Cablegate: Northen Uganda's Peace, Recovery, and Development Plan

DE RUEHKM #1139/01 2750817
R 020817Z OCT 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: The Government of Uganda (GOU) recently released the
first tranche of funding for its three-year, USD 600 million Peace,
Recovery, and Development Plan (PRDP). GOU commitment to live up to
its PRDP promises is a recurring concern for the USG, other donors,
development partners, and most of all, for northern Ugandans
themselves. The disbursement of the first GOU funds for the PRDP
should help allay some of these concerns. Serious challenges
remain, however, as it is ultimately up to the GOU to ensure that
this recovery plan succeeds where other recovery efforts for
northern Uganda have failed. End Summary.

PRDP Background, Budget, and Timeline

2. The PRDP is a planning framework intended to strengthen the
coordination of post-conflict recovery and development efforts in
northern Uganda. The plan will ultimately involve 40 districts
throughout northern and northeastern Uganda, or roughly half of the
districts in the country. The GOU is committed to funding 30
percent of the PRDP's total USD 600 million budget. Donor partners
will fund the remaining 70 percent. USAID provided approximately
USD 138 million in FY2008 and USD 112 million in FY2009 in support
of PRDP goals and activities.

3. GOU contributions will focus on health, water, education, and
roads. District level governments will manage 80% of central-level
GOU funds. The remaining 20% will be centrally managed by the
Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). Individual districts submitted
PRDP work and procurement plans in June 2009. Although there has
been some delay in allocating central GOU funds to the PRDP
districts, Gulu District received its first quarterly tranche of
PRDP funding in mid-September, making it the first official
recipient of PRDP funds. Gulu is slated to receive approximately
USD 2.3 million in PRDP funds for 2009.

PRDP Implementation: Show Us the Money

4. GOU delays in disbursing PRDP funds contributed to suspicions
over GOU commitment and intentions. Some feared the PRDP was a
government ploy to get donors to fund reconstruction efforts in
northern Uganda, or a political ploy to bolster President Yoweri
Museveni's 2011 presidential re-election bid. The allocation of
approximately USD 650,000 in PRDP funds to Gulu District in northern
Uganda has allayed many of these concerns, as northern Ugandans and
development partners are now cautiously optimistic about the GOU's
commitment to make good on PRDP promises to fund reconstruction of
the north.

PRDP Challenge #1: Funding Transparency

5. While the disbursement of funds to Gulu is good news, serious
challenges remain. One of these challenges is funding. Because PRDP
money comes from a myriad of different donors and budgetary sources,
the funds themselves are difficult to track. There is also confusion
over the actual contributions of individual donors. The USG and
other donors currently disclose their PRDP funding contributions to
the Ministry of Finance. However, this information rarely trickles
down to relevant district and local level stakeholders responsible
for drafting local PRDP development plans.

6. To minimize confusion and avoid overlap, donor partners are
working with the OPM and the Ministry of Finance to consolidate and
analyze funding data, integrate PRDP activities, and ensure that
local stakeholders are aware of the amounts and sources of PRDP
funding affecting their constituencies.

--------------------------------------------- --
Challenge #2: Donor Coordination and Transition
--------------------------------------------- --

7. The GOU is also struggling to coordinate a dizzying array of
intra-governmental stakeholders (i.e. local, district, and national
level government entities), bilateral and multilateral donors, and
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The GOU is also struggling to
define the specific roles and responsibilities of NGOs involved in
PRDP implementation. After providing emergency relief services for
nearly two decades, many humanitarian actors have been slow to
replace these programs with the transitional development services
suitable for post-conflict zones like northern Uganda.

8. Complicating matters further is the traditional reluctance of
many of the NGOs on the ground in northern Uganda to share

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information on their planned activities and budgets with the GOU.
NGOs are sometimes hesitant to disclose this information for fear
that doing so could result in political pressure or increased

Challenge #3: Trust

9. Accountability, both real and perceived, poses another major
hurdle for the PRDP, as many Ugandans believe PRDP money will be
mismanaged by corrupt government officials. To address these valid
concerns, the GOU must monitor, evaluate, and fully report PRDP
progress to ensure accountability for PRDP funds and demonstrate
transparency among stakeholders. The GOU plans to monitor program
progress and sustainability through a variety of oversight
committees and working groups. These groups then report to a
higher-level PRDP Monitoring Committee (PMC), which serves as the
ultimate oversight authority for PRDP resources.

10. The PMC is chaired by the Prime Minister. Members include
relevant Chiefs of Foreign Missions, UN agency heads, host
government Ministers, NGO representatives, Members of Parliament and
Local Chairpersons from districts receiving PRDP funds. The PMC is
charged with enforcing accountability for PRDP resources by
monitoring progress and service delivery to local communities. The
PMC convened for the first time on June 29 in Kampala to discuss
current progress, ongoing challenges to PRDP implementation, and
ways forward.

11. During the PMC meeting, the UN's Resident and Humanitarian
Coordinator Theophane Nikyema commended the GOU for its success
building peace and security in northern Uganda. Nikyema highlighted
the GOU's successful resettlement of internally displaced persons,
noting that 77% of these are no longer in IDP camps. He emphasized
the need to coordinate among stakeholders and be transparent; engage
NGOs, civil society, and private sector partners in PRDP
implementation; and recognize the special needs of Karamoja in
north-eastern Uganda.

12. The Prime Minister's Office then outlined next steps for the
PMC, which include analyzing development partner contributions,
finalizing an operational plan, and hashing out a monitoring and
evaluation mechanism for district resource management. The PMC's
next meeting is scheduled for December 2009.

In Northern Uganda, Skepticism Remains

13. Several Parliamentarians from northern Uganda expressed
skepticism during a July 2009 PRDP stakeholder's workshop hosted by
the Greater North Parliamentary Forum (GNPF) and USAID's LINKAGES
project. The GNPF and USAID organized the workshop to exchange
information and present different stakeholder perspectives on PRDP
implementation. Many speakers praised the PRDP's progress since its
2007 inception and expressed optimism for the PRDP's future
potential. However, they also acknowledged the challenges to PRDP
implementation and recognized that the PRDP still has a long way to
go. Discussions focused generally on the need for vertical and
horizontal coordination, donor transparency, local and district
leadership, community ownership of PRDP projects, oversight and
accountability, and gender mainstreaming.

14. Concern over the direction and transparency of the PRDP is also
evident within civil society. The USAID supported "A Stake in Our
Future" (ASIOF) project - which aims to strengthen both GOU capacity
to deliver peacebuilding projects in northern communities and local
community capacity to hold the government accountable for these
projects - presented a report on the status of PRDP implementation
at a June 26 PRDP National Sharing Event to engage civil society
members in the PRDP discussion. The most commonly reported
challenges to PRDP implementation included lack of sufficient
knowledge of the PRDP in local communities; fear of corruption among
government officials; generally negative attitudes toward the
government; fear of future war if and when rebels return to northern
Uganda; inadequate staffing at the district and sub-district level
to implement PRDP; poor leadership of district officials; ongoing
land disputes among returning IDPs; and difficulties in coordination
between governmental and non-governmental actors.

15. The ASIOF report concluded that PRDP implementation is being
hampered by insufficient funding and widespread confusion across
sectors. The report recommended greater information sharing,
increased legislative oversight, improved local government and
central government accountability, greater strategic planning among
civil society organizations, and more local participation in

KAMPALA 00001139 003 OF 003

governance efforts and PRDP implementation. The report warned that
unless commitment to and attitudes toward PRDP implementation
improve, the PRDP risks following in the footsteps of other failed
northern Uganda recovery efforts.

IDPs and the PRDP: More Challenges

16. In July, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General
(SRSG) for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Walter Kalin noted
significant progress in recovery efforts and the resettlement of IDP
populations in northern Uganda. He commended PRDP efforts to date,
but cautioned the GOU against placing too much emphasis on
"hardware" (buildings and infrastructure) and too little emphasis on
"software" (staff, accommodations, supplies, and maintenance of
these facilities). He highlighted food security and donor
coordination as ongoing challenges to recovery efforts in the north.

17. Moving forward, Kalin suggested improving coordination between
district and national governments, providing greater UN and NGO
support for District Development Plans (DDPs), and focusing on
extremely vulnerable individuals and long-term impact in the
recovery process. Most participants agreed that the PRDP is making
slow but steady progress, and that the PRDP has a long way to go to
achieve long-term development and recovery in northern Uganda.

Comment: Glimmers of Hope for the PRDP

18. GOU commitment to the reconstruction of northern Uganda remains
a serious concern for the USG and other donors. GOU recognition of
the need to take increased measures to improve PRDP accountability,
management, and coordination at all levels through the PRDP
Monitoring Committee is a good sign. More needs to be done,
however, to ensure that the PRDP does not go the way of other,
failed attempts to rehabilitate northern Uganda. Perhaps the most
important step toward increasing chances for success is GOU
ownership and responsibility for the PRDP, which is ultimately a
Ugandan government plan. A demonstration of ownership for the PRDP
would ease lingering doubts within partner nations. More
importantly, it would allay continued skepticism among the local
government officials and citizen beneficiaries on the ground in
northern Uganda. The recent disbursement of Ugandan government PRDP
funds to Gulu District marks an important first step in this


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