Thursday, September 4, 2014

UN and Uganda Government Align Priorities for Development

By Esther Nakkazi
SO, I, was invited for by the United Nations for a week long workshop (1-5 September) in Entebbe to participate in the formulation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), which constitutes the overall strategic framework guiding the assistance provided to a country by UN agencies.

If all players participate in the making of the UNDAF, there is government ownership, meaningful evaluation, clear theory of change, a dynamic transformational approach and alignment of priorities.

For the first time as was noted by the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Uganda, Ahunna Eziakonwa, the UN intended that the UNDAF this time would be a nationally-led process and all-inclusive with participation from not only the UN agencies, but also with participation from the Media, CSOs, field staff, youth and government.

“It is a moment that signifies that the government of Uganda and the UN are ‘Delivering as One’ on the priorities of Ugandans,” said Eziakonwa of the UNDAF process. Since Uganda uses the National Planning Authority (NPA) for long term planning, its staff at this meeting were key to assess the alignment between UNDAF and NDP II.

First of all, everything seemed bizarre to me. The terms, the process, the references to previous UNDAF meetings and I took a back seat soaking in everything and wondering about this laborious process. I just thought well I did know much about how the UN operates even if I had reported about its activities but I was here to learn. On the second day, stuff started sounding a bit familiar and the group discussions helped.

My whole role in the whole process, meanwhile, was to identify gaps and how the UN could close these gaps, what and how it using its comparative advantage for the benefit of the citizens and development. More importantly for me in this case, how the UN would enable or empower the media to achieve its set goals.

It is really important to note that a country needs to get the UN focus on governance, human capital and a sustainable economy. Also it would be important to leverage coordinated support – shifting from sector-focused planning to vision-focused planning, the former leads to a disconnect with the vision leading to results that are costly and untraceable to the vision.

While for vision-driven planning, the government and UN agree on the pathway to transformation and have a partnership arrangement and focus on structural and operational bottlenecks to define sector roles.

But most importantly, if a government and the UN work together they ‘Deliver as One (DaO)’ which reduces duplication of efforts; shifts funds from aid to development effectiveness and there is focus on development that empowers communities, local and central government agencies.  

I am still attending this meeting and will update this post with a take home message plus how the UN can work with the government for development.

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