13th/July/2020 was a very significant mark in history as Uganda joined 47 Countries world wide to review the 2nd Voluntary National Review (VNR) Report during the UN High Level Political Forum. In East Africa, she was joined by Kenya to present snapshots on how East Africa is performing in the SDGs Implementation and the Pledge of Leaving No One Behind. Key highlights from East Africa’s presentation went from Kenya’s intention to localize SDGs up to Municipal level, investing in Young People, Peer Learning, identifying gaps and good practices in mobilization and Partnerships to Uganda’s Youth Economic and Livelihood programs.
It should be noted that Georgia USA was recognized as one of the best performing states in SDGs Implementation.
Uganda’s VNR Report
Our report was presented by Honorable Minister of General Duties, Mary Karoro Okurut, UN Resident in Uganda, Her Excellence: Rosa Malango together with Akello Immaculate, Founder and Team Leader of Generation Engage Network and Organization that champions social entrepreneurship and alternative approaches to climate change.
5 Years ago, the Uganda Government made a commitment to join the rest of the countries in restoring Hope and Peace through promoting Sustainable interventions in Community development and for that to be actualized, a Minister of General Duties was appointed under who a National Technical Committee to oversee Sustainable Development Goals implementation was created. In assessment on how far the country has gone so far in SDGs Implementation, key sectors like overall National Development, Use of Technology, Energy and Industrialization were highlighted with an increase of 0.6% in growth since 2018. Emerging questions and concerns were how the Government was ready to convert its fast growing population into sustainable and positive minded progressions and How COVID-19 has influenced the implementation of SDGs.
A number of Government Youth Initiatives presented included The Youth Venture Capital Fund, The Youth Skilling Program and The Youth Livelihood Program. Programs under Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights didn’t seem quite a priority by Government but rather all that was categorized under the People with Special Needs. In response to COVID-19, Minister Karoro Okurut highlighted the Supply of Education materials to children in the far to reach areas and online teaching as the key achievements in meeting needs for Adolescents and Young People in that period. Question is How many young people have benefited from this?
VNR Report Side Event
A VNR Report side event was held on 14th/July/2020 a day after the UN High Level Political Forum representation. During this event, a way forward on acceleration of SDGs implementation in Uganda was laid down, Her Excellence: Rosa Malango confirmed that UN had received Funding to support all these interventions, centered on the One Million Youth SDGS Solutions Initiative and ope-rationalization of the Peace Policy. Challenging issues remained data gaps in which interventions like Real Time Data collection by African Union, aligning resources to data collection were recommended from Senior economists. Her Excellence Dr. Rosa Malango appealed to the continued prioritization of Young People with Special needs, alignment of bi-lateral and multi-lateral resources to ease National accountability and clarity on sustainable financing of the Peace policy.
Kenya’s VNR Report Presentation
The Kenyan Permanent secretary for National Planning presented Kenya Government’s priorities that ranged from Renewable energy, Industrialization to population and development thus not so far different from the Ugandan Government’s priorities using a program based approach. The most outstanding was the UN award winning program; Sanitation for the Urban poor program an initiative in response to the Rapid population growth and rural urban migration. The Green Kenya Program and Multi-stakeholders dialogues on SDGs. We also marked pledges from UK to support collaborations with Kenya in producing rich Data on SDGs Implementation.
Key lessons taken from from this Conference included sharing best practices and positive communication as key actions in eradicating poverty. Countries like India, Bangladesh highlighted key achievements like SDGs Data Trackers, Think tanks, Startup innovations in acceleration of SDGS implementation. We can expand our innovation spaces and provide space for Young People’s creativity and contribution towards the achievement of Sustainable development goals by actively involving them in each and every process.