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SDSN Uganda Network Launched at Mak



The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Uganda Network has been launched at Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). The Network was launched virtually on 21st April, 2021 under the theme, “Unlocking the potential of Universities and other non-state actors to foster achievement of SDGs”.

The network is hosted by the Makerere University Centre for Climate Change Research and Innovations (MUCCRI) coordinated by Dr. Revocatus Twinomuhangi from the Department of Geography, Geo informatics and Climatic Sciences.

The workshop held online was attended by over 60 participants comprising state and non-state actors (representatives of government sectors, members of the academia, the private sector, civil society organizations and international development partners) among others.

The e-conference was graced by the President UN SDSN Prof. Jeffrey Sachs who delivered the keynote address, the Vice President SDSN Maria Cortes Puch, the Senior  Technical Advisor SDGs Secretariat Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Dr. Albert Byamugisha and the  Country Director Cities Alliance Uganda Samuel Mabala .

The conference was also attended by Makerere University’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe who officially closed the ceremony,  the Principal CAES represented by his deputy Assoc. Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga who officially welcomed and opened the conference and senior members of staff including  the network champion and Makerere University’s long serving Professor Elly N. Sabiiti.

Other dignitaries included representatives from Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Gulu University, Ndejje University, Kyambogo University and the youth wing of the SDSN.

In his keynote address, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs thanked Makerere University leadership for hosting the network and senior government officials represented by the Office of the Prime Minister for the emphasis on how the SDGs were being integrated into the country’s development and vision.

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs is a University Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He is a commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development. Sachs has been advisor to three United Nations Secretaries-General, and currently serves as an SDG Advocate under Secretary- General António Guterres. Sachs was twice named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders and was ranked by The Economist among the top three most influential living economists.

Prof. Jeffrey highlights universal access to education, digital services, electrification as Uganda’s major development challenges casting doubt on oil and gas prospects.

Keynote Speaker, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs addressed participants online.
Keynote Speaker, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs addressed participants online.

Prof. Jeffrey pledged that the network was ready to work with and help government of Uganda to work on the development challenges being faced to accelerate progress in achieving the SDGs.

 “Uganda as country faces many development challenges and  opportunities and we  would like to brainstorm with you, strategies with you  in  government and academic sector and in the specific communities and find ways  to accelerate the progress”. the President stated

Prof. Jeffrey explained that SDGS are an important reference point to understand where the big gaps in development occur and therefore directs where the mobilization of energy and resources, creativity and strategy should be applied.

Prof. Jeffrey told participants that looking at the situation in Uganda, there clearly three important development priorities that the network would like Uganda  to address.  These he said include ;1)Universal access to quality, education; 2)universal access to digital wireless services, applications and tools;3)Universal access to electricity and/or renewable energy sources.

He said universal access to quality education is the single most important aspect of life that can lead to the transformation of live hoods and the different sectors of the economy.

The other most important aspect for government according to Prof. Jeff is to expand access to digital services on grounds that the use of broadband is limited by internet levels; People do not have access to digital tools or internet connectivity.

“The digital technologies are the most important tool that the country like Uganda has to accelerate achievement of the SDGs. Imagine in Uganda if every person had access to quality internet then, we could expand online education, telemedicine, government services, technical training, e-payment services and we could expand environmental management and supervision, .

So I believe that in addition to universal education, we should be aiming at very rapidly for universal digital services including  appliances and tools that are needed to use the services”, Prof. Jeff advised.

Noting that there are significant financial constraints, Prof. Jeff expressed the need to think about how development financing can help the Government of Uganda to mobilize resources, and how the private sector, international companies can help to mobilize investments needed to achieve these two goals.

“If we could achieve universal access to Digital services, it will be easier to achieve SDG3 which is universal health coverage because there is twenty years of experience of using telemedicine as a powerful way to expand access to health care.

Now, it is possible to dial patients from a distance, to read x-rays from a distance , to manage  symptoms from a distance and if we use the digital platform, we can tremendously expend medicine and health care as well”, The UN SDSN President justified.

The third biggest development challenge for Uganda according to Prof. Jeffrey Sash is that of electrification because electricity is needed in the villages and in cities in order to power the digital networks and appliances.

“And still far too few households and villages have access to electricity services and this raises a question of renewable energy in Uganda. There is a tremendous potential for solar power as an instrument of mass electrification and micro grids and mini grid and even national grid approach through solar power.

This scenario I believe also with financing can make a huge big difference. Households can pay for energy services but not the upfront investment costs for solar panels and wiring and system but can pay overtime to cover the cost of electricity services”, the keynote speaker advised.

He reported that SDSN has developed such micro grid approaches in some parts of Uganda to show that it is possible to have commercial enterprises using a micro grid approach which should be tremendously expanded.

Prof. Jeffrey further raised questions about energy strategy in Uganda, aware that there are major plans and high prospects on the development of the oil sector in Uganda.

Jeffrey said he was rather doubtful about this because it seems to be running against the global trend which is to end  the use of oil, coal and natural gas not to expand use of oil, coal and natural gas. He added that this is something that can be analyzed and studied by members of the academia and other stakeholders because it is important for other reasons as well.

“I know there are high hopes for developing Uganda as an oil exporting country but, I am a little skeptical and I have to say this with friends because the expenses will be very high. Petroleum is very waxy and expensive to transmit.

The pipeline goes to many ecological-sensitive regions and villages. The dangers of oil spills are very high and it would be good for Uganda to look ahead to 20 years. I am raising this because I believe in renewable energy and distributed solar power much more than the big oil and gas pipe lines especially because the world is moving to electric vehicles and renewable energy. So this project to me seems to be running against the direction of the global market and the country may become stranded in the future in the development opportunity”, The professor explained.

Part of the Makerere Social media team during the conference.
Part of the Makerere Social media team during the conference.

Prof. Jeff described Uganda as an absolutely beautiful country with wonderful ecosystems and biodiversity saying, the UN SDSN treasures the beauty of Uganda and entire ecosystem and the rich biodiversity which is a good resource for the country and a great resource for tourism.

He however said, this natural endowments need to be taken with very good and great care. He reasoned that all the ecosystem of Uganda is under a lot of pressure and this is the major focus of SDG 14 and 15- The stewardship and protection of the ecosystem.

 “Uganda’s population has been growing very fast at about now 45 million people compared to 5 million in 1950, an increase of almost 10 times. As the population continues to grow rapidly, the pressure on ecosystem continues to be great and these projects like the Oil and gas pipelines are also a threat to the ecosystem.

 Uganda depends on help and cultivation of its remarkable beautiful ecosystems and its endangered species. So, I would hope that the SDGS also will be an important opportunity to redouble the protection and support of Uganda’s ecosystem and to focus on the kinds of projects that preserve the beauty of your country to avoid ecological dangers”. Prof. Jeffrey explained

Demographically, Prof. Jeffrey observed that there will be a shift from the rural areas increasingly to the urban areas and this poses more challenges  because of the costs involved like infrastructure, sanitation, transport, power system, the health care system and education are all major costs meaning,  the whole transformation embedded in SDG 11   are also a huge challenge.

He said the biggest problem with everything talked about is the requirement of  a lot of investments whether in education, health care, digital, energy etc   costs money, the money beyond what is available in the national budget.

“ I am very much aware of that and I believe that we should hold strong to the goals  and your friends and partners in the UN, international agencies, AfDB , UNCA and other partners should be working together with you to identify how to close financing gap rather than saying  we will be without electricity and schools.

I hope Uganda says, no, we must have schools, we must  have rural electrification and it is your job as partners to identify financing gaps to help us to do so and this is the spirit and purpose of the SDGs to mobilize partners to get this done”, Prof. Jeffrey advised.

He expressed excitement over the launch of SDSN Uganda and gratified Makerere University for taking up this great role and pledged to work with the university and government to help solve these problems with the speed and urgency they deserve to give Ugandans the future they need and deserve.

The Vice President for SDSN Networks Maria Cortes Puch on Global SDSN programs

Vice President SDSN Maria Cortes Puch addressed participants online.
Vice President SDSN Maria Cortes Puch addressed participants online.

The Vice President for SDSN Networks Maria Cortes Puch thanked Makerere University for hosting the network and the efforts put in to organize the launch.

“We appreciate the great work that Makerere has been doing in the past years. SDSN Uganda was scheduled for a launch last year but the plan was cancelled due to the COVID-19. In the meantime, SDSN Uganda has managed to set up a number of priorities to work on which takes some years.

 SDSN Uganda has already established a collaborative relationship with government through the OPM and has advised the UN resident coordinator office and UNDP on defining the UN sustainable development cooperation framework in Uganda for the next four years.  We can’t call this network  a baby anymore, it is already a standing up child and we are really eager to see what comes next”, Maria Cortes said.

She said SDSN was launched in 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary General to mobilize scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector to be part of the debate to diagnose development challenges in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to come up with complex solutions that would incorporate different sections of society.

“Since then, SDSN has been mobilizing academia around the world. We currently have more than 1400 member institutions around the world of which about 75% are universities and the rest are research centers, think tanks or knowledge producing NGOs. We organize our members through our national and regional networks hosted by one or two universities that convene universities in that country in support of the SDGs” She said.

She explained that the SDSN has four priorities:-One is   to localize SDGS, by working and bringing together governments, different sectors ,national statistical  offices, unions, NGOs, civil society, private sector and  universities in  workshops to discuss different strategies for SDGS, what the SDGs means for a country or region, challenges unique to individual countries  and key opportunities  gathered  to assess whether  the right  progress is being made in the achievement of the SDGs.

SDSN also focuses on high quality education for sustainable development for instance a number of programmes on sustainable development, executive training with the private sector including thinking through how the curriculum is developed to ensure that everyone coming out university knows the basic principles of sustainable development irrespective of specialties.

The Vice President also said SDSN also works on sustainable solution initiatives with private sector and different levels of government and are practical solutions that are very specific and unique problems. The networks she said conduct long term path ways for sustainable development, a very technical exercises modelling whether or not the goals are possible to achieve with specific avenues and trajectories to achieve those goals in the country.

She added that sustainable solutions initiative is a technical exercise in a highly interactive process to make sure that the model puts into consideration the realities of the country that ensures no vulnerable group is left behind  which creates census in society

“We have 41 networks now that cover 120 different countries around the world. One of the great thing about our networks is that they help one another. So the SDSN Uganda will be working closely with SDSN Canada and SDSN Japan and will be learning from each other and sharing projects and opportunities.”, she said.

She reported that in September 2020, a new guide for accelerating education for SDSN in universities was launched. Currently, she said an open call for case studies is open and in case any  university is using  innovative method of teaching SDGs or mainstreaming SDGs, SDSN would want to hear about it by visiting the SDSN  website and submitting the Case study.

Uganda has made progress on all SDGs, is more than 50% of the way  towards achieving SDGs by 2030,  ranked 18th position  out of 52 African countries with overall score of 58.8

Senior Technical Advisor SDGs Secretariat, office of the Prime Minister Uganda Dr. Albert Byamugisha

Senior Technical Advisor SDGs Secretariat, Office of the Prime Minister Uganda Dr. Albert Byamugisha thanked the organizers for inviting the Office of the Prime Minister to participate and speak at the launch of the SDSN Network Uganda.

While speaking on  the Snapshot of Uganda’s journey, Sustainable Development coordination framework, and the integration of SDGs  in Uganda’s  development  and vision process, Dr. Byamugisha said, Uganda was has made progress on all SDGs.

Dr. Byamugisha said the SDGs were endorsed in 2015 and adopted in 2016 and during that time, Uganda was the front runner because it helped the presidency of the General assembly at the time, and Uganda prepared the first national voluntary report 2016 which indicated that out of the 169 targets, Uganda had covered 70% in the NDP II.

He said, Uganda has a dedicated Minister in charge of SDGs and recently last year, Uganda prepared the second voluntary national report. Organizationally, he said government has developed a coordination framework to implement SDGs and a roadmap to operationalize SDGS developed in 2018 cooperating with different stakeholders to make sure that no one is left behind. Dr. Byamugisha reported that recently an MoU was signed with CSOs. “ In 2016 we developed a frame work which is fully functional in the office of the Prime Minister which was sent to the Minister of General Duties who is in charge of SDGs.

The SDG secretariat has been established with full support of development partners especially the Subsystem to support the coordination function and all level technical groups functioning progressively to address different aspects of the SDGs.

The framework has been operationalize through the roadmap which was established in 2018 and aligned with NDP II  and now that of NDP III.”, Dr Byamugisha explained.

Dr. Byamugisha said there is a national coordination framework which is used in the implementation of SDGs.  The first one is the policy coordination committee, chaired by the Prime Minister and members include cabinet ministers, heads of cooperation’s and agencies. Then, the implementation steering committee chaired by the head of public service and membership include all permanent secretaries, heads of missions, cooperation and agencies.

The other coordination framework according to Dr. Byamugisha is  the national SDG task force chaired by the permanent secretary OPM  and  attended by  chairpersons of the five technical working groups namely monitoring evaluation and reporting on SDGs chaired by the OPM, planning and administration chaired by  national planning authority, resource and resource mobilization technical working group chaired by Minister of finance , data aspects chaired by  Uganda Bureau of statistics and  communication and mobilization of technical working groups to support development goals

“SDSN was looking for collaboration with SDG Secretariat OPM  and I  can tell you right away that you are most welcome and you will be participating  in those working groups.  We have the Minister for SDGs, with the secretariat with roles and responsibilities but most importantly steering the coordination of SDGs”,  he said.

 Dr. Byamugisha explained that the national planning frameworks are very accommodative of the 2030 agenda and the government of Uganda is well positioned to achieve its ambition to achieve the 2040 vision and establish a planning framework which is also to deliver national development plans.

He stated that Uganda has a National Development Plan for five years which promises to increase the average household incomes and improve quality of life  and effectively deliver the national vision.

 The NPDIII according to Dr. Byamugisha in part emphasizes the need to identify and utilize and integrate innovative financing options with the public and private sector and also identify development opportunities which include advancing mechanisms for fully aligning a planned budget, reporting frameworks and strengthen public investment management.

He said, Government of Uganda has demonstrated commitment to align financing to development citing that government issued the certificate of compliance gauging the level of alignment to the  level of the budget of the Sustainable plans and so far, there has been an improvement from 54%, 60% in 2017/2018 while in 2018/19 government had issued the gender and equity compliance certificate to mainstream as a pre-condition for  budget appropriation.

 Dr. Byamugisha informed participants that Government has commenced implementation of a program based budgeting and had a comprehensive public management reform strategy from 2018-2023 which was developed to enhance resource mobilization including planning and public investment management.

He also explained that they were able to seal partnerships with the UN system to develop and implement integrated financing framework for strengthening a complementary, independent and a mutually financing mechanism.

Dr. Byamugisha stressed that Government continues to build evidence to guide planning and, with support from UNDP, undertook an assessment of institutional gaps in SDG implementation and also took analytical work on specific SDGs on  zero hunger,  peace and justice on SDG16 and 11 to resume planning and review SDG 2.

He further said, they have developed an integrated SDG Model for Uganda and through the model, there are three categories of interventions and SDG accelerators which include environment, governance and industry.

Dr. Byamugisha was happy to note that in SDSN  was focusing on environment and climate change and already the they  government has  as one of the key accelerator.

He explained that Government together with stakeholders and partners have initiated strategies and actions of engagement and  implementation such as integrating SDGs into  the national scientific and statistical framework , integration of SDGs into the M and E Strategy, found a coalition of a youth initiative with a section of the youth at the secretariat.

According to Dr. Byamugisha, government has formed a youth coalition  expecting  to have one million youth for one million solutions, and gone ahead to the  localization of SDGs into district and local government plans and conducting  local reviews in local governments .

He said they have started working towards engagement of the private sector by establishing private sector platform. On 4th may 2021, Dr. Byamugisha said,  the Prime Minister will be launching the private sector platform and Makerere University will be invited.

Dr. Byamugisha reported that they   have embarked on popularization of SDGs with so many media campaigns and production of information education communication   materials.

“Tracking SDGs through Uganda national voluntary report was done in 2020 where Uganda participated in a high level UN political forum in July 2020 and this was the Minister delivering Uganda’s report to the UN and, overall, Uganda’s SDG  progress according to SDSN,  is more than 50% of the way  towards achieving SDGs by 2030 .

 In the  52 African countries Uganda  ranked 18th position with overall score of 58.8  and based on the voluntary national report 2020, Uganda had made good progress  on all SDGs with several policies and strategies to facilitate the SDG implementation and key of them are social protection programmes for women,, youth and elderly, youth and job creation and empowerment, the establishment of Universal Primary Education and  secondary education, gender equality and women empowerment among others”, Dr. Byamugisha reported.

Mak Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe decries the declining number of children joining university, the increasing population and high rate of urbanization

Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe made his closing remarks online.
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe made his closing remarks online.

The Vice Chancellor Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe thanked the CAES team particularly MUCCRI leadership for organizing the conference. He also appreciated Prof. Jeff Sash for gracing the occasion.

Prof. Nawangwe congratulated the SDSN group at Makerere University, the Uganda chapter, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and other partners for working with Makerere University on issues of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Vice chancellor said Makerere University has a new strategic Plan (2020-2030) and everything being done under this strategic plan is supposed to practically address the SDGs with a core effort of providing quality education and research and therefore addressing SDG4.

“As a country and university we have a big task. We must find out why we have such a huge exodus of children both at primary and secondary level. The number of children qualifying to join the university has been declining in the last three years. That is contradictory because our population is just skyrocketing and at the same time the number of children who qualify to join the university is decreasing. It is a big challenge and as Makerere University, we must take every necessary effort to address this issue.” The Vice Chancellor decried.

Prof. Nawangwe said with the increasing population, the country has two major issues to deal with. The first issue is food security with the question of how the increasing population is going to be fed.

The second issue according to the Vice Chancellor is the high rate of urbanization. Prof. Nawangwe noted that Uganda was a very low urbanizing country for many years but this has changed. He explained that urbanization rate is putting pressure on soils that will affect the country’s capacity to produce food and the provision of good facilities for good life in the cities. Otherwise, he said, the country will end up with huge slums with no resources and poor services which must be addressed by all.

He reported that the university has many different fields of knowledge addressing different SDGs and that everybody has a role to play.

The Vice Chancellor pledged that the university will rise up to the challenge and take the leadership  in ensuring the attainment of the SDGs.

CAES Principal’s opening remarks and the role of MUCCRI in promoting SDGs

Dr. Gorettie Nabanoga made her welcome and opening remarks online.
Dr. Gorettie Nabanoga made her welcome and opening remarks online.

The Principal College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) represented by his deputy Assoc.  Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga welcome participants to the launch of the Sustainable Development Solutions (SDSN) Uganda National network organized by the global SDSN and SDSN Uganda in collaboration with CAES and Makerere University Centre for Climate Change Research and Innovations (MUCCRI).

In a special way, the Deputy Principal welcomed and equally thanked the global UN SDSN for choosing Makerere University to host the SDSN Uganda National network and for collaborating with the national network to organise this launch.

Dr. Nabanoga  saluted the CAES staff who championed the crusade for the university to join the SDSN network following the UN call in July 2017 and conveyed special gratitude to Makerere University Management for the buy-in and support to this initiative.

She  reported that SDSN Uganda’s secretariat is hosted at the Makerere University Centre for Climate Change Research and Innovations (MUCCRI), a semi-autonomous unit in the CAES  that  was launched in 2013 to enhance climate change knowledge generation and dissemination. The Centre engages in Training, Research and Policy Interventions.

Through MUCCRI, Dr. Nabanoga said, the University brings together researchers and scientists from within and outside Makerere University, government officials, civil society, and private sector actors to collaboratively and locally address climate change, share information, and problem solve on adaptation technologies and research.

“We are also using MUCCRI as a vehicle to improve and support undergraduate, graduate, diploma, and postgraduate education in climate science, meteorology, climate change adaptation and mitigation. The Centre therefore contributes greatly to the achievement of SDG 13 on climate action.

I am happy to note that the theme of the launch event, “Unlocking the potential of Universities and other non-state actors to foster achievement of SDGs, is in line with the global development and climate change agendas agreed upon by world leaders to foster sustainable development and build resilient societies”, the deputy principal said.

She reported that SDSN Uganda will focus on six themes: agriculture and food security, improve health, natural resources and ecosystems, renewable energy and efficiency, sustainable cities, and climate change, with gender equality as a cross cutting theme.

She said the university has a fully-fledged College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, a College of Health Sciences, a College of Engineering and Technology, a School of Economics, a School of Women and Gender Studies, and we are looking forward to partnering with institutions of the same agenda to promote gender-responsiveness achievement of SDG targets under these themes through training, research and innovations, community engagement,  capacity building and working with Government on SDGs – (OPM SDGs Secretariat).

Dr. Nabanoga expressed hope  that through the SDSN forum, participant will explore how to unlock sustainable agro-industrialization to respond to the pressing socio-economic development priorities of food security, wealth and job creation and expansion of macro-economic growth through country owned processes.

On behalf of the college management the Deputy Principal reaffirmed that SDSN Uganda will continue bringing together SDSN members in the country to identify, develop and implement transformative solutions for sustainable development.

In addition Dr. Nabanoga pledged that SDSN Ugnda network shall mobilize universities, research and knowledge centers, civil society, private sector, and special interest groups to promote the achievement of 2030 sustainable development agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

SDSN Uganda Network Manager Dr. Revocatus Twinomuhangi speaks on the network objectives and structure

Dr. Revocatus Twinomuhangi the Network Manager speaking from the video conferencing facility at Makerere University.
Dr. Revocatus Twinomuhangi the Network Manager speaking from the video conferencing facility at Makerere University.

The Coordinator Makerere University Centre for Climate Change Research and Innovations (MUCCRI) also Manager, SDSN Uganda network Dr. Revocatus Twinomuhangi  said, SDNS Uganda network was approved by the Networks Strategy Council of the UN SDSN in  Nov. 2019 and  appointed Makerere University to host the national network coordinated under College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), with its Secretariat in Makerere University Centre for Climate Change Research and Innovations (MUCCRI) led by Dr. Revocatus Twinomuhangi as Network Manager, and Hakimu Sseviiri  as Network Assistant.

Dr. Twinomuhangi said the Vision of the network is mobilizing universities, research and knowledge centers, civil society, private sector, communities and special interest groups to identify and implement transformative solutions to achieve the 2030 sustainable development agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change in Uganda and the East African region.

He said there are five objectives of the network.:1) is to build awareness and knowledge on SDGs, through  supporting high-quality, free, online education via the SDG Academy, short term trainings; Supporting SDSN in production and disseminate SDG reports (global African SDGs index reports and SDSN has led thinking on the SDGs with the reports) Others are delivery short term and professional trainings in member universities; Supporting participation in online education e.g. massive open online courses –MOOCs – through the SDG Academy and Supporting experiential learning

The second objective according Dr. Twinomuhangi is to conduct  Research on sustainable development solutions by building partnership and conducting multi-stakeholder dialogues, Support dialogues and provide advice to policy and decision-makers.

The network will also support a vibrant SDSN Youth Network in Uganda and conduct research on sustainable solutions by promoting multi-disciplinary research that will generate evidence-based solutions for enhancing the achievement of SDGs at the national and local levels.

The network he said, will create platforms for building partnerships and dialogues ie  thinking spaces for academia, think tanks, government, researchers, private sector, business and civil society  and work closely with GoU – the SDGs Secretariat at OPM to mobilize action,

“The other objective is to support dialogues and provide advice to policy and decision-makers . The network will offer evidence-based advice to decision-makers engaged in politics, government, business and society to fill SDG policy gaps and motivate positive change towards implementation and achievement of SDGs.

To empower the youth,  we will have a youth wing, the SDSN Uganda Youth empowering the youth to create sustainable solutions that address development challenges. The Youth Wing will focus on; Educating young people about the SDGs and create pathways; Connecting young people to global networks to collaborate to achieve the SDGs in Uganda and; Supporting young people in developing and scaling innovative solutions for the SDGs”, The network manager explained

He said the  approved SDSN members in Uganda are:- Makerere University – hosts SDSN Uganda, Ndejje University, Uganda Christian University, National Coffee Research  Institute (NaCORI)/National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), African Climate change Leadership Program, Uganda Technology and management University and the School of Hygiene – Mbale

Dr. Twinimuhangi said, the Mobilisation of potential members is ongoing. These  include Kabale University, Kyambogo University, Busitema University, Makerere University Business School , Economic Policy Research Centre, Agakhan University, Kampala International University and Bishop Stuart University.  

He explained that the Vital roles of Universities in the network is through their “business as usual” activities, i.e. research, teaching, operations, community leadership.

He said universities can provide SDG policy support, SDG-oriented research and development (R&D), incubation of new sustainable development businesses, SDG-based education and Multi-stakeholder convening.

The seven thematic focus areas for the network according to the network manager include: Agriculture and food systems, in support ending poverty and hunger (SGDs  1 &2); Improved Health – SDG 3; Natural resources and ecosystem health: SDG 6 (water and sanitation) and SDG15 (life on land) and Renewable energy and energy efficiency: to end energy poverty – SDG7 affordable and clean energy.  Others are: Sustainable Cities: Inclusive, Resilient, and Connected (SDG 11); Climate compatible development (SDG 13) and Gender equality responsiveness (SDG 5) – cross cutting

Dr. Twinomuhagi reported that the network has so far recorded achievements including the establishment of a  fully functional secretariat in place at MUCCRI with skeleton staff; SDSN Uganda  website designed and launched – live and functional – and engagement with members and recruiting potential members.

The centre he said, started dialogue on SDGs with the Government – SDGs Secretariat in Office of the Prime Minister (OPM); MUCCRI/SDSN Uganda participates in SDGs coordination meetings organized by Government and UN Resident Coordinator’s Office (and UNDP) including work in progress on formation of Leadership and Governance Councils.

Dr. Twinomuhangi said the  next for SDSN Uganda is approaching  proposed members for the National Leadership Council; identifying first priorities and activities; recruiting members and partners and rganize a solutions conference and mobilizing resources.

On Governance and Organization, Dr. Twinomuhangi said SDSN Host: Makerere University convene universities and institutions in the country, and promote the work of the national/regional network.

The Leadership Council: Along the lines of the global SDSN Leadership Council, SDSN Uganda establishes a National LC to mobilize sustainable development leaders from around the country while the Secretariat: CAES/MUCCRI has a dedicated secretariat to organize the work of the network, to ensure communication, and to coordinate with the global SDSN.

Key criteria for membership revolves on engagement, substance, reputation, experience and resources while special cases include other Networks, the Private sector and public institutions.

Agriculture & Environment

CAES Annual Report 2023



Cover page of the CAES Annual Report 2023. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga
Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga

With utmost delight, I am honoured to present the Annual Report of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) for the year 2023. As we look back on the accomplishments and obstacles of the past year, I extend my deepest appreciation to each and every one of you who contributed to our collective achievements. It has truly been a year of fulfilment and progress. In 2023, CAES proudly celebrated the graduation of 592 students, of whom 48% were female, at the 74th Graduation Ceremony. Among them were 14 PhD, 94 MSc, 5 Post Graduate Diplomas, and 479 BSc graduates across various disciplines in agricultural and environmental sciences. My sincere congratulations to all the graduates and the dedicated staff who supported them throughout their journey.

Reflecting on the commitments made in 2022 for the year 2023, we have made substantial strides. I am pleased to report that our faculty and students successfully adapted to the blended mode of teaching and learning. We remain steadfast in our dedication to a learner-centered, practical-oriented, and gender-responsive approach, with the goal of nurturing skilled, entrepreneurial, and innovative graduates capable of addressing challenges in the Agricultural and Environmental sectors.

Furthermore, we have revised the curriculum for approximately 15 programs, enriching content to include skills relevant to entrepreneurial green economies. This underscores our commitment to fostering innovation within CAES and equipping our graduates with the tools they need to thrive in dynamic professional landscapes.

Moreover, our college continues to advance knowledge, tackle critical challenges, and make a positive impact on society. Notably, the Makerere University Regional Centre of Excellence for Crop Improvement (MaRCCI) has been elevated to an “African Host Centre (AHU/C) for training high-quality PhDs in Plant Breeding and Biotechnology.” This initiative aims to address the human resource gap in highly qualified specialists in these fields across Africa, reaffirming our commitment to excellence and leadership in agricultural education and research. For the reporting year, CAES has registered several achievements as highlighted.

Teaching and Learning for improving learner experiences

The introduction and implementation of the CAES-GRADCARE Management System represents a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance graduate management processes within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. This innovative system was meticulously crafted to streamline operations, optimize workflow, and elevate overall efficiency and effectiveness. Its primary objectives include improving supervision mechanisms, reducing lead times, and minimizing costs associated with thesis examination. Moreover, the system empowers stakeholders with invaluable data insights, facilitating informed decision-making across various levels of academic administration.

Research and Innovation for impacting society

In our relentless pursuit of ethical research practices, we are proud to announce the establishment and full operationalization of the CAES Research Ethics Committee/Institutional Review Board (CAES-REC/IRB). This critical initiative underscores our commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity and transparency in our research endeavors. Our dedication to innovation is exemplified by the introduction of the MakSol Cooker—a solar-powered marvel poised to revolutionize cooking practices while significantly reducing carbon footprints within households. This transformative solution not only addresses environmental concerns but also promotes sustainable living on a tangible, everyday level. Furthermore, our research efforts have yielded remarkable breakthroughs in agriculture and food security. Through the development of bio-fertilizer formulations, we aim to unlock crop productivity while simultaneously addressing soil nitrogen deficiencies, thereby enhancing household food security and bolstering agricultural sustainability. In tandem with our agricultural innovations, we have successfully bred resilient Mak Soybean, Cowpea and Sorghum varieties, capable of withstanding drought, disease, pests, and climate stress while boasting shortened maturity periods. These advancements provide a vital protein source, particularly in regions prone to agricultural challenges, and enable the production of value-added products, contributing to enhanced food security and resilience, further enhancing the agricultural value chain. In our quest for sustainable agricultural practices, we have developed innovative solutions such as the Soil Test Kit, facilitating simplified soil management by offering rapid semi-quantitative evaluations of essential elements crucial for optimal plant growth. This tool empowers farmers with actionable insights to optimize crop yields and promote sustainable land stewardship. Additionally, our Hybrid Refractance Window Drying equipment represents a game-changer in post-harvest handling, ensuring consistent drying of perishable agricultural produce. By preserving the quality of fruits and vegetables, this technology enhances the value chain, thereby maximizing agricultural productivity and reducing post-harvest losses. Furthermore, our efforts extend beyond crops to encompass livestock management and nutrition. Through the development of protocols for Banana Tissue Culture and value addition to Sweet Potato-Sorghum enterprises, we aim to improve agricultural livelihoods and economic resilience among farming communities. Innovative solutions such as rearing and utilizing blue flies, maggots, and earthworms as alternative protein sources for poultry and fish feeds demonstrate our commitment to sustainable feed production. These efforts not only diversify protein sources but also promote circular economies by utilizing agricultural by-products effectively. Moreover, our research endeavors have yielded transformative solutions to combat malnutrition and poverty. The development of a livestock milk booster, derived from sugarcane industrial waste, addresses nutritional deficiencies while enhancing dairy production, thereby improving livelihoods and food security. Our commitment to research and innovation for societal impact is unwavering. From ground-breaking agricultural technologies to transformative solutions for nutrition and food safety, we remain dedicated to advancing sustainable development and improving livelihoods across communities. Through collaborative efforts and relentless innovation, we strive to create a brighter, more resilient future for all.

Knowledge transfer and Community engagement

This 2023 Annual Report highlights several impactful knowledge sharing initiatives undertaken by CAES: i) NARO-Makerere Third Joint Scientific Conference, ii) Summer School on Landscape Ecology, iii) International Collaboration in Soybean Research, iv) Policy Dialogue on Climate Science, v) Recognition at the 29th Source of the Nile National Agricultural Show, vi) Youth and Innovation Expo 2023, vii) Training Programs for Capacity Building, viii) Capacity Building in Seed and Agronomic Practices, and ix) Soybean Seed Distribution. These initiatives underscore CAES’ commitment to knowledge transfer, community engagement, and sustainable agricultural development, reflecting our dedication to fostering innovation and driving positive change in Uganda and beyond. The accomplishments detailed in this report are a testament to the unwavering dedication and collaborative efforts of our esteemed staff, students, and partners.

Throughout this reporting year, we have witnessed remarkable growth and achievement among our faculty members, with several individuals being promoted and duly recognized for their outstanding contributions.

Looking ahead, we are presented with a multitude of opportunities to further our impact and achieve even greater heights of excellence. As we embark on the next chapter of our journey, we remain steadfast in our commitment to academic excellence, research, innovation, and societal impact. In the coming year, we will continue to focus on strengthening our academic programs, fostering interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder collaboration, and expanding our innovative research initiatives to address pressing challenges in agriculture, environmental sustainability, and food security. We will also prioritize initiatives aimed at enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within our college community, ensuring that all voices are heard and valued. As we navigate the path ahead, I am confident that together, we will overcome any challenges that may arise and continue to make significant contributions to the advancement of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. As Winston Churchill stated, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts”.

I invite you to explore the pages of this Annual Report to learn more about our achievements, challenges, and aspirations for the future.

Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga

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Agriculture & Environment

The Joint ClimSMART-NORHED II CSA Summer School Second Edition 2024 Kicks Off at Mak



Participants of the joint CSA-ClimSMART Summer School at Makerere University’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

By Brian Ogenrwoth

Makerere University, in collaboration with Gulu University, has inaugurated the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School. Funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, the program began with a series of theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024. This year’s event has drawn 23 postgraduate students (MSc and PhDs) from 7 countries studying at 5 African universities namely; Makerere University, Gulu University, University of Zambia, Hawassa University and University of Juba, and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). Additionally, 16 scientists and three postdoctoral researchers from the participating institutions have joined the initiative.

CAES Principal, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga addressing the participants. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
CAES Principal, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga addressing the participants.

Prof. Jackline Bonabana, the Principal Investigator of the ClimSMART project and Co-Principal Investigator of the NORHED II CSA project who coordinated the Summer School, emphasized the comprehensive and multifaceted nature of the program. She highlighted that the sessions would cover critical topics in climate-smart agriculture, biochar, climate change, and food security. Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa, the Principal Investigator of the NORHED II CSA project, applauded the collaborative efforts of the Climsmart/NORHED II partners and delivered an engaging presentation on insect pests and their management in the context of climate change.

Prof. Jan Mulder of NMBU delivering a presentation on food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Jan Mulder of NMBU delivering a presentation on food security in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Prof. Vegard Martinsen from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) underscored the vast research opportunities in climate-smart agriculture on the African continent. He noted the region’s unique context and the increasing impact of climate change as pivotal factors for continued need for meaningful research and empirical evidence.

Participants and scientists listening to presentation on site assessment and sampling for agriculture. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Participants and scientists listening to presentation on site assessment and sampling for agriculture.

Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga, Principal of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) at Makerere University, presented on critical thinking and officially welcomed participants, stressing the urgent need to upscale such collaborative efforts to tackle food insecurity and climate change. She affirmed that such programmes align to the Makerere University agenda and strategic direction.

Participants at MUARIK. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Participants at MUARIK.

The sessions also featured a variety of expert presentations, including:

  • Food Security in SSA by Prof. Jan Mulder (Norwegian University of Life Sciences)
  • Site Assessment and Sampling for Agriculture by Prof. Lydia Chabala (University of Zambia)
  • Aqua Crop Model for Land Management by Prof. Elijah Phiri (University of Zambia)
  • Understanding Basic Concepts in Soil Fertility by Dr. Patrick Musinguzi and Prof. Twaha Basamba Ali (Makerere University)
  • Weed Management by Dr. Sylvester Katuromunda (Makerere University)
  • Co-Composting Organic Wastes with Biochar by Prof. Fantaw Yimer (Hawassa University)
  • Socio-Economic Topics like personal branding and marketing by Prof. Basil Mugonola and Dr. Walter Odongo, climate resilience governance and management practice by Dr. Patrick Byakagaba (Makerere University), and communication and presentation skills by Mr. Edward Gita (Rural Enterprise Development Solutions). Very insightful presentations were made by the Post Doc and PhD students as well.

The practical sessions, scheduled from May 29th to June 9th, 2024, will include farmer field visits, laboratory sessions, group discussions, data analysis, and presentations at Gulu University.

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Agriculture & Environment

Eco Brixs Seeks to Collaborate with Mak in Plastics Waste Management



The CEO of Eco Brixs, Mr. Andrew Bownds (2nd R) with the Makerere University team led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (3rd R) after the meeting on 8th May 2024. Rotary Peace Centre, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Poor waste disposal remains one of the biggest challenges in Uganda pausing a number of environmental and health risks. According to the Ministry of Water and Environment, plastic waste is becoming disastrous to urban and rural areas due to poor disposal practices. All store purchases are packaged in polythene bags, and without proper disposal, plastic garbage can be seen everywhere. During the rainy season, they are washed into water channels, where they block drainage. Single-use packaging for soda, water, and other drinks results in mountains of garbage heaping up in legal and illegal dumpsites – The Independent Magazine, 30th May 2022.

As a measure to improve plastics waste management in the country, Eco Brixs has reached out to Makerere University to collaborate in addressing the challenge. On 8th May 2024, the CEO, also Co-Founder of Eco Brixs, Mr. Andrew Bownds held a meeting with Makerere University officials led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe in which they brainstormed on different areas for collaboration.

Proposed areas for collaboration

  1. Research, Eco Brixs seeks to collaborate with Makerere University in Product Testing. Eco Brixs is producing new products monthly and requires lab tests to support UNBS certification. The Company also seeks to collaborate with Makerere in Environmental Research. The Company intends to work with PhD students to complete focused research on plastic pollution and the recycling process.
  2. Internships – Eco Brixs has had 50 students complete internships and would love to grow that with Makerere.
  3. Be Makerere Official Recyclers – Eco Brixs seeks to be the recycler of Makerere University. Suggestions were made to jointly source funding to address the challenge and to set up a plastic waste collection centre at Makerere University.

During the meeting, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe welcomed the initiative and reiterated the need to include students on projects to ensure sustainability. The meeting was attended by among others the Principal, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga; the Dean, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Dr Revocatus Twinomuhangi; and the Manager in charge of Accounts and Reporting at Makerere University, Mr Lubowa Ssebina Gyaviira.

About Eco Brixs

Eco Brixs is a plastic recycling enterprise which uses a sustainable circular economic model to address the challenges of plastic waste and high unemployment levels in Uganda. Eco Brixs collects, recycles, and processes plastic waste into Eco Products for a ready market. Addressing plastic pollution and lifting people out of abject poverty through sustainable employment is one of the core roles of Eco Brixs. Operating since 2017, Eco Brixs has a plastic waste collection network that has seen 3,000 people delivering plastic into one of the enterprise’s 44 Buy-Back centres and engaging in earning through the recycling economy. Eco Brixs model is replicable and scalable to achieve its vision of being the Biggest Recycler in East Africa with franchises across the developing world. Eco Brixs is focused on driving green job creation through sustainable conservation.

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