We All Should Have an Idea about Sustainable Development Goals

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By Alex Kamukama

Many people talk about
national issues with a lot of passion and some actually speak as if they are
authorities on these issues yet they don’t base their talk on facts or true
knowledge.

We all should take it
upon ourselves to read national policies, guidelines and any form of
documentation that is disseminated for purposes of creating awareness about a
national issue, then only can we effectively inform our friends, families, and community
members on issues of national development.

The Constitution of Uganda
spells out the duties of a Citizen, and today I shall highlight one of them
which states that “it shall be the duty of every citizen, to contribute to the
well-being of the community where that citizen lives.”  It is almost impossible to accomplish this
duty without efficient knowledge about issues that are instrumental to the
National Development agenda.

In my endeavor to write
this article, I interviewed about 100 people who work and study at Kampala International
University (KIU) and the neighboring communities if they knew about the
sustainable development goals.  The
objective of the inquiry was to help me understand whether or not my fellow
citizens understand these goals and how they relate to the National Development
Agenda.  To my surprise, very few even
had an idea about what I was referring to.  If I did this as a national survey, am sure I
would avail sufficient data and a justification for the need for information
dissemination about such important issues. 
 My general recommendation is that
a lot more awareness is needed among the general population about the issue of
sustainable development.

The new global
development agenda was agreed upon by all 193 member states and was formally
approved by the UN General Assembly 25-27 September 2015. Through the 2030 agenda,
member states commit to a sustainable development process that benefits all
people by eradicating extreme poverty and ensuring a life in dignity for all.

Uganda
actively pursued the sustainable development agenda since the early 90’s when
it gained ascendancy as a development paradigm. This pursuit has unfolded in
three distinct transition phases: post war reconstruction (1986 – 1997);
poverty eradication (1997 – 2009); and social economic transformation (2010
-2020).

Nearly
three decades on from the first United Nations conference on Sustainable
Development in 1992, Uganda remains steady in its commitment to sustainable
development. Results from the 2014 National Population and Housing Census
reconfirm that this commitment is yielding desirable results. Between 1991 and
2014, life expectancy rose from 48.1 to 63.3 years; infant and under-five
mortality rates dropped from 122 and 203 deaths per 1,000 live births to 53 and
80 respectively; orphan hood levels dropped from 11.6 to 8.0 percent; literacy
levels rose from 54.0 to 72.2 percent; income poverty declined from 56 to 19
percent; access to electricity – a factor that impacts heavily on the
environment in Uganda – increased from 5.6 to 20.4 percent; and the proportion
of the national budget that is funded from domestic sources has increased, from
64.7 percent (FY 1991/92) to 82 percent (FY 2014/15).

Despite
the above progress, Uganda still has significant room for improvement in the
sustainable development agenda. The economy is still heavily reliant on natural
resources and agriculture; the current demographic structure implies a high
dependency ratio and low domestic savings; there is continued pressure on the
forest cover because of limited access to modern forms of energy; inequality
though falling remains high; vulnerability among different segments of the
population is also still significant; and the economy remains in need of deeper
and broader economic integration, especially at regional level.

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