The Strategy and Policy Advise Unit(SPU) serves as the policy wing of the Uganda Country Office. It advises the Programme team on the strategic implications of changes in government policies, especially with regard to issues concerning Uganda’s socioeconomic development.
The unit also advises the UN Resident Coordinator on relevant policy issues and provides support to the UN Country Team in Uganda in the design, production and monitoring of key strategic documents within the UN system, namely the CCA and the UNDAF. In implementing its activities, SPU works together with its national counterparts in government, the Ugandan academic and research communities, civil society organizations and other development partners to raise awareness of the development challenges Uganda faces in eradicating poverty and attaining the MDGs, and identify strategies that contribute to inclusive growth and sustainable human development.
To achieve these goals, the Strategy and Policy Unit focuses its work on three main areas:
- informing with analytical inputs national debates on Uganda’s socioeconomic development;
- strengthening national capacities to undertake and use evidence-based policy research;
- and promoting national policy dialogue on issues relevant to Uganda’s socioeconomic development.
In addition, SPU also supports efforts within government and the UN Country Team in Uganda to improve aid coordination and effectiveness in the country.
Three main themes crosscut the Unit’s activities:
- The MDGs,
- Human development,
- Aid effectiveness.
Over the years, the work undertaken in these areas has enabled SPU to support several key national policy initiatives. These include the formulation of the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP), the 2007 and 2010 Uganda MDG progress reports, the National Human Development Report (NHDR) of 2007 and, more recently the National Development Plan (NDP), 2010/11-2014/15. In the past, this support has led to the development, delivery and mainstreaming of specific policy-related instruments, services and advocacy tools, in collaboration with the Unit’s national counterparts, and with the support of both national and international partners.
Critical to the Unit’s policy-related work, are its strong working relationships with its main national counterparts, including the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the National Planning Authority (NPA) and Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), as well as various other centres of excellence in the country. The SPU also maintains strong ties with leading international development research institutions, such as the PEP-Network at the University of Laval, in Canada, and, within the UN system, with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN-DESA. It also benefits from the expertise and continued support provided by UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA) and its network of economic policy advisors.
Monitoring Progress on MDGs
UNDP plays a lead role in monitoring poverty and the MDGs in Uganda, coordinating, among other things, the production of national MDGs progress reports, which constitute an important advocacy tool providing the latest information on the status of the MDGs in the country. This work is undertaken in close collaboration with other UN agencies and government counterparts, and typically involves engaging national researchers, civil society actors and other relevant stakeholders.
In support of this work, we regularly undertakes and facilitates policy research activities with national counterparts aimed at shedding light on the challenges that Uganda faces in achieving its MDGs by 2015, and at identifying strategies that can contribute to the sustainable attainment of these goals. In the past, this work has led to policy research in areas such as MDG financing, the acceleration of maternal health goals and poverty incidence measurement in Uganda.
In an effort to bring light to the situation of the MDGs at the local level, UNDP is currently in the process of producing the next 2013 Uganda national MDG progress report, which will shed light on the status of the MDGs in the country and also present Uganda’s position on the Post 2015 new international development agenda debate.
We are also working in partnership with UN-DESA and the Ugandan Ministry of Finance to adapt to the Ugandan context of the MAMS (Maquette for MDG Simulations) model, an economy-wide modelling framework centred on MDG analysis and simulations. This model will provide the Government and Ugandan researchers with a powerful analytical tool with which to better understand the status of the MDGs in the country, and gain in-depth knowledge of the main drivers of development and socioeconomic transformation that impinge on the achievement of the MDGs in Uganda.
UNDP is promoting the teaching of Human Development (HD) paradigm through introduction of a course in some universities in the country. This is creating a wealth of Ugandans who are familiar with HD concepts and philosophy.
The four universities that are involved are Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), Uganda Martyrs University, Nkumba University and Ndejje University. Four lecturers have been sponsored to attend HD training in Oxford University. This team will in turn become trainers for many other university staff that UNDP was not able to sponsor. A national training on HD to university staff will be held to ensure more lecturers benefit from the knowledge their colleagues gained in Oxford.
HD is a development paradigm that is about much more than the rise and fall of national incomes. It is about creating an environment in which people can develop their full potential and lead productive, creative lives in accordance with their needs and interests. Development is thus about expanding the choices people have to lead lives that they value. It is much more than economic growth, which is only a means of enlarging people’s choices.
Fundamental to enlarging these choices is building human capabilities - the range of things that people can do or be in life. The most basic capabilities for human development are to lead long and healthy lives, to be knowledgeable, to have access to the resources needed for a decent standard of living and to be able to participate in the life of the community.
Every two years, UNDP’s global office produces a global report on Human Development that focuses on topical global issues. At the national level, UNDP’s Uganda office produces a National Human Development Report (NHDR). This is the flagship report of the Office as well as a major policy and advocacy tool of the UNDP country office. It also serves an important reference material on emerging and substantive development issues in the country. The Report has raised public awareness. Previous NHDRs have addressed the important issues such as HIV/AIDS. The 2005 Report focused on the Human Development and Environment and the 2007 report focused on Rural Development and Agriculture.
- Enabled the formulation of the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP).
- Produced the Uganda MDG Progress Reports for 2007 and 2010.
- Produced the National Human Development Report of 2007.
- Helped formulate the National Development Plan 2010/2011 to 2014/2015.
- Made policy research to assess the impact of Government’s Universal Primary Education (UPE) policy of 1997.