Civil society’s longstanding and valued partnership with Government has continued to dominate the SDG advocacy space. Civil society organizations (CSOs) coordinate their work through a CSO SDG Core Reference Group that brings together several CSO partners to collaborate, create synergy, share their work, and produce annual reports on SDG implementation. The group, established in 2015, meets quarterly and coordinates closely with government institutions that are involved in SDG work.
Before the launch of Agenda 2030, the CSO SDG Core Reference Group was the mechanism used to mobilize and engage citizens in the post-2015 agenda process. The Group conducted consultations across the country which fed into the post-2015 consultations process around the world. In 2016, CSOs in Uganda launched the Tondeka Mabega (Leave No One Behind) initiative to localize the SDGs by working with marginalized groups and popularizing the SDG principles. Among the many achievements of this campaign are the Citizen Dialogues, aimed at amplifying the voices of marginalized groups and demanding a fundamental shift in national and global policy commitments to bring about an end to inequality and poverty, which perpetuate human suffering. The dialogues provided a platform for marginalized groups to voice their concerns and aspirations in the implementation of the SDGs. They were also an opportunity for groups to share innovative solutions they have developed to address the daily challenges they face.
CSOs have so far issued three SDG reports for the two SDG High-Level Political Forums (HLPFs) held annually at the UN in New York. These reports review achievements towards the attainment of the various SDGs in Uganda and articulate gaps that still need to be filled. The reports are launched at in-country events during HLPF week and are shared with CSO colleagues and government delegations from Uganda that attend the CSO Forum. Every quarter, lead CSOs for the various SDGs meet to review progress and agree on their collective as well as goal-spe- cific advocacy. Through this process, civil society has contributed to the development of the SDG Roadmap for Uganda in all the thematic groups. Civil society also continues to participate in SDG coordination meetings in the Office of the Prime Minister and other relevant spaces.
The thematic partners have continued to produce reports and advocacy messages for the various SDGs. Notable progress has been made by the CSOs working on SDGs with a particular focus on young people, disability, gender equality and women’s empowerment. In all these processes, the idea has been to ensure that CSOs are engaged in the SDG process and continue to engage in policy discussions on SDG implementation in Uganda.