Revitalize the local government system to strengthen the public spirit for service



Every May 1, United Nations member states honor workers’ contribution to national development.

This year’s theme – “Promote public spirit in the public sector”reminds us of what is needed in most developing countries, including Uganda. More and better jobs, decent working conditions and a better work culture imbued with positive values.

There is no greater virtue in a citizen than the public mind, and that is why it is very important that each individual identifies with the interests of the nation, community or organization than it serves.

It is an opportunity to recall that universal values ​​such as ethics are deeply rooted in all cultures, including African culture based on a wisdom tested by time.

Today inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals, we have the opportunity to revive our spirit of public service by linking it to our heritage.

In southern Africa, ‘Ubuntu‘is a widely cherished and practiced indigenous cultural philosophy based on the notion that “a universal bond of sharing binds all mankind”: that “my humanity is connected and is inextricably linked with yours”.

That’s why last month we joined with our South African brothers and sisters in mourning the loss of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a leader who has dedicated her life to serving the people of her nation.

A related cultural value in Uganda is’Obuntu bulamu“, An expression of” healthy humanity “which expresses” the possession of courtesy, compassion, good education and being cultivated “. We have also ‘Bulungi bwansi“literally translated as ‘service or for the good of the community’ in other words ‘public spirit’ – which promotes volunteerism based on good ethics.

These values ​​are enshrined in the National Policy on Ethical Values ​​and promote sustainable development. The thread of bulungi bwansi occupies a central place in the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which reflect the global public spirit. The United Nations was founded on ideals of promoting public spirit.

The preamble to the Charter of the United Nations states that “We, the peoples of the United Nations, are determined… .. to promote social progress and better standards of life in greater freedom…. to use international mechanisms for the promotion of the economic and social progress of all peoples ”; that enlightens the public mind.

In Uganda, the United Nations system, which comprises 18 agencies, supports the government and people of Uganda to achieve the national development goals outlined in Vision 2040 and the Second National Development Plan (NDPII) through the United Nations Development Assistance (UNDAF).

At the heart of this program and the 2030 Agenda is a shared ambition to develop opportunities for sustainable job creation and inclusive growth.

Uganda is widely recognized for producing a wide range of excellent policies on social, economic and development issues. It is essential to ensure that people in the public service at all levels are well informed about existing policies and are able to define new approaches to ensure implementation.

The United Nations system in Uganda stands ready to support the Ugandan government in the transition from good policies to good practices so that the public sector can effectively uphold the public spirit and citizens across the country can participate in the improvement of their quality of life.

There is also a need to revitalize the local government system: Uganda’s local government system has in the past been widely acclaimed as a global example to fill the public mind. However, it is now recognized that this system of local government is not functioning optimally.

Many efforts are being made by various development partners to help the government meet the challenges of capacity building for some time without significant results. We need renewed leadership to reconsider how to revitalize the local government system as it is the branch of the public sector that engages most directly with citizens.

A strengthened local government system is essential if we are to successfully implement National Vision 2040, including transformative policies with regard to youth empowerment, inclusive green growth and refugee management.

The United Nations system in Uganda is committed to working with government, private sector, cultural and religious leaders so that the local government system can play its role as a platform to meet the needs of citizens and revitalize the national public spirit.

The author is the United Nations Resident Coordinator / United Nations Resident Representative


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