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Joint UN-Government Post 2015 Briefing - Financing Sustainable Development in the Post 2015 Agenda held from May 19-20

From 19-20 May 2015, the Government of Uganda and the UN Uganda together with the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), UNDP and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) conducted a 2-day Post 2015 Briefing to (i) inform key government and UN staff on the Post 2015 process, (ii) to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experiences with the Post 2015 process and financing sustainable development and to (iii) discuss the UNDESA-UNDP supported capacity strengthening on planning and implementation of the agenda. With Uganda being one of the first countries to have integrated the SDGs into the upcoming national development Plan (NDPII), this was furthermore an opportune time to (iv) discuss the next steps in implementing the SDGs.

The Briefing1 enabled participants to understand the origin and process of Post 2015 agenda, the transition processfrom the MDGs to the Post 2015 agenda, the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the localization of the new agenda in Uganda, what it takes to finance sustainable development, how to harness synergies and cooperation for SDG implementation, data availability and data collection challenges. The following sections provide a very brief summary of the outcomes of the group discussions. For a detailed account please contact Sophie.tentrop@one.un.org.

Localization of the SDGs

Through extensive group discussions, the participants outlined that further domestication of the SDGs requires:

  • Improved coordination mechanisms between ministries, departments and agencies, the UN and development partners (overcoming silo approach).
  • Policy harmonization in line with the SDGs (alignment with national developing planning).
  • Improved capacity for data collection and analysis.
  • Political commitment to evidence-based decision making.
  • Effective decentralization and citizen participation to increase accountability.
  • Improved access, availability and quality of social services (taking into account local needs).
  • Budget alignment with SDG priorities. Strong mechanism for Public Private Partnerships.
  • Informed citizenry who is aware about their rights as duty bearers- and rights holders.

The concept of a National Post 2015 Briefing was piloted in Uganda, based on the module package (presentations, videos, discussion guidelines, etc) developed by UNITAR. To maximize its relevance for Uganda, the modules were complemented with presentations by the National Planning Authority (NPA), and the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBoS). The facilitation and presentation of the modules was covered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, NPA, UNDP and UNDESA, making this a government-led initiative.

Sustainable Development Financing

In preparation of the Conference on Financing for Development from 13-16 July 2015 in Addis Ababa, the Briefing focused on different aspects of financing the new agenda. Participants agreed that resource diversification is incremental and that the following measures should be taken:

  • leveraging the Ugandan diaspora (Ethiopia mentioned as a good practice) & reducing the cost of remittances.
  • Partnering with non-traditional partners (BRICs, MINTs etc), and building Public Private Partnerships.
  • Ensuring that financial commitments from central governments and development partners are adhered to.
  • Using of domestic resources to cover key population needs and to address vulnerable people.
  • Exploring crowd funding mechanisms. Exploring how to externalize labor safe and effectively.
  • Negotiating Terms of Trade for African Countries and Regional Communities.

Focus areas for Uganda’s position at the Conference

  • Financing Human Capital Development (health, education, social development) and Social Protection Systems as they form the basis for sustainable economic transformation and the impact and trickle-down effect of Human Capital Development cuts across many SDGs.
  • Building partnerships between countries with a similar demographic structure to harness the youth dividend.
  • How to tackle illicit financial and trade flows.
  • Terms of trade for Africa and Regional Cooperation.
  • Financing infrastructure development (Learn from Ethiopia’s experience in cooperating with China: sim-sim export in exchange for infrastructure).
  • Good governance and the need to strengthen accountability and leadership

Way Forward

The crosscutting nature of the SDGs requires improved partnerships and increased cooperation and synergies within government and in relation to partners, including the private sector and academia. Going forward, it is important to identify a clear management structure and inter-sector coordination mechanism within Government for the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs. This includes strengthened cooperation between UBoS and other Ministries, Debarments and Agencies (clusters of inter-ministerial committees may enhance integration) and partners. It is important to ensure the commitment to strengthen the capacity of UBoS for evidence based decision making. On a regional and continental scale, exchange with other developing countries should be facilitated to learn from their experience (eg. through Regional Economic Communities). For a strong monitoring mechanism, capacity building needs to focus on administrative systems and labor division, leveraging data from the private sector and exploring big data for development (assistance through Pulse Lab Kampala).

Next Steps

Currently, UNDESA provides support to Uganda to strengthen the capacity for planning and implementation of the Post 2015 agenda, for energy modeling and environmental and economic accounting. For the near future, an additional project is planned to enhance multi-stakeholder engagement in the localization of the SDGs; to strengthen institutional arrangements; to strengthen the national capacity to monitor and report on SDG achievements; and to facilitate the sharing of good practices and experiences with other countries. In addition to UNDESA’s support, the Government of Uganda requested the UN to support and to facilitate the formation of an inclusive Post 2015 Task Force, while UN will develop a joint Post 2015 strategy.

UN Agencies in Uganda