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Ugandan Media Engages with UN and Partners to Enhance SDG Progress Reporting


In a concerted effort to bolster the assessment of Uganda’s progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations Association of Uganda (UNAU), alongside its collaborators, convened a crucial consultation session with journalists. To integrate the invaluable perspective of the media into the forthcoming Voluntary National Review (VNR) Report, slated for presentation in July 2024 in New York.

Richard Baguma Tinkasimiire, the Secretary General of UNAU and a member of the Global Executive of the World Federation of the United Nations Associations, underscored the historical oversight of incorporating the media’s voice in such assessments, both domestically and internationally. “The media,” he emphasized, “plays an indispensable role in fostering sustainable development by raising awareness, fostering understanding, and sparking vital discussions at local and community levels.”

Baguma highlighted the media’s capacity to unearth obstacles hindering sustainable development, holding power-bearers accountable, and mobilizing public engagement towards SDG advancement. Integral to this endeavor is Goal 16, which champions the freedom of the press and communication—an area where media participation is pivotal.

Linda Asaba, UNAU’s programs coordinator, rallied media outlets to embrace their unique role as truth-tellers in society. She lamented the existing gaps and apathy within the media landscape, urging a more concerted effort towards SDG realization by 2030.

During the consultation, journalists outlined multifaceted challenges impeding their efficacy, including shrinking media space, rights violations, threats from authorities, and resource constraints. Moreover, commercial pressures often lead to prioritizing stories that attract higher viewership over those pertinent to sustainable development.

Despite these hurdles, Uganda has made significant strides towards SDGs, ranking 18th out of 52 African countries. However, challenges persist, with the country lagging behind in several SDGs, including poverty alleviation, gender equality, and climate action. Official data gaps further complicate the assessment process, with only 46.3% of SDG indicators backed by available data.

As Uganda navigates its developmental trajectory, the collaboration between UNAU and media stakeholders emerges as a beacon of hope, fostering a more inclusive and comprehensive approach towards SDG monitoring and achievement. With media engagement at its core, the nation strides closer towards a more sustainable and equitable future for all its citizens.

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