The Norwegian Government has pledged to continue supporting its existing partnerships and programs with Uganda despite of the looming closure of its Embassy next year.
The assurance was delivered by Her Excellency Anne Kristin Hermansen, the new Ambassador of Norway to Uganda, during a courtesy call at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development headquarters in Kampala on Monday.
The courtesy visit was an occasion to celebrate the fruitful collaboration between the two countries on various projects aimed at promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Ambassador Hermansen’s visit was also an opportunity to address the upcoming closure of the Embassy of Norway in Uganda, which is set to take place in July 2024.
She noted that the closure is only part of a broader restructuring of Norway’s Foreign Service and revealed that the management of development cooperation will continue under the guidance of Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).
On his part, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Aggrey David Kibenge expressed his congratulations to Ambassador Hermansen on her new role and extended a warm welcome to her and the delegation from the Royal Embassy of Norway. He emphasized the importance of the collaboration between the governments of Uganda and Norway and the positive impact it has had on the lives of women and girls in Uganda.
He observed that several significant projects have been supported by the Norwegian government through various entities, including the UNFPA, UN Women, and the Joint Global Trust Fund. He enumerated some of the notable achievements from these projects to include: the Joint Programme on ending Gender-Based Violence (GBV), which has made substantial progress in responding to and preventing GBV, providing a solid foundation for future GBV programs.
He also highlighted the support for the campaign against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) through the Joint Global Trust Fund, which has led to significant reduction in the prevalence of FGM in Uganda; Norway’s support through UN Women for Women, Peace, and Security that has allowed Uganda to develop and implement its National Action Plan III (NAPIII) on the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, benefiting 12 districts and localizing the plan; and the launch of Phase Two of the Women, Peace, and Security Program in May 2023, which further solidified Uganda’s commitment to this agenda.
“Additionally, the Gender Equality for Development (GEfD) Programme, a government-to-government cooperation initiative between Norway and Uganda, has played a vital role in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. This program, which fosters peer-to-peer learning and dialogue, has facilitated multiple missions between the two countries.” The Permanent Secretary noted.
The Commissioner Gender and Women Affairs, Angela Nakafeero, who also attended the meeting, pointed out that capacity building for gender mainstreaming, including training in gender statistics and gender mainstreaming, has been a crucial component of the collaboration.
“These efforts are empowering government institutions and helping them integrate gender considerations into their policies and programs.” She said.
She revealed that as a result of the productive collaboration under the GEfD Programme, a 10-member Ugandan delegation will embark on a learning visit to Norway in the coming year to explore early childhood care and development practices.
Kibenge emphasized that the Ugandan government looks forward to continued collaboration as they work on the Fourth National Development Plan, plan for the Third National Women Leaders Forum in 2024, implement the GEfD, and strengthen efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
The ambassador said the Embassy will support a smooth transition, ensuring that ongoing programs receive the necessary attention and guidance until the closure in July 2024.