Effective Models to accelerate SDGs in the Post COVID-19 Era”.
The conference was jointly organized by a cross-section of stakeholders, including the Government of Uganda under the Office of the Prime Minister, the United Nations in Uganda, civil society, academia, the private sector, and local governments.
The ASDGC-UG was preceded by regional dialogues conducted in Eastern, Western, and Northern Uganda, which were attended by well over 200 participants from the communities, Government, international missions and UN Bodies, civil society, religious institutions, and the Media.
The conference was organized to reflect government and development partners’ commitments to ensure an inclusive approach to SDG Implementation. The event facilitated sharing and analysing national progress on SDGs and generated vital messages that will be presented to the annual High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).
Since the launch of the 2030 agenda in Uganda, the Uganda National NGO Forum (UNNGOF) has been at the forefront of coordinating CSO efforts to localize and monitor SDG Implementation in Uganda. Notably, UNNGOF has continued to provide a framework for citizen participation in implementing and monitoring the SDGs in Uganda. Initiatives like the Tondeka Mabega Campaign enhanced citizens’ understanding and appreciation of the 2030 agenda and rallied them to support and monitor its implementation. A crucial element of CSO-Led actions is to mobilise citizens to contribute resources such as time, funds, and talent to support community development, which ultimately contributes to the SDGs.
In a panel discussion on Civil Society in SDGs Implementation, Monitoring and Reporting, the lead presenter, Dr. Moses Isooba, reflected on civil society’s contributions to inclusive Implementation and monitoring of SDGs. He underscored the broad areas of work that CSOs have undertaken since the launch of the SDGs in 2015. The sector has helped to counterbalance the power of the state, coordinate civil society efforts and foster partnership in line with SDG 17, and promote citizen engagement and support for the SDGs. He added that the civil society sector is currently engaging communities to mobilise and harness local philanthropy to contribute to local development and achieve the SDGs.
Other panellists were; Ms. Rita Aciro, Executive Director - Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), Mr. Julius Mukunda, Executive Director - Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), and Mr. Richard Rumsey, Program Quality Director - World Vision.
Ms. Rita Aciro reflected on the lessons learnt in women mobilizing, organizing, and collective action. She noted that women mobilizing is not new. Women have historically mobilized and participated in demanding for their rights and empowerment. She cited the pillars of current women mobilising and organizing efforts, including the crucial role played by data and statistics in exposing disparities between women and men, building voice and agency to advance women’s agenda, and promoting women’s access to leadership.
Mr. Julius Mukunda focused on the role of CSOs in monitoring national budgeting frameworks for service delivery. He emphasized the need to scrutinize the finer details of the budget and what it means to the realization of the SDGs. He cited the widespread corruption, high debt budget, and limited transparency and accountability as hindrances to the realization of development goals.
Mr. Richard Rumsey, in his presentation, focused on citizen-led approaches to implementing and monitoring SDGs. Using the World Vision Citizen Voice Initiative (CVI), he stressed the need to break down the SDGs to make sense to everyday people, most of whom are semi-illiterate and live on the margins of society. The CVI approach enables communities to track and understand SDGs through local advocacy. This approach, according to him, has encouraged 18,000 children and adults to participate in social service delivery and local resource mobilization.
Recommendations from the session include;
- There is a need to identify other resource mobilization opportunities to address the budget deficits. CSOs should encourage diversification of income sources to ensure sustainable local development efforts.
- CSO scrutiny of the budget should go beyond the broad allocations to sectors to understanding the nitty-gritty details. As noted by Julius Mukunda, “the devil is in the detail.”
- Intensify citizen-based monitoring and evidence generation of SDGs and provide feedback to the responsible Government and other agencies on SDGs implementation.
- CSOs should harness technology and data to intensify local-level advocacy on crucial aspects of the SDGs.
For more information about the Conference, visit the SDG Secretariat website here