The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Uganda has donated three vehicles and 28 motorcycles, together worth USD 204,700 (about Shs 751,100,000), to the Government of Uganda to aid the development of Karamoja area especially the districts of Amudat, Moroto, Kabong and Kotido bordering West Pokot and Turkana of Kenya.
Three vehicles- One Toyota Land Cruiser SUV; a Toyota Hardbody single-cabin pickup; and a Toyota Hardbody ambulance and 28 motorcycles were received by Hon. Eng. John Byabagambi, the Minister for Karamoja Affairs, today morning at UNDP offices in Kampala.
The donation is part of UNDP’s USD 1 million (about Ug. Shs 3.7 billion) contribution to the Kenya-Uganda Cross-Border Integrated Programme for Sustainable Peace and Socio-Economic Transformation for the Karamoja Cluster which was launched in September 2019 by His Excellency, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda and His Excellency, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.
The programme seeks to accord communities on both sides of the border with opportunities to strengthen cooperation and peaceful coexistence, bridge isolation gaps to improve their livelihood and socio-economic conditions for sustaining peace and development. It also seeks to address common challenges the Karamoja cluster faces such as drought and climate change, vulnerabilities such as insecurity, food scarcity and conflicts. It also seeks to bring to life Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to the elimination of poverty (SDG 1), the eradication of hunger (SDG 2), gender equality (SDG 5) and the promotion of peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16).
While receiving the offer, Hon. Byabagambi commended UNDP for honouring its obligations under the Cross-Border Integrated Programme for Sustainable Peace and Development.
“This support builds on your earlier funding for the Joint Work Plan priorities of the two countries under the MoU signed in 2019 and will enable effective coordination of security operations across the border and ease national coordination of programme activities,” he said.
The Minister added that, the donation of an ambulance is very timely and will be very helpful in the district of Amudat in wake of COVID-19 especially with the 3 cases that were confirmed on June 1st, 2020.
“The ambulance will be used to respond to medical emergencies by the medical services in Karamoja region, including boosting the referral system, Karamoja being one of the most remote regions with worst health indicators.”
The Minister added, “While none of us anticipated COVID-19 during the design of the programme, these ambulances will also boost preparedness and response to the pandemic in these districts especially Amudat.”
On her part, Ms. Elsie Attafuah, the UNDP Resident Representative in Uganda, said the donation presents an opportunity to promote peace, transform and strengthen the resilience of the area to crises and shocks and address other development bottlenecks.
“In the wake of increased insecurity and disasters in the region, the equipment being handed over is intended to boost the conflict early warning and response as well as coordination of interventions for a more peaceful Karamoja,” Ms. Attafuah said, adding, “This being a COVID-19 era, the border patrol vehicle will be useful in reinforcing the three patrol vehicles procured by UNDP in 2018 to support border patrol and surveillance, and enhance security coordination for Karamoja’s porous borders through equipping of authorities to better respond to insecurity incidents.”
She added that, the donation is in line with the UNDP offer for Africa to promote regional integration as well as “boost the implementation of Africa’s transformative agenda for a stable, inclusive and sustainable regional integration that underscores the need for cross-border programming.”
Ms. Attafuah also underscored the importance of cross-border programming, saying, “The raging COVID-19 pandemic has just taught us how close and interconnected we are as communities and the need for transboundary coordination of responses to development challenges and how what affects your neighbour equally affects you.”
“This equipment was requested for and prioritized by Government of Uganda under the 2019 workplan for the cross-border programme and UNDP is glad to deliver on that commitment,” she added.
UNDP’s contribution to the programme includes provision of USD 1 million through UNDP Uganda and UNDP Kenya for funding the Joint Work Plan priorities of the two countries under the MoU for 2019.
UNDP Uganda also procured 308 communication gadgets that were distributed to Peace Committees during the launch in Moroto in September 2019.