Uganda’s movement towards effective development co-operation started in 1998 and consisted of three restructuring periods: the Poverty Reduction Strategies period (1998-2012), the National Development Plan (NDP) I period (2010-2014) and the National Development Plan (NDP) II period (2014-2019). These efforts culminated in the Uganda Vision 2040, which was envisioned in 2007 and launched in 2013, proposing a long-term plan on Uganda’s partnership and coordination structures.

The Povery Reduction Strategies period started with Uganda becoming one of the first recipients of international donor funding, receiving over 5 million dollars of direct budget financing. Eventually, viewpoints of the Government and donors diverged, shifting Uganda’s planning into a 10-year period. The NDP I and NDP II periods, as a result, were designed as part of Uganda’s 10 - Year National Development Plan (NDP), which set even longer term targets than before. Both NDPs were reviewed every 2-5 years to re-evaluate the public resource allocation and ensure strategic alignment between the two.[1]

The Uganda Vision 2040 provides an overarching strategic framework for all national development plans, defining the long-term programming and overall direction of the country’s development aspirations to become a “transformed Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country within 30 years”.[2] It builds on lessons learnt from past Ugandan development strategies and aims at reconciling analysis results, future plans and setting clear targets for all sectors on development goals as well as structuring Uganda’s goals to be reached by 2040.

With NDP II and the Uganda Vision 2040 set in place, to outline the country’s development and co-operation goals, in December 2016, at the Second High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC), Uganda began its tenure as one of the the Co-Chairs, bringing in its knowledge and advocating for effective development co-operation.

In 2017-2019, Uganda participated in the Global Partnership Country Pilot to enhance effectiveness at the country level. A total of nine country pilots were launched (Bangladesh, Cambodia, El Salvador, Georgia, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Uganda & Rwanda) aimed at demonstrating the positive impact of effective development co-operation and the achievement of national, regional and global development goals. The pilots provided guidance to partner country governments, as well as other development actors working at the country level, on good practices for implementing effectiveness commitments and overcoming setbacks by drawing on experienced-based evidence provided by the Partnership community. The evidence generated through the Global Partnership piloting exercise provided the basis for the Global Compendium of Good Practices.

The focus and design of the pilots varied from country to country, with Uganda focusing on evaluation and design of institutional arrangements for ensuring effective development cooperation and strengthening coordination mechanisms. Having made significant progress in reducing poverty in the past, Uganda set up a holistic strategic planning framework to systemize and coordinate all development efforts. The framework “Comprehensive National Development Planning Framework” (CNDPF, 2007), clearly demonstrates commitment to the four internationally-agreed principles for effective co-operation of ownership, focus on results, inclusive partnerships as well as transparency and accountability. Uganda’s Development Partnership Review: A Counrty Pilot Report, uses the four effectiveness principles to structure an analysis of national development plans by identifying good practices and challenge areas. This ultimately informed the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (one of the three main institutions related to coordinating external finance) to present the pilot report at the National Partnership Forum where all stakeholders can be consulted on developing a clear action plan, identifying the changes to policies and practices as well as organization(s) responsibilities and expected timelines. As a result, this led to effective institutional arrangements being a priority area for Uganda and account for effectiveness, accountability, inclusivity, and ownership of their sustainable development goals.

Based on the pilot conclusion, Uganda proposed the way forward:

  1. Introducing a strategic decision-making mechanism;
  2. Strengthening, formalising and delegating the accountability structures;
  3. Expanding the structures to include all stakeholders;
  4. Refreshing the key policies, and restarting aid/ development effectiveness, and use of country systems processes.

Uganda also participated in the Global Partnership’s Third Monitoring Round (2018). The Global Partnership monitoring provides evidence on progress in implementing effective development co-operation commitments at country, regional and global level and supporting accountability among all development partners. In 2018, 86 countries and territories participated in the monitoring exercise to track progress against ten effectiveness indicators to ensure that all development efforts are in line with the four internationally-agreed principles for effective co-operation.

The monitoring results indicate that the Ugandan strategies and frameworks are aligned with the Agenda 2030, with a rate of 69 % of the SDGs being anchored within the NDP. Defining priorities, targets and indicators, including budgeting or costing information and evaluating progress made on a regular basis are all components contributing to the final evaluation considering the frameworks as of high quality. Further, the development partners draw 86 % of their objectives from those country-led priorities, creating a high degree of ownership for the interventions.

Uganda is one example of many other country governments that consider the monitoring exercise a valuable instrument as they engage with development partners and others, and a basis for strengthening their national co-operation policies and multi-stakeholder co-ordination mechanisms.

[1] As an example of alignment, NDP II built upon NDP I “strengthening of Uganda’s economic foundation” shifting its focus to the future of economic and social growth and alighning it further with NDP II objective on “strengthening Uganda’s competitiveness for sustainable wealth creation, inclusive growth and employment.” 

[2] In 2007, Cabinet approved the National Vision Statement: “A Transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country within 30 years” http://www.npa.go.ug/uganda-vision-2040/