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Uganda, 24 October 2013: Statement from the UN Resident Coordinator on United Nations Day

24 October 2013, Kampala, Uganda - The United Nations in Uganda today joins the rest of the World in commemorating the 68th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.

United Nations Day is devoted to making known to peoples of the World the aims and achievements of the United Nations and to gaining their support for its work (UN Resolution 168).

The aims of the United Nations are to keep peace throughout the world; to develop friendly relations between nations; to work together to help people live better lives, to eliminate poverty, disease and illiteracy in the world, to stop environmental destruction and to encourage respect for each other's rights and freedoms; and to be a centre for helping nations to achieve these aims

Uganda became a member of the United Nations 51 years ago. Since then 23 United Nations agencies, programmes and funds have operated in Uganda on a wide range of humanitarian and development issues. The UN contributed to the country’s health programmes through supporting immunization for children leading to reduction in the occurrence of especially polio and measles. The UN contributed to massive reduction in the HIV/AIDS prevalence through efforts by global funds and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), World Health Organization (WHO); and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) focusing mainly on prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

Education is a cornerstone of development, to which the UN has also made contribution at all levels; primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational as well as entrepreneurial skills development through UNICEF, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), ILO (International Labour Organisation) and United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). Furthermore, efforts have been made to support private sector development including support to agribusiness by UNDP, UNCDF, UNIDO, ILO and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development).

Over the years the UN made a deliberate effort to target the most disadvantaged Ugandans including women, the girl child, internally displaced persons, the poor and ethnic minorities providing humanitarian relief, livelihoods support and working on gender and human rights issues. It is for this reason that the UN focused on Karamoja and Northern Uganda in the past two decades through Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), WHO, UNDP, United Nations Entity for Gender, Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UNWOMEN), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UNICEF.

Although the Government over the years made commendable efforts with support from the UN, development partners, civil society organisations and other actors to address a number of development challenges, many of them need further attention.

As outlined in the recent report on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) high maternal and infant mortality, youth unemployment, gender inequality, , the quality of universal primary education, rapid population growth, environmental degradation, land disputes as well as inadequate energy supply have to be addressed in a concerted effort over the next years. Good governance, in particular strong institutions to ensure accountability, rule of law, respect of human rights and democracy are necessary elements that sustain human and sustainable development.

On the other hand, Uganda has opportunities that should be harnessed such as natural resources including petroleum, a young active population, and a massive agricultural potential among others for strengthening its economy, fighting poverty and achieving a more just distribution of resources and wealth, as well as an increased regional cooperation and trade.

The United Nations in Uganda remains committed to accompanying and supporting the Government in addressing development and governance challenges and harness opportunities.

During the next two years the United Nations in Uganda will focus on implementing the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) Action Plan 2013 – 2015. We will continue to focus on our areas of convergence of actions by as many UN agencies as possible and ‘game changers’ – interventions where the UN system agencies will work innovatively and collectively to make a significant difference; results that are attainable by 2015.

We will focus on the Ugandan mother and her young children who also constitute the most vulnerable population groups. We will focus on promoting youth engagement and employment. We will focus on gender equality , women empowerment and the elimination of gender based violence. We are committed to focusing on Northern Uganda a special area by supporting, Government efforts to rebuild and re-launch development in this sub-region after experiencing an over two decades lasting conflict, The UN is committed to contribute to the improvement of the sub-region’s low human development indicators compared with other parts of the country. . Therefore, the UN in Uganda is on its way to to operationalizing the key principles of UN Delivery as One (DaO), focusing on its five pillars of One Leader, One Programme, One House, One Voice and One Fund, in the region as a test case of what would be applicable to the entire country from 2015 on.

In the period leading to 2015, the UN will continue to work closely with the Government in preparing for the next National Development Plan (NDP), which the next UNDAF will be aligned to and complement.

Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie
UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative



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