The 2019 high-level political forum under the auspices of ECOSOC took place in New York from 9–18 July 2019 under the theme, “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. The following Sustainable Development Goals were reviewed: Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, Goal 13: Climate Action, Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

This year, 51 States submitted their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), including several countries with indigenous peoples.

Our Team Leader, Mr. Patrick Mwesigye was honored to join the Ugandan delegation to the HLPF and he participated in the negotiation even though Uganda was not officially reporting. Patrick, together with other CSO members contributed to the development of Uganda’s statement, that the Ugandan delegation used to contribute to the HLPF 2019 negotiations. Particularly, Patrick advocated for the Ugandan government to increase investments in the education sector and work towards ensuring that schools are safe and violent free for all students including boys and girls and provide quality services. He informed the Ugandan delegation made up Members of Parliament and officials from the office of the prime minister and various other line ministries and government departments that to improve the quality of education, there is a need to invest more in infrastructure especially for government-aided rural schools, enhance staff motivation through better salaries and benefits and ensure that schools have in place the required scholastic materials. He also called for more opportunities to encourage girls to take up science and technology subjects, like introducing scholarship schemes for girls who undertake sciences related subjects. Patrick also informed the delegation that, many girls continue to drop out of school due to poverty, teenage pregnancies, and forced child marriages as a result of cultural pressure. He called on the government of Uganda and the UN members states to prioritize, development adoption and implementation of school health and school gender equality policies to mainstream issues of health and gender in the education sector to be able to address the rising health and gender-related challenges students face.

Additionally, Patrick was also happy on behalf of the She Decides movement to engage in a briefing with a group of parliamentarians from the UK to discuss the global state of SRHR in the context of ICPD+25. The briefing organized by Global Citizens brought together a team from UNFPA’s global suppliers, policy, and strategy and resource mobilization departments, UK parliamentarians and representatives from the house of Lords, Global Citizen teams from New York and London office and young people from Uganda and Brazil. Patrick was also lucky to speak at the briefing emphasizing the need for the UK to increase its investments to fill up the gap for UNFPA’s reproductive health supplies. Patrick shared experiences from Uganda where oftentimes, the country has faced shortages of condoms and other contraceptives and how this has an effect on the hard-won gains of reductions in HIV infections and unwanted pregnancies.