Promoting a human rights –based approach to the National Development Planning

A nation-wide consultations process to inform the second National Development Plan (NDPII) was launched on 19th May 2014 at a training workshop in Entebbe by the National Planning Authority (NPA) targeting district chief administrators and planners to discuss the development issues that Local Governments would like to see addressed in the NDPII.

The main objective of the training workshops is to equip Sector and Local Government [planning] technical officers and district community development officers, with practical skills to apply Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) to development planning of Sector, Ministry and Local government plans. There is increasing recognition from policymakers and planners of the need to put people at the centre of the concept of national planning to improve effectiveness and outcomes. A human rights-based approach does just this, and in order to emphasize the central role of local governments in the development of the second National Development Plan – which is in line with Uganda Vision 2040, the National Planning Authority has planned a series of consultative training workshops in partnership with development partners.

The consultations are organized by the National Planning Authority (NPA) with financial and technical support from the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC). The consultations present an opportunity to discuss and disseminate the new Local Government Development Planning Guidelines.

Convincing local governments to treat planning not only as a development issue but also as a human rights issue is a tall order. It demands strong political commitment and an enlightened leadership. “The consultations are important because planning needs to become part of the wealth creation process at the local government,” said Dr. Joseph Muvawala, Executive Director; National Planning Authority at a training workshop in Jinja Monday 19th May 2014.

He called on the district administrators and planners to develop plans to ensure their input is reflected in the issue papers that will be shared with the NPA. The consultations were also meant to help them gather the views of local governments on the priorities that should feature in the NDP II.

Acting Chairman, National Development Authority (NPA) Dr. Abel Rwendeire echoed this at one of the regional consultative workshops, 26th May 2014 at Hotel Paradise [in Jinja] to inform the national development Plan (NDP II), and training on mainstreaming human rights issues and other cross-cutting issues into plans, saying that “consultations with all 16 sectors of Government on development issues for the NDPII was highly valuable to the NDP II drafting process”

Since September 2013, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) planned a series of training workshops targeted at both local government technocrats, and policymakers – particularly planners, population officers, community development officers, – and aimed at helping district chief administrators and planners to discuss development issues they would like to be addressed in the NDP II through the steps involved in planning, implementing, evaluating and improving development interventions.

The National Planning Authority, supported by OHCHR and GIZ, developed a strategy in 2013 to strengthen integration of human rights in the NDP II.  According to Charles Kwemoi, Human Rights Officer at OHCHR, the commitment shown by Government and the NPA in integrating human rights in national planning process is a good indicator of progress to adopt HRBA in poverty reduction strategies.

The consultative workshops are planned for seven regions in the country to support the localization of the NDP II process, which aims at identifying issues that local leadership prioritize to be addressed in the national development plan. The regional consultations present an opportunity to discuss and disseminate [new] Local Government Development Planning Guidelines, developed with the support of UNDP, as well as orient the leadership on steps of integrating cross-cutting issues such as human rights, population, child welfare, HIV/AIDs, gender, and youth.