The government of Uganda in partnership with the United Nations has launched the UN and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Awareness month, October 2020.
Speaking at the Uganda Media Centre on Tuesday, the Minister for General Duties Mary Karooro Okurut said that there are still many gaps including lack of awareness about the SDGs.
“Even those who are directly implementing the SDGs are not fully aware of the SDGs framework and the associated targets, indicators and how they have influenced planning for the country,” she said.
“This is why this SDGs awareness month is particularly important. It is also necessary for us to understand that even when October ends, we must continue to preach the necessary message and have everyone know their role in achieving the goals and act on them,” Okurut added.
The 17 SDGs were adopted by 193 UN member states in 2015. The goals are a part of the UN Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. The SDGs comprise a total of 169 targets which seek to tackle a wide range of issues facing both developed and developing countries.
These include poverty, inequality, climate change, inclusive societies and access to health and education.
Meanwhile, the UN Resident Coordinator, Rosa Malango revealed that this year, the UN will also mark her 75th anniversary.
“The celebration will scientifically run under the theme ‘the future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism’. The commemoration will be used to raise awareness about the 2030 agenda and the SDG goals,” she said.
Okurut added that the world is jointly going through an unprecedented time with the COVID-19 pandemic which backslid the country on many targets.
“The challenges have come with the crisis needing no elucidation. In adopting the sustainable SDGs, the world’s leaders were sending a powerful message to people in every village, city and nation, that they were committed to taking bold steps to change their lives for the better,” Okurut said.
She however noted that before Covid-19, the country had made some progress on many of the SDGs but there are still many gaps.
“Despite significant challenges, there is improvement in scores on health, gender, equality, decent work and economic growth, industry innovation and infrastructure and partnerships,” Okurut revealed.
Malango further said that while the crisis has set back some of the gains made, it has also created an opportunity to address its challenges as countries redefine their path to recovery, development and economic growth.
“As part of the UN commitment to support Uganda in developing, we have taken a decisive action to tackle COVID-19 and its impacts including sustainable programs in support of vulnerable persons including refugees, developing a social economic impact analysis of COVID to help inform future policies and working with Non-Government Organizations to identify new ways to support the inclusion of women and youth into programs, initiatives and policies,” she noted.
Over the past 75 years, the UN has lived up to its expectation of saving succeeding generations from the scourge of world wars that had twice caused untold sorrow.
“I would like to congratulate the UN on reaching the milestone of her 75th anniversary. This is significant because it is an opportunity to reflect on the role of the UN today and in Uganda particularly,” said Ambassador Isaac Sebulinde who represented the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The sustainable development solutions network which ranks 52 African countries based on 97 indicators across all 17 goals, places Uganda in the 18th place. Uganda receives an overall score of 54.88 (regional average of 52.7). The score shows that Uganda is more than 50% of the way towards achieving SDGs by 2030.