Government, UN Plan Long Term Development Strategy for Karamoja

A joint statement from the Government of Uganda and the United Nations Officer for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) issued today notes with alarm the fact that none of the millennium development goals will be attained in Karamoja by the 2015 target date.

The statement says that because of this, the humanitarian community in Uganda has proposed a longer-term achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Karamoja as the point of convergence for concerted humanitarian and development programming. This will entails moving beyond traditional, short-term humanitarian objectives to a longer-term, joint strategy of targeted humanitarian and development action to realize sustainable development.

The Millennium Development Goals are eight goals to be achieved by 2015 that respond to the world's main development challenges. They include such objectives as eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empower women and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

According to the joint statement, development and non-violent disarmament strategies for Karamoja must go hand-in-hand in order for either to be sustainable. It says that human security and development are inextricably linked and without security, it is difficult to image Karamoja developing.

At present, there are too few police officers and other civilian administrative personnel and no resident judges/magistrates to uphold the rule of law in Karamoja. The joint statement says more must be recruited, trained and deployed in the region.

A 2004 survey by the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund said 82percent of the population of Karamoja lives in poverty.

Less than 20 percent of all Karimojong are literate and less than 50 percent of school-aged children are currently enrolled in primary school. Less than 3 percent of the population has access to sanitation facilities in the northern three districts and less than 50 percent access to safe drinking water across the region.

Gross Acute Malnutrition is above emergency thresholds across Karamoja, but particularly in Moroto, where it is 15.9 percent at present.

The Government of Uganda and UNOCHA say giving people hope for a better future is essential to getting them to invest their own resources in sustainable development.