Voluntary National Review Report on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Submitted by on Thu, 09/10/2020 - 08:25


This is Uganda’s second Voluntary National Review (VNR) report. The first VNR was presented at the 2016 High Level Political Forum, where Uganda was among the pioneer 22 reporting countries. This report highlights the progress made in integrating and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the country’s development planning frameworks. It provides details of progress made in SDG implementation as well as accounting for policy, institutional and programmatic enablers, and successes and challenges encountered in delivering on each SDG. It affirms the importance of SDG implementation to the realization of Uganda’s Vision 2040 – the aspiration of transforming Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous society.

In preparing this review, the Government of Uganda (GoU) took on board the lessons learned during the preparation of the 2016 report. A key lesson was the need to strengthen the coordination framework, to ensure that all structures play their role in influencing the SDG implementation process. The consultative process for the VNR process during the Covid-19 pandemic offers several lessons. First, as opposed to traditional workshops that are by invitation, the online consultations elicited the participation of many more people and a greater diversity of stakeholders. Second, the consultative process was undertaken at a low cost compared with traditional approaches, easing resources to address other budget-constrained national processes. Third, more people, especially young people, who are ICT savvy, were ready to engage better than when invited to participate in physical engagements. These are some of the experiences the GoU plans to build on in advancing future consultative processes across sectors. However, Government is mindful of the fact that digital constraints placed some stakeholders at a disadvantage, especially those in rural areas who could not easily access online facilities.

Since the adoption of the SDGs, Government has implemented an inclusive process to ensure that the SDG agenda is owned by the people, starting with the national coordination arrangements. Institutional delivery on the SDGs is guided by a multi-stakeholder National SDG Coordination Framework, which was established in 2016 under the leadership of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). Anchored within the mainstream Government coordination arrangements, the Framework defines and delegates leadership roles and responsibilities for different aspects of coordinating implementation of the SDGs in Uganda. Over the years, this framework has undergone some reforms to enable the country to deliver better on the Agenda. To operationalize it, a costed national roadmap was prepared through a wide consultative process that included government, the private sector, civil society, the UN system and the wider development partner community. The roadmap was prepared to create an enabling framework for SDG implementation and to galvanize coherent support from different actors.

The second National Development Plan (NDPII), which has been the guiding framework for national development for the last five years, was 70 percent aligned to the SDGs. It places Uganda in a uniquely advantageous position to lead by example by adopting and localizing the SDGs. This includes implementing projects geared towards achievement of the SDGs, particularly those that fit within the current national development obligations, as well as East African Regional Integration and African Agenda 2063 development commitments.


At the time of adoption of the 2030 Agenda all Member States, including Uganda, pledged to ensure “no one will be left behind” and also pledged to “endeavor to reach the furthest behind first.” In practice what this statement enjoins all Member States to do is to act to; end extreme poverty, curb gender and regional inequalities, confront discrimination and fast-track progress to reach the furthest behind first. Leave No One Behind therefore emphasizes the critical distributional aspects of the global development agenda. The three mutually reinforcing “levers” identified as cornerstones that countries need to embrace include: 1) empower through civic engagement and voice; 2) enact through integrated, equity-focused SDG policies, interventions and budgets; and 3) examine, through use of disaggregated and people-driven data and information. This report demonstrates the significant milestones that Uganda has achieved in this regard.


On performance of Uganda on the SDGs, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) 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 (compared to the regional average of 52.7). The score shows that Uganda is more than 50 percent of the way towards achieving SDGs by 2030 (as indeed is the rest of the continent). Uganda is on track on some of the SDG 13 targets on climate action that is measured by the number of people affected by climate-related disasters; emissions of carbon dioxide (CO ) per capita that arise from the consumption of energy (at 0.1 tonnes CO /capita) and imports of CO emissions embodied in goods (at 0.2 tonnes CO /capita). For SDGs on poverty, hunger, education, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities, life on land and peace and justice Uganda’s performance are stagnating – meaning their scores on relevant indicators remains stagnant or is increasing at a rate below 50 percent of the growth rate needed to achieve the SDG by 2030.1 Despite significant challenges, there is improvement in scores on health, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, industry innovation and infrastructure and partnerships. However, the improvement is still below the rate needed to achieve the SDGs by 2030

This report builds on the 2016 readiness to now present a picture of the status and progress made on various indicators. There are several overarching areas and themes that Uganda will continue to pay close attention to in addition to the goal-specific actions that will be undertaken by various stakeholders. The overarching themes include:

  1. Stronger partnerships, coordination and collaboration;
  2. Deeper localization and popularization of the SDG agenda;
  3. Building a leadership culture for the SDG agenda at all levels;
  4. Promoting SDG-focused innovation by all the people in Uganda, especially young people;
  5. Focusing on Financing for SDGs – Harnessing Uganda’s Potential; and
  6. Strengthening Technology and Information Systems in SDG Reporting.


VNR Report_FINAL JULY 2020 (1).pdf