COVID-19 | SDGs | NAMONDO
KAMPALA - Uganda has made remarkable progress in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), having been one of the first countries to integrate them into the national frameworks.
The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
The UN Uganda Resident Coordinator Susan Ngongi Namondo, says the new National Development Plan III (NDPIII) whose goal is to increase average household incomes and improve the quality of life of Ugandans is well aligned with the SDGs.
She says as the new Parish Development Model is introduced to improve household incomes and put 39% of Uganda’s population currently in the subsistence economy into the money economy, the UN is looking at general areas for partnership with government on its implementation.
“The Parish Model Approach aligns with the central, transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs accelerators of 'leave no one behind' and 'reaching those furthest behind' especially women, girls and youth,” Namondo said at the launch of two reports, one on Teenage Pregnancy, and the other, on The State of World Population on March 12, 2022, in Kampala.
“We are aware of the major socio-economic impact of the COVID -19 globally, at national, sub-national, household and individual level. The devastating impact of the pandemic on our young girls cannot be overemphasized especially recognizing that Uganda had schools locked down for two years,” she said.
A total of 354,736 teenage pregnancies were registered in 2020, and 196,499 in the first six months of 2021, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) shows.
“We also noted an escalation in gender based violence as a result of many households losing their sources of livelihood.”
Namondo explains globally, Uganda inclusive, households were not prepared to resist such shocks.
“The results are now seen among our young population - the girl child. This impact is likely to erode the progress that had been made and delay the achievement of Goals 3, 4 and 5 of the SDGs,” she said.
The goals focused on good health and well-being, quality education, and achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls respectively.
UN Uganda Resident Coordinator says the issues of sexual reproductive health and rights are at the centre of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Programme of Action.
In 2019 at the ICPD25 Nairobi Summit dubbed “Accelerating the Promise”, countries committed to invest in specific areas to accelerate the implementation of the ICPD@25 promise.
It included among others the commitment to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights as a part of universal health coverage.
The other commitment is to ensure access for all adolescents and youth, especially girls, to comprehensive and age-responsive information, education, and adolescent-friendly comprehensive, quality and timely services, to make free and informed decisions and choices about their sexuality and reproductive lives.
In return, they are able to adequately protect themselves from unintended pregnancies, all forms of sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, and facilitate a safe transition into adulthood.
The UN System in Uganda, is responding by empowering adolescents and youth to unleash their full potential in transforming Uganda into an inclusive society where people have improved quality of life and resilience.
Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world, with 75% aged below 30.
Uganda has prioritized investment in young people as a key game changer to harness the Demographic Dividend through investing in their education, health, skills development and job creation, sexual reproductive health and rights information and services including family planning and good governance.
The UN is also contributing to parish community information systems and supporting quality data generation through strengthening systems.
The centrality of data and statistics is vital to ensure evidence-informed policies, plans and budgets as well as to ensure that no body is left behind.
The UN system also focuses on emergence preparedness and response coordination outside the refugee response areas, in areas prone to national disasters such as floods and landslides.
The UN system is also contributing to addressing Gender Inequality and Gender Based Violence through the Spotlight Initiative, Joint Programme on Gender Based Violence, Joint Programme to end Child Marriages, Joint programme to end Female Genital Mutilation, which is all aimed at addressing social norm change and empowering women and girls.
“Unless we complete the unfinished business of the ICPD Programme of Action and realize the strong and evidence-based investment case for ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, and for girls’ and women’s empowerment and gender equality, reaching the ambitious SDGs by 2030 will be difficult, if not impossible,” Namondo said.