Good governance and civil society

Project description

Title: Strengthening good governance and civil society in Uganda
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Uganda
Lead executing agency: National Planning Authority (NPA), Office of the Auditor General Uganda (OAG)
Overall term: 2017 bis 2019

Heads of institution inspecting works at the Karuma Dam project -2016 © GIZ

Context

In the Ugandan Constitution adopted in 1995, the country committed itself to adhering to the principles of good governance. A modern law on public finance management and the ordinance on its implementation came into force in 2016, constituting an important step by the Ugandan Government in improving the provision of state services. The constitution guarantees the key civil and political rights and the government has ratified most international human rights agreements. In addition, the human rights-based approach has been accorded prominent status in Uganda Vision 2040 and the National Development Plan II.

Under the constitution, civil society actors may take action freely and unimpeded. Numerous non-governmental organisations, community-supported organisations, registered associations, umbrella organisations and cooperatives are active in various sectors. Moreover, independent state monitoring bodies have been set up, including the Office of the Auditor General, the Inspectorate of Government, the Human Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission.

However, so far state and civil society actors have not been sufficiently able to take steps to ensure that human rights and the principles of good governance – transparency, accountability, efficient and effective administrative action and political participation – are observed when they carry out their duties. Many measures for improving central processes of the public budget, such as procurement and debt management, are not being implemented promptly. State action is not – or not sufficiently – geared towards the ratified human rights agreements and conventions. Civil society organisations, particularly pro-opposition groups and organisations that promote political human rights, are subject to restrictions. The role of civil society is often reduced to mere service provision. Effective representation of interests and participation in political processes are often restricted.

Objective

Selected state and civil society actors are increasingly able to take steps to ensure that human rights and the principles of good governance are observed.

Heads of the Office of the Auditor General Uganda, the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) at the ceremony to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (2017). © GIZ

Approach

The project is divided into four fields of activity:

  1. strengthening external financial monitoring by supporting the Office of the Auditor General Uganda
  2. promoting human rights and gender equality in cooperation with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commissions
  3. promoting civil society actors to improve the provision of services and representation of interests
  4. improving civil society’s participation in political processes.

Numerous results have already been achieved in the previous projects on the Promotion of Transparency and Accountability and on Strengthening Human Rights.

Institutionalising cooperation between the Office of the Auditor General Uganda, the Inspectorate of Government and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) led to more efficient handling of corruption cases. The human rights-based approach was integrated into the National Development Plan. In the three regions receiving support – Kampala, Hoima and Gulu – the ratio of complaints received to complaints that were processed and completed improved by over 30 per cent. After the Constitutional Court of Uganda annulled the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) groups carried out anti-discrimination training with the police with the programme’s support.

Uganda. Information from the Human Rights Commission (2016) © GIZ