German International Cooperation (GIZ) provided support to the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) to train its staff on how to incorporate SDGs in their human rights work. The training which was held on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th February 2019 was attended by the UHRC Head office staff based in Kampala. The Kampala trainings followed those earlier held upcountry for the UHRC staff based at its regional offices located across the country.
The training that targeted various levels of staff was divided into two clusters with each being handled on a separate day. The trainings on both days were held at Grand Imperial Hotel, Kampala and were officially opened by the Director Research, Education and Documentation (RED) Byonabye Kamadi on behalf of the Secretary to the Commission Patrick Mabiiho Nyakaana.
“The Chairperson (Mr. Med Kaggwa) wants everybody in the Commission to have training in Human Rights so that each one of you gets an idea of what human rights are about. Whether you are a driver, an accountant or something else, as long as you work in the Commission you must know what human rights are about because the people out there believe that whoever works in the Commission is a human rights officer who can adequately advise them on human rights issues,” Mr. Kamadi said.
He also said the training was an opportunity for the staff to get an understanding of the linkage between human rights and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He expressed optimism that the current trainings in Kampala targeting Head office staff had enabled the Commission to realize training for 99 per cent of its staff given that similar trainings had earlier been conducted for staff at the UHRC regional offices. The Director lauded GIZ for its support to UHRC and particularly towards the series of trainings on SDGs. Mr Kamadi also recognized the tremendous job by the Commission Secretary Mr. Nyakaana in ensuring that all the trainings on SDGs happen, in spite of the short notice.
The Head of Project- Strengthening Human Rights in GIZ, Esther Soma in her remarks said GIZ is involved in funding a lot of projects like infrastructure, human rights, water, climate change and good governance in Uganda. She however revealed that GIZ has over the years also specifically focused on strengthening selected UHRC Regional Offices.
“The UN General Assembly passed the SDGS and set the agenda 2030 for promoting them and Uganda is one of the 193 countries which signed and later ratified the SDGS through its parliament. Human Rights actors have an important role to play in ensuring that governments do not just talk about SDGS. Human rights actors need to monitor progress on the realization of SDGS to enable us gauge how well governments are faring on their commitments,” Soma said.
She said UHRC as the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) in Uganda has a watchdog role to play in the implementation of SDGs and Agenda 2030. She said the theme of the SDGs is ‘leave no one behind’ so the world wants to ensure that no one is being left behind. She said the Sustainable Development Goals were launched in 2015 after the Millennium Development Goals had come to an end.
The facilitators at the workshop included Mr. Kamadi who handled the two topics namely the background to Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights and the right to Development; Mr. Aaron Birimbo the Human Resource Manager who handled Development planning – the Uganda case and Ms. Ida Nakiganda the Director Complaints, Investigation and Legal Services (CILS) who handled the topic on Understanding SDGs and their targets. Other facilitators during the trainings were; Soma the GIZ representative who handled the topic on the link between SDGs and human rights and UHRC Principal Human Rights Officer Central Regional office, Willy Agirembabazi who handled the topic on Monitoring and Reporting on SDGs.
Ms. Nakiganda expounded on the 17 goals, 169 targets and 304 indicators under the SDGs which she said are aimed at reducing inequalities within and among countries. She also explained the SDGS implementation structure.
Soma on the other hand, while linking SDGS with Human rights pointed out that the process of implementation and reporting is done at different levels. She said in Uganda for instance while the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has the mandate to coordinate the implementation of the SDGs and Agenda 2030, the National Planning Authority has the mandate to coordinate all development plans and ensuring that SDGS are incorporated therein and the UHRC is a member of one of the implementation committees.
The SDGs are a universal call for action to end poverty, protect the world and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. They act as a guide to help countries to make the right choices today in order to improve life in a sustainable way for the future generation. SDGs also offer clear guidelines and targets for all countries to adopt in accordance with their priorities and the environmental challenges of the world at large.