SDSN Uganda is a new network that has already established a collaborative relationship with the Government of Uganda’s SDGs Coordination Task Force in the Office of the Prime Minister. The Network attends all the SDG coordination meetings and will be assisting the government on reporting on the implementation of the SDGs in Uganda. The network is also in discussions with the UN Resident Coordinator’s office and UNDP Uganda to advise on the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for Uganda 2021-2025.
Moving forward, SDSN Uganda plans to focus on six thematic areas:
Agriculture is Uganda’s dominant economic activity, accounting for 22% of the GDP, 46% of export earnings and about 70% of employment. But agricultural productivity is very low and is largely rainfed, making it vulnerable to climate change. SDSN Uganda will work with sector actors to develop transformative pathways that foster sustainable and resilient agricultural systems to increase production, food security and incomes, and reduce poverty.
Good health is essential in facilitating socio-economic development. In Uganda, access to quality health services is a big challenge, and low-life expectancy, high infant mortality and high maternal mortality are still major issues. The country has a high prevalence of malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and non-communicable diseases are on the rise. SDSN Uganda will support the development of policies and practices that promote equitable access to affordable, accountable, appropriate and quality health services for all people in Uganda.
Natural resources management and ecosystem health: ecosystem and land degradation are widespread challenges in Uganda. The network seeks transformative approaches that will reduce forest, wetland, and water resource degradation, and foster achievement of environmental sustainability.
Renewable energy and energy efficiency: energy poverty is a challenge in Uganda. The main source of energy being traditional biomass, and access to electricity is only at 20%. SDSN Uganda will work with stakeholders to increase access to clean and affordable energy access in rural and urban areas. Evidence-based solutions for increasing renewable energy in the country’s energy mix (solar, wind, waste to energy etc.) and energy efficiency (efficient cookstoves, bulbs, other home appliances) will be sought.
Sustainable cities face huge challenges including poor spatial planning, slums, poverty, air and water quality, transport, flooding, and urban ecosystem degradation. Uganda is urbanizing at a fast pace, so SDSN Uganda will support integrated urban planning approaches that address economic, social and environmental sustainability.
Climate compatible development: Uganda is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. SDSN Uganda will support capacity building and transformative solutions for climate compatible development pathways. The network will engage in activities that increase climate change awareness and knowledge, generating research evidence and innovations, and inform climate smart policies and practices.
SDSN Uganda’s formal launch was planned for May 2020, but has been postponed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic and the lockdown in Uganda. The team is now focused on operationalizing the Secretariat at Makerere University, including designing a network website, establishing its governance structure, and starting an SDSN Youth chapter. The network will also prioritize monitoring of SDG implementation at subnational level and plans to conduct a survey on the likely impact of COVID-19 on SDG achievement in Uganda.