KAMPALA/LUANDA – As African states take action to accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations has begun to identify opportunities for member states to exchange experiences on critical issues of shared concern.
This is the foundation for a four-day visit by a joint UN-Government of Uganda delegation that government and the UN system in Uganda, the mission is being co-led by Hon. Lt. Col (Rtd) Dr Rwamirama Bright K, Minister of State for Defense and Veteran Affairs and Ms. Rosa Malango, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Uganda, who presented her credentials to the president of the Republic of Uganda in February this year as part of the UN reform.
The seven-member delegation from Uganda looks forward to learning from the Angolan stakeholders during their visit. The lessons are expected to support the implementation of a new UN Joint Programme, the United Nations Integrated Support to Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs (MODVA) in Uganda as well as support the amendment of the UPDF Act 2005.
This innovative Joint Programme was developed to enhance gender equality and women empowerment within the UPDF structures and among households of families. This is expected to support UPDF families, women combatants and veterans to access socio-economic opportunities through livelihood initiatives.
The amendment will include among other areas: Management of Military Veteran Affairs; Military Pensions Management; Administration of military courts; resettlement; reintegration and psycho-social support to military veterans; innovative integration of the military in development interventions; and mainstreaming of gender in the military.
“As the United Nations, we believe that our role is to help countries identify the best possible options to implement their national visions for inclusive development and sustaining peace. The South-South Cooperation framework provides us with a pathway for Uganda to exchange and gain knowledge from other member states like Angola who have undergone a similar experience,” said Ms. Rosa Malango.
Since independence in 1962, Uganda’s number of military veterans has been on the increase without a proper capacity to manage their welfare including; compensation, rehabilitation, resettlement and re-integration, psycho-social support and terminal benefits. The learning from this visit will enhance the ministry as it reviews and amends the UPDF Act, 2005 to better cater for the care of the military veterans and to streamline military courts.
Uganda’s National Resistance Movement government under the leadership of Gen. Y. K Museveni is Pan African in character and considers Angola as a brotherly country that has a similar history of political evolution after a long civil war. It is against this background that the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs has found it prudent to conduct a benchmarking visit to Angola to share experiences and obtain best practices.
“The legal framework that governs military veterans in Angola, compensation for disability, pension management, and resettlement, rehabilitation for disabled and post-retirement benefits will help Uganda in the process of amending the UPDF Act 2005,” said Hon. Dr Rwamirama.
In addition, the minister expressed interest for both countries to have a memorandum of cooperation in the areas of training personnel, defense industries, research and development.
Support to UPDF families, women combatants, veterans and UN peacekeepers is key for social cohesion and making sure that no one is left behind as Uganda pursues its development aspirations.
Ms. Malango added that “this mission will enhance the capacities within the ministry and the National Army (UPDF) to respond to the social needs of families, women combatants, veterans, UN peacekeepers and reserve forces informed by the Pan African values and shared global commitments to peace and development.”