Local government leaders meeting in Kampala this week say the failure of the central government to involve them in development planning is one of the reasons behind Uganda's slow achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
The Millennium Development Goals – or MDGs as they are usually called – were agreed upon in 2001 by Uganda and all other members of the United Nations. They are eight goals that address poverty and hunger, universal education, gender equality, child and maternal health, HIV/AIDS, the environment and global partnership.
The UN members set 2015 as the date by which significant, measurable improvements in these areas would be achieved.
However at the Global Forum on Local Government being held at Speak Resort Munyonyo, local government leaders in Uganda say the goals may not be met because of the manner in which programs related to their achievement are being implemented. They said decentralization of the process implement programs that will effect real change among all people.
Vincent Maher, Decentralization Advisor at the Belgium Development Agency in Uganda, says he agrees with a call to changing the approach to development. He says donor organizations like his need to participate in this shift in thinking by giving direct more funding to districts and other local authorities.
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Johnson Nkuhe, the Country Advisor of the Millennium Development Goals, says decentralization will help provide appropriate support for specific needs. He explains that the demands for development vary across the country and local authorities are best suited to the needs of people at the grassroots.
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Nkuhe says decentralization will also save money because development aid would be used to solve specific problems.
Joel Cumbo, an Angola delegate to the Global Forum, says he has seen decentralization of the Millennium Development Goals work in his country. He says other African countries need to break down their operations to meet specific needs.