- July 4, 2022
- Posted by: Mariam Kasemiire
- Category: Uncategorized
The realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been undermined by severe financing constraints facing developing countries. This has been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. According to Dr. Faustin Gasheja, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Project Manager, Africa, the key to achieving the SDGs, besides preserving peace and lowering geopolitical tensions, is having a plan to finance them. Disseminating the Global SDG report 2022 at the SDSN Uganda Consultation meeting held at Golden Tulip Canaan Hotel in Kampala on 30th June 2022, Dr. Gasheja outlined six investment priorities which require major transformation if the SDGS are to be achieved. These include; 1) Education and social protection to achieve universal secondary education (SDG 4) and poverty reduction (SDG 1); 2) Health systems to end the pandemic and to achieve Universal Health Coverage (SDG 3); 3) Zero-carbon energy and circular economy to decarbonize and slash pollution (SDG 7, SDG 12, SDG 13); 4) Sustainable food, land use, and protection of biodiversity and ecosystems (SDG 2, SDG 13, SDG 15); 5) Sustainable urban infrastructure, including housing, public transport, water, and sewerage (SDG 11); and 6) Universal digital services (SDG 9) to support all other SDG investments, including online education, telemedicine, e-payments, e-financing, and e-government services.
In his presentation, Dr. Gasheja noted that multiple health and security crises, amplified by the climate and biodiversity crises, were putting the sustainable development agenda at risk. “As the SDG Index highlights, since 2019 these crises have halted progress on sustainable development worldwide,” he noted. The SDG Index is an assessment of each country’s overall performance on the 17 SDGs, giving equal weight to each Goal. The score signifies a country’s position between the worst possible outcome (score of 0) and the target (score of 100).
According to the Global SDG report 2022, Sub-Saharan African countries stagnated in achieving the 17 SDGs with Uganda ranked at 136.
Stakeholders Consultation Meeting
The SDSN Uganda workshop convened by Dr. Revocatus Twinomuhangi, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography, Geo-Informatics & Climatic Sciences at Makerere University, and Coordinator of the Makerere University Centre for Climate Change Research and Innovation (MUCCRI) was intended to consult stakeholders on the preparation of the Sustainable Development Report (SDR) for Makerere University, disseminate the 2022 SDG report, with specific focus on Africa region and Uganda’s progress on achieving the SDGs, and discuss the operationalization of SDSN youth network in Uganda. SDSN Uganda is led by Dr. Twinomuhangi and is hosted by the MUCCRI at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). The Network was formally launched at Makerere University on 21st April 2021. The major aim of the network is to mobilize state and non-state actors to identify and implement transformative solutions to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Role of Universities in achieving the SDGs
With their unique role in creating and sharing knowledge, universities have a direct role in addressing the challenges set out in transforming the world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Makerere University in particular recognizes that it is an integral part of society, and as such is a significant contributor to the positive shaping and evolution of the world. Through its strategic plan, Makerere University is committed to the values of sustainable national development and is fully aware that its activities can produce significant impact. Through its core roles of teaching and learning, research, and community engagement, Makerere University is playing a leading role in the achievement of SDGs.
The Makerere University Sustainable Development Report (SDR)
The SDR will therefore document the university’s contribution to the achievement of SDGs, increase its visibility, but also identify gaps to be addressed to foster sustainability.
The report will articulate the philosophical position on sustainable development across research, teaching and operations. It will take stock of evidence based on knowledge, solutions, innovations, technologies and pathways supporting the implementation of SDGs; identify gaps, successes and opportunities for learning and increasing impact on sustainable development; and foster internal and external stakeholder collaboration and mobilization in support, resources and partnerships for realizing sustainable development.
According to Dr. Twinomuhangi, key issues to be assessed will include the relevance and contribution of the university curricula to the achievement of SDGs, the contribution the University research projects toward the realization of the SDGs, and the sustainability of the University operations with regard to SDGs. The research will take a qualitative and quantitative approach using case studies form Colleges, deeply analysing research projects and publication metrics. “As a University, Makerere is committed to the values of sustainable national development and is fully aware that its activities can produce significant impact. The University curricula should therefore be aligned to SDGs and all research projects should contribute to the achievement of SDGs,” Dr. Twinomuhangi explained.
Participants called for midterm evaluation of the performance of SDGs, and sustainability reports. They advised that the report should also focus on mindset change in terms of employment. “Graduates should be in position to create their own jobs instead of focusing on and waiting for white collar jobs.”
Participants included representatives from Makerere University, Kyambogo University, Uganda Management Institute, Office of the Prime Minister and the SDSN Uganda Youth Network.
During the meeting, Mr. Hakim Sseviri presented the progress of the SDSN Uganda Youth Network, highlighting its operations and benefits. The Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth Initiative (SDSN Youth) was established in 2015 to train and equip young leaders with the knowledge and resources to build a more sustainable future. SDSN Youth has 185 team members from over 35 countries and leads both global and local initiatives. The global initiatives cover a number of sectors, such as sustainable education for K-12, sustainable communities and entrepreneurship. Each programme follows the three-step theory of change. The local initiatives, regional and national networks, cover 20 jurisdictions in various continents. Each Regional/National Youth Network focuses on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) locally.
About the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) was launched in 2012 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mobilize global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical problem solving for sustainable development and implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Following their adoption, SDSN is now committed to supporting the implementation of the SDGs at national and international levels. SDSN aims to accelerate joint learning and help to overcome the separation of technical and policy work by promoting integrated approaches to the interconnected economic, social, and environmental challenges confronting the world. SDSN works closely with United Nations agencies, multilateral financing institutions, the private sector, and civil society. The organization and governance of SDSN enables leaders from all regions to participate in the development of the network, while at the same time ensuring effective structures for decision making and accountability.
About SDSN Uganda
The SDSN Uganda National Network was approved by the Networks Strategy Council of the UN SDSN – Nov. 2019. Makerere University was appointed to host the national network. Launched in April 2021, the Network is coordinated under College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University and the Secretariat is in Makerere University Centre for Climate Change Research and Innovations (MUCCRI). The Network aims to mobilize universities, research and knowledge centres, civil society, private sector, communities and special interest groups to identify and implement transformative solutions to achieve the 2030 sustainable development agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change in Uganda and the East African region. Objectives include; building awareness and knowledge on SDGs, including supporting high-quality, free, online education via the SDG Academy and short term trainings; researching on sustainable development solutions; building partnership and conducting multi-stakeholder dialogues; supporting dialogues and providing advice to policy and decision-makers; and supporting a vibrant SDSN Youth Network in Uganda.
Please see below for the presentations made at the Meeting