UNDP host NORAD Visit to Uganda
March 22, 2023
A delegation from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), represented by Senior Advisors Ms. Tale Kvalvaag and Mr. Stein Erik Horjen, visited Uganda to deepen understanding of how the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) utilizes core resources to accompany countries like Uganda to implement national development priorities.
Given Norway is one of the core donors of UNDP and the larger United Nations (UN) system, the delegation sought to observe how UNDP supports the Government of Uganda, how UNDP is supporting locally led development in partnership with various stakeholders, what impact and results are being realized, and how opportunities for scaling up development interventions are being leveraged.
UNDP’s contribution to Uganda is articulated in UNDP’s Country Programme 2021-2025, premised on partnerships and development cooperation, and aligned to support national efforts to realize Uganda’s third National Development Plan (NDP III) 2020-2025. The Country Programme focuses on three pillars of Inclusive and Sustainable Growth; Nature, Climate, Energy and Resilience; and Governance and Peace, as well as two enablers of Digitalization, Innovation and Smart Cities; and SDG Integration and Acceleration.
Governance and Peace
Masaka High Court and Prison was the first port of call for the NORAD delegation, one of several public institutions throughout the country where UNDP and the Judiciary of Uganda have implemented e-justice solutions to improve access and administration of justice, increase cooperation between legal authorities, enhance efficiency of the justice system, and improve accountability in the administration of law and dispensation of justice. The rollout of video conferencing systems in the districts of Masaka, Mubende, Mbale, Gulu and Jinja has resulted in streamlined court proceedings, reduced case backlog, reduced transport costs, reduced security risks associated with physical transfer of inmates, while empowering witnesses and victims of crime to give statements remotely.
UNDP’s partnership with the Judiciary of Uganda is strengthening governance infrastructure, institutionalizing e-governance systems and championing Uganda’s digital transformation, all geared to enhancing the effective delivery of public services for the people of Uganda.
Climate and Energy
The NORAD delegation also visited Bukomero Health Centre IV, one of 24 health centres across the country where energy access has been enhanced through installation of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems to improve healthcare delivery, enhance COVID-19 vaccination efforts, increase ability of workers to manage emergency situations, while contributing to Uganda’s renewable energy transition. Given only 16.9% of rural Uganda has access to electricity, this initiative has already proven lifesaving, with reliable energy access powering emergency cesarean surgery and baby incubators resulting in reduced infant mortality rates.
In partnership with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, and World Health Organization (WHO), UNDP has implemented this initiative in line with Uganda’s ambitious climate change mitigation efforts outlined in the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 24.7% by the year 2030.
"What we are seeing at Masaka Court and Prison is a scalable e-governance solution that is transforming access and administration of justice in Uganda. This is also championing the country's digital transformation agenda,” said UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Elsie Attafuah. “Similarly, the solar energy solution at Bukomero Health Centre IV is not only transforming healthcare delivery but also setting a precedent for Uganda's renewable energy transition. I'm very glad that the team from NORAD could come and appreciate the impact of UNDP on the ground."
Inclusive Economic Growth
The NORAD delegation had the opportunity to engage with a number of UNDP’s youth private sector partners, as well as members of Uganda’s National Youth Council, through a Youth Innovation Expo. The event showcased a broad range of innovative and sustainable products and services designed by the youth of Uganda, providing a backdrop to discuss the role of young people in driving Uganda’s development agenda.
Uganda has one of the youngest and most rapidly growing populations in the world, with 78% of the population aged 30 years or below. Meanwhile, more than 700,000 young people enter Uganda’s job market each year to compete for fewer than 250,000 jobs, creating a national youth unemployment challenge. Through the support of core partners such as Norway, UNDP has responded to this youth unemployment challenge by equipping youth with vocational skills, increasing competitiveness of youth within the labor market, building capacities of national institutions to mainstream youth employment, and supporting youth-led enterprises to pilot innovative ideas.
"We have been delighted to host the team from NORAD here in Uganda and to showcase some of the transformational development solutions that UNDP and partners are delivering for the people of Uganda,” said UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Elsie Attafuah. “This mission has highlighted the value of core support from development partners such as Norway to enable UNDP and partners to work together effectively, respond to pressing development challenges, and to create transformational solutions for the people and communities whom UNDP serve."
NORAD’s visit to Uganda was accompanied by the UNDP Country Office and the Norwegian Embassy in Kampala, led by UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Elsie Attafuah and Norway’s Ambassador to Uganda H.E. Elin Østebø Johansen. The visit also involved bilateral engagements with the UN Country Team, led by UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Susan Ngongi Namondo and comprising 29 agencies delivering as one in support of Uganda, as well as Government of Uganda senior officials and civil society partners.
The delegation had the opportunity to meet with the Minister for General Duties and Focal Point Minister for SDGs Hon. Justine Kasule Lumumba, Ministry of Tourism Permanent Secretary Ms. Doreen Katusiime, National Planning Authority Chairperson Dr. Pamela Mbabazi, Uganda Tourism Board CEO Ms. Lilly Ajarova, as well as representatives from various Government Ministries. In addition to discussions held with implementing partners under the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls, as well as members of the Uganda Women’s Situation Room, the visit has painted a clear picture of how UNDP collaborates with a broad range of partners to implement national development priorities.
“Norway believes in flexible funding and multilateral engagement and provides core support to the UN system,” said Norway’s Ambassador to Uganda H.E. Elin Østebø Johansen. “The visit by the Norwegian delegation to UNDP in Uganda looked at partnerships and achievements that our support has contributed to. With our support, Norway has enabled UNDP to build strong partnerships to ensure that we leave no one behind as Uganda works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
UNDP has over the last 50 years been supporting the Government of Uganda to achieve sustainable development, create opportunities for empowerment, protect the environment, minimize natural and man-made disasters, build strategic partnerships, and improve the quality of life for all citizens. UNDP’s contribution to Uganda could not be possible without the core support of partners such as Norway. It is through partnerships with such development partners as well as the Government of Uganda, private sector, civil society, academic institutions, cultural institutions and the people of Uganda that UNDP is able to implement transformational solutions and accelerate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
UNDP looks forward to deepening collaboration and partnership with Norway in the areas of climate action, energy transition, governance and peace, and empowerment of women, youth, refugees and vulnerable communities.