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Localizing the MDGs
Definition: The process of localising the MDGs • the disaggregation of nationally adjusted global goals at the sub-national and local levels, combined with capacity development for strategic planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring in a systematic and integrated manner, is relatively new • Nationally defined targets and development strategies are being translated and adopted to meet developmental needs of local communities in various countries. • The MDGs may be global targets, but they need to be addressed locally at the national and sub-national levels, • the exercise of localising the MDGs implies that subnational actors and institutions have a fundamental role to play if the MDGs are seriously taken as an opportunity to improve people’s lives. • This capacity to address the MDGs is inextricably linked with how governmental policies perceive local level needs.
THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR LOCALIZING THE MDGS • localizing the MDGs does not suggest the invention or reinvention of another new goal framework. • ‘localizing the MDGs’ is the process of aligning the existing MDG goals and targets to local contexts i. e. reshaping and restating the goals as they apply to local development contexts and relate to local development challenges • Another clarification is required vis-à-vis the term ‘local. ’ • ‘local’ is a relative concept and may well mean ‘national’ when viewed from the global perspective; • it may mean ‘district’ when viewed from the national perspective; • it may mean ‘village’ when viewed from the district perspective.
CORE PRINCIPLES UNDERPINNING THE PROCESS OF LOCALIZING THE MDGS • Process is owned and led by the community. • Key drivers, i. e. the political will for achieving the goals are translated into actionable interventions. • Space and opportunities for civil society’s organizations and the private sector engagement is available and supported. • The needs (that the goals represent) are defined and prioritized by the community. • Assessments are qualitative as well as quantitative. • Mainstreaming issues of gender, human rights and social inclusion is essential if we are to achieve equity and equality. • All stakeholders are involved. • Partnerships are actively sought. • Ensuring the centrality of aid coordination, fiscal decentralization and public-private partnerships.
AN INTEGRATED FRAMEWORK FOR MDG ACTIONS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL When it comes to the ‘how’ of localizing the MDGs, there are four main categories for consideration: • Advocacy and Learning for the MDGs. • MDG-Based Strategic Planning. • Resources for achieving the MDGs. • Management and monitoring of Implementation.
A) Advocacy and Learning for the MDGs • Enhancing awareness on the MDGs and the international commitments for development. • Generating knowledge products and codifying case studies to provide an adequate diagnostic of the status of the MDG and challenges faced in progress. • Advocacy on the importance of capacity development strategies that must accompany this effort, including in the facilitation of multi stakeholder engagement. • Exchanges on the principles and mechanisms of mainstreaming issues of gender, human rights, conflict resolution and others as underpinning the MDGs. • Sharing and access to information regarding experiences and expertise available, locally and globally, to support this effort. • Training in the use of operational guidelines such as ‘how to’ guides, tools and methodologies.
B) • • • MDG-Based Strategic Planning Preparatory meetings for agreement on objectives, implementation strategy and needs for MDG-based local planning processes. Conducting capacity assessments and needs assessments. Engaging in data collection and analysis, including disaggregation of data by gender, locality and ethnicity etc. Consultations on the adaptation of MDG targets and indicators; and agreement on the set of appropriate local level indicators to monitor and track the progress of the MDGs. MDGR formulated through CSO consultations. formulation of local level MDG based development plans. Capacity development interventions incorporated in MDG-based strategic plans and budgets. Analysis of decentralisation and devolution systems and structures, including legal and regulatory frameworks. Strengthening inter-sectoral coordination mechanisms and support for integrated sector planning. Negotiating and establishing clear national-local level linkages in the planning, budget and feedback processes (upstream-downstream linkages). Community action Plans. Introducing or facilitating mechanisms and processes for community monitoring and evaluation.
C) Managing and Monitoring Implementation • Enabling legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks to facilitate multi stakeholder engagement in monitoring and implementation of MDG actions. • Strengthening institutions and networks of service delivery agents, and facilitating supply chain management through transparent procurement services. • Deepening local project management capacities, introducing techniques for efficient financial monitoring and accounting, as well as leadership and change management. • Facilitating community dialogue and mutual accountability mechanisms that act in watch dog roles to oversee appropriate use of funds and achievement of desired results. • Enhancing capacities of civil society organizations and associations to increase their participation in policy development, implementation, monitoring and review. • Skills and systems for local government administration in process facilitation, to work effectively with civil society and other partners.
D) Resources for Achieving the MDGs • Advisory services to manage fiscal decentralisation at national and local levels. • Enabling dialogue and coordination mechanisms with donors at sub national levels. • Analysis, advocacy and directing of international and domestic private sector flows, to benefit the MDGs. • Study of the fiscal space available at local level, and linkages to national level policy dialogue in this area.
Step 5: Monitoring and review, with feedback to national and local decision making and dialogue processes Step 1: Advocacy, dialogue and learning/traini ng processes initiated Localizing the MDGs Step 2: Data gathering and analysis; capacity and needs assessments; and MDGR formulated Step 4: Managing and implementati on of MDG programmes / local initiatives Step 3: CD actions for MDG planning and programme formulation; MDG based local plans developed
framework for localizing the MDGs Advocacy and Learning Underlying Principles for localizing the MDGs: C A P A C I T Y D E V E L O P M E N T Managing and Monitoring Implementation §Process is owned and led by the community §Key drivers most prominently the political will for achieving the goals are translated into actionable interventions §Space and opportunities for civil society’s organizations and the private sector engagement is available and supported §The needs (that the goals represent) are defined and prioritized by the community §Assessments are qualitative as well as quantitative §Mainstreaming issues of gender, human rights and social inclusion is essential if we are to achieve equity and equality §All stakeholders are involved §Partnerships are actively sought §Ensuring the centrality of aid coordination, fiscal decentralization and public-private partnerships. Resources for the MDGs MDG-Based Strategic Planning
THE CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT NEXUS • for each of the proposed actions for localizing the MDGs, the question of the ‘capacity for what, and for whom’ is key. • Achieving the MDGs at the local level requires prioritising a two-pronged capacity development (CD) approach: • a) CD for local administration of decentralised policy, programmes and procedures; and • b) CD for enhancing multi stakeholder engagement in the localisation process, to deliver the necessary development results. • CD centres on engaging different arms of local government, domestic business and civil society in decision making, • enhancing its ability to design, deliver and monitor policies. • administrative capacities and fiscal management.
THE CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT NEXUS • Without good governance at the local level focusing on information flows, and transparency and accountability for resources, the localizing process will be flawed. • Improvement in local capacities, cannot function without a cooperative enabling environment. • In localizing the MDGs, an effective entry point is the assessment of the capacities of local government administration, domestic private sector and civil society’s organizations to play their respective and often complementary roles, from oversight, to service delivery. • The results of such an assessment point to the capacity assets and the capacity needs required in that locality to address the MDG challenge.
Measuring Capacity Development Impact – What are We Looking For? • To obtain and use disaggregated data and capture such in MDGR (or equivalent) analysis. • To introduce longer term visioning and strategising into the planning process. • To unify concepts and methodologies across sectors and institutions that underpins an integrated approach to MDGbased local planning. • To enable a more sustained financial framework for the MDGs at local level, and a transparent and inclusive budgeting and public expenditure management process. • To enable multi-stakeholder engagement in the MDG dialogue and results oversight process. • To intensify learning and exchanges among localities to ensure knowledge spread on good practices. • To better utilise the comparative strengths of partners, including the roles of the private sector, donors and others, towards achieving the MDGs.
LESSONS LEARNT AND WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN LOCALIZING THE MDGS • Process and substance are equally important. Allocate more time on getting the inter sector and multi stakeholder processes right. • Invest more upfront for both short term and longer term capacity development. Local ownership, empowerment and capacity development are intrinsically linked. • Increase national and sub national awareness and mobilization around the MDGs, to ensure political support for the essential national-local linkages required. Without political commitment among leaders at national and local levels, these interventions have little space to succeed. • Introduce learning and experiences from other countries and regions, on the results of fiscal and administrative decentralisation. If there is no intent to support decentralisation, focus there first.
LESSONS LEARNT AND WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN LOCALIZING THE MDGS • Institutionalize civic engagement in policy development, implementation, monitoring and review. Informal consultation and feedback mechanisms can only go so far. Invest in leaders willing to drive these processes. • Strengthen local-level institutional development through improving procedures and practices (for human resource and performance management, budgeting and public expenditure procurement and internal controls), to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency and accountability of local bodies to their local clients. Without these early investments in local institution change management, little can happen on the implementation and monitoring of local plans and programmes.
LESSONS LEARNT AND WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN LOCALIZING THE MDGS • Prioritise investments in institutions of service delivery – at the heart of each MDG is the equitable and sustained provision of essential goods and services to the poor. • Codify local knowledge and promote learning and experience sharing at local levels. This is time consuming and the positive results are not always seen immediately, but history shows we learn from the past and we learn from each other. • Protect and promote those willing to innovate. The MDGs are only a reality when adapted to local needs and creative ways to get to them must be a part of the local public dialogue.
LESSONS LEARNT AND WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN LOCALIZING THE MDGS • One of the biggest challenges is the absence of data at the local level. While there is adequate data at the national level, it is not easy to extrapolate such to the local level. Capacity development of the national department of statistics and its representatives at the local level in collecting disaggregating data, and in using interim proxy measures is essential. • Never underestimate the power of advocacy and repeat advocacy. There is still a significant lack of awareness and knowledge on MDGs, especially at the local level. It is not clear how nationally defined targets can be translated and adopted to meet developmental needs of local communities; how local development strategies and action plans relate to the MDGs; and what mechanisms should be adopted to implement and monitor progress towards the achievement of the MDGs at the local level.
LESSONS LEARNT AND WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN LOCALIZING THE MDGS • • • The politics of internal disparities and discriminations must be addressed, albeit treading on politically sensitive ground. Even where national averages are achieved, countries must address internal country disparities. This is sometimes subsumed by the politics of minorities, whether of gender, class or ethnicity. The global and national debates around different standards used in collecting or analyzing data, and measurement indicators, find themselves also present in articulating MDG indicators at the local level. One example is the poverty baseline, which differs in different countries. Agreement on indicators and the use of a single or multiple methodologies takes negotiation skill and time. Regular consultative sessions engaging civil society organizations, the private sector and local government representatives are an essential element of the process, at every step. However, the need to be clear on what it is that ensures that such stakeholders invest their time and energies to this endeavour must be understood and addressed, if to sustain commitment and engagement. These incentives do not have to be monetary, but they must be a part of the process.
Forward Looking • Localizing the MDGs is the way ahead, and there is a need for both UNDP and governments to reinforce and support this process and to establish national/local linkages. • Inclusive Approaches: There is a need to work with other counterparts and stakeholders, the donor community, NGOs, the UN system, government, civil society, etc. • Coordination: There is a need for much more coordination between governments and UN agencies on the one hand, and among UN agencies and with the donor community on the other. • Capacity development is essential to ensure the success of the process. Capacity needs required are multifaceted including econometric capacities, capacities for planning and implementation, capacities for monitoring and evaluation, data capacities, judicial reform, decentralization, and regionalization. • Governance: reinforcing good governance is a must for achieving the MDGs.
challenges in terms of the methods/approaches and processes to achieve these, for example: • What Capacities: the need to build up local and regional capacities should be one of the main areas of intervention of UNDP in the near future. • Knowledge Sharing: the need to exchange experiences both good and bad. This is not only about south-south cooperation, but also about the mechanisms of sharing and cooperation which needs to be taken on board. • Monitoring and evaluation: the issue of support to monitoring and evaluation. Who does monitoring and evaluation and at what level> • National/Local linkages: there is a misunderstanding between counterparts about regional planning and national master planning. How do we move back and forth between the national and local levels? The differentiated type of interventions is not taken into account.
challenges in terms of the methods/approaches and processes to achieve these, for example: • MDG Approaches: another issue is related to the process of achieving the MDGs: do we have one MDG approach for all countries, or can we model that approach within LDC, MIC and net contributor countries to reflect context specificities? • Mainstreaming HRBA: there is a broad agreement on the importance of HRBA’s application; however, the process has not been explored enough. Certainly from the UNDP side, there has been an emphasis on the right to development. There are duty-bearer issues that need to be considered and explored more in depth. • The role of funding and financing: for a variety of reasons, financing is not always available in the quantities that are required. Some countries do not get the ODA that they need. How can both UNDP and governments move into a whole different type of relationship with donors?
Key Interventions towards the Attainment of the MDGs: • MDG Advocacy • Phasing of MDG awareness raising and advocacy targeting decision makers, including MPs and civil society organizations, to generate national commitment to MDG goals and targets. • Differentiating advocacy approaches and depth of messages based on client groups and timing • MDG Policies • Introducing pro-poor macro-economic polices aimed at reducing income gap, generating economic growth and mobilizing investments for the MDGs • More integrated sectoral policies, strategies and programmes aimed at poverty eradication or MDGs gaps in specific sectors • Cross-sectoral thematic policies and strategies to maximize impact on equity and sustainability
Key Interventions towards the Attainment of the MDGs: • MDG Planning • Strategic planning capacities for MDG-based national planning and resource allocation for poverty eradication and targeted plans for specific MDGs gap areas. • Capacity development for localizing the MDGs and engaging the States, citizens and civil societies for the attainment of the MDGs. • MDGs Costing and Financing • Methodologies and application of estimations of resources needed for the implementation of priority interventions to guide national resource allocation and to identify financing gaps for resource mobilization. • Different resources of financing for the MDGs: reallocation of existing budgets, fiscal space/deficit financing, redirecting FDI; intra-regional transfers, etc.
Key Interventions towards the Attainment of the MDGs: • MDG Monitoring • Identification of appropriate indicators for national and local levels (i. e. MDG plus). • Establishment of systems for poverty and MDGs monitoring, including strengthening of the national statistical systems. • MDG Implementation • A focus on capacities for transparency, accountability and inclusion as well as access to justice and rule of law. • Emphasis on decentralization and local capacity development for effective planning and monitoring of poverty and the MDGs • Prioritizing national and local capacity development for effective management and delivery of goods and services to the people • Capacity development for sustainable economies by improving trade and investments’ climate and by strengthening local productive capacities.
Case Study 1. Why should countries bother to integrate the MDGs into their planning process? Most countries have sophisticated planning mechanisms. What is the difference if they imbed the MDGs into national plans? 2. Why should we consider issues of capacity development? Why should we have strategic plans? Are they relevant to really address all the different needs in your daily work? 3. Why focus on the sub-national level? Why move away from the national level? 4. As a person in charge of ensuring the planning and attainment of MDG goals and targets, what would you prioritize as the most important a) a national MDG strategy and b) localizing the MDGs for your country given the experiences shared and lessons learnt? 5. What actions are required to ensure policy coherence between national and local plans and initiatives? 6. What actions would you identify for support by the UNDP and international community in the two areas above?
Guiding answers 1 • When we look at the responses from governments, civil society and the private sector, there are three commonly produced answers: • It is terribly difficult to break the cycle of long-term planning; therefore, the MDGs provide an investment and vision to help in the planning. • If the MDGs are broken down to indicators and targets, then it is possible to measure progress. Impeding the indicators of the MDGs facilitate measuring progress against defined goals and timelines • The MDGs provide a common ground for negotiation between citizens and the state at the local level
Guiding answers 2 • • It is the skills of strategic planning that provides the basis for dialogue, implementation, monitoring and feedback. It is a loop in the way you carry out this work. Strategic planning is familiar to those working within planning ministries, but this is a skill set that is more needed at the district and community level Capacity development for strategic planning allows you to integrate across sectors and institutions, a common cross functional sets of dialogue, regardless of where you are, it is a functional capacity that makes sense to all sectors The reality of the fact that none of us have enough energy and resources that are established in the national and local plans, strategic planning allows for phasing investments and prioritizing for resource allocations, short quick wins that will have long term impact.
Guiding answers 3 – – – Just like global averages on the MDGs mask regional and national disparities, MDGs and other national targets hide disparities at sub-national and local levels. If these discrepancies and disparities are not tackled, and we remain operating only at the national level, much is not achieved. There is a need to disaggregate data at the sub national level as well as provide responses that address the discrepancies at that level. If we do not articulate the needs and priorities at the sub national level then our plans are academic and without substance. The need to articulate plans at the sub national level should be the crux of the planning process. The sub national and grass root involvement is where the citizens voices are heard. We have to allow formal and informal mechanisms that capture the demands and concerns of citizens. Therefore, there is increasingly the need to really capture these local processes and interactions, and integrate them into development work and planning.
Question 4 • • Formulation of strategies at the national level that identify development priorities at the national and comprehensive level, out of which a preparation of strategies at the local level taking into consideration the specificities and priorities for each region/locality. Other Suggestions Strategic Planning at the Central Level since this is built on addressing gaps and priorities at all levels and that identifies national indicators, linked with an evaluation at the local level that would lead to strategic planning at the local level that identifies local specificities that translate the national planning frameworks. There has to be a national strategy and decentralization strategies, priorities should be to work on parallel especially in terms of poverty strategies to address regional disparities and poverty pockets. Where should the planning process be. There has to be a national strategy to outline the broad framework and to have an overview of the regional disparities. AT the same time, each locality should prepare its own strategy What are the priorities Work should be parallel at both central and local levels There is a mutually relation where the center should not be separate from the local There are differences between the central and the local
Question 5 • Participatory approaches in planning and programmes including civil society organizations and the private sector • Polling surveys and needs assessment and databases • Institutionalization and strengthening of the localizing process and methodologies • Capacity development in strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, preparation of strategies and programmes, identification of priorities, modeling at the national, local and sub-sector • Development of knowledge products including manuals, how-to -guides and sharing of best practices and knowledge • Support decentralization: such as support to municipalities; an examination of the legal frameworks, capacity development of local authorities in planning, prioritization, and implementation of participatory approaches (civil society organizations, etc. ) • Building partnerships and networking internally and externally to support developmental interventions.
Question 6 • • • • Financing and financing sources Capacity development interventions on strategic planning, localizing the MDGs at the local and national level Workshops for sharing best practices, knowledge products/concept notes, study tours, etc. Capacity development in macroeconomics, financial programming and economic modeling To learn from the international experiences for best practices and knowledge sharing. South-south and north/south, and to use from worst practices and what worked/what did not work Enhance coordination among international organizations To capitalize on the national human resources Facilitate technology transfer Human-rights based approach to development Coordination and avoiding duplication in the international programmes supporting the MDGs processes and interventions Adoption of integrated participatory approach to development Practical application of all of the above Facilitating processes of evaluation and monitoring that support local planning processes and technology transfers and tools. Support regional planning to facilitate localizing the MDGs Support to monitoring and evaluation of the MDGs and other planning processes including establishing systems, training, implementation, database, systems for corrections at different levels, etc. Sustainability in interventions
As UNDP • • • What would be a prioritized set of specific UNDP actions and projects to support the MDGs in a) LDC country and b) MIC country? What specific actions can UNDP undertake to increase capacities in country offices to help them in undertaking the above in the coming 2 years? How can we better align country and regional programmes to support the above?
As UNDP • • • Country Specificities: There is a need to take into consideration the specificities of countries and grouping of countries into LDCs, MIC, etc. It is difficult to have a uniform approach for all Arab countries due to specificities of the countries. In some, there is a need to initiate localizing the MDGs and capacity development on strategic planning. In others, the focus should be on governance issues, especially in middle income countries, however for LDCs, it is important to focus on poverty as an entry point. National Ownership: How can we ensure ownership by countries of the MDG processes? For example, at the policy level there is a detachment between the macroeconomic components proposed by the World Bank in the PRSP from the socio-economic components proposed by Ministries of Planning. It is important to engage in a dialogue between the ministries of finance and planning at the national level in order to ensure coherence in policies and approaches toward the PRSP process. To a large extent UNDP has succeeded in providing a framework for national ownership of the MDG process in many countries. Issues of accountability and commitment: How can you ensure accountability and that commitment? The government in Egypt came up with a social development committee to see the big picture. Is there anything like this in other countries? The MDGs are a political tool, which provides citizens with a set of performance measurements to monitor governments’ performance; therefore they are both advocacy and political tools.
As UNDP • Governance Issues: For the LDCs countries, there is a need for planning frameworks because they don't have the capacities to maintain them. The issue of good governance comes before MDGs, because without this, the MDGs are just propaganda. Most countries have signed human rights declarations, however application remains very weak (i. e torture of journalists, lack of participation, etc. ). There is a need for UNDP to build strong partnerships with donors such as the World Bank, etc. which can assist in helping the governments to fight issues of corruption, transparency, etc. • Upstream/downstream linkages: It is the intervention at the lower level that is important. There needs to be a direct relation, triangle between who is providing the funding, who is implementing the project, and UNDP. Not all countries have the same allocation policies. But once a policy of supporting MDGs is put into place, UNDP needs to start working at other levels. Budget areas are selected. But you can influence where to intervene based on MDG needs; therefore, it is important to facilitate this link. The need for horizontal as well as vertical linkages is critical and this is an area where UNDP can be a major actor, and broker a dialogue between the national and local levels.
• • As UNDP Capacity deficits: There is a need to have a framework to achieve the MDGs, where the MDGs are situated within a national framework. Issues of capacity deficits are a big challenge. It is not an issue of sustainability when depending on one source of growth but the perception of funding challenges is always highlighted although in many cases it is not the issue. The need for capacity development in incorporating the MDGs into development planning so they do not stand alone as a separate process is critical. Since countries commitment to the MDGs as their responsibilities, the role of UNDP should be in helping to improve their ability to plan, target and achieve the MDGs. Financing Issues: Although there has been an increase in ODA, it has not been channeled to the UN system, and not necessarily to the LDCs. Much of it has gone to debt relief, but most of it for very specific political issues. Much of the funding is through bilateral channels. You get an increasing role of UN as a broker between those with money. It is increasing the marginalization of the UN as a funder, and hopefully increasing the role of the UN as a broker. On the link between MDGs and CD, and with regard to the role of programmes such as C 2015, one way to tackle this is to break open the black box of the MDGs. For example, to focus on MDG 8, as an issue related to funding, indebtedness (both international and local to national). With MDG 8, we can change the dynamic between center and local. Goal 8 is very critical. The work that UNDP does revolves around MDG policy and advocacy. How do you blend the technical and political part? If you play with projected savings you come up with other projections and it changes the political message. We should be helping the countries come up with a message for the donors. On the regional level we are not doing this well enough.
As UNDP • Issues of Targets and Indicators: Whether the MDGs targets and indicators are minimum standards to be achieved, or whethere is some flexibility. • Statistical Gaps: A necessary issue in our work is a lack of data and information. There is a need to invest in statistical capacities. If there are gaps in data, it will be detrimental to all of our development work. In order to embed the MDGs into policy frameworks, there is a need to have some kind of framework and identification of the order and magnitude of those needs, in conjunction with what kind of fiscal space is available. This is part of supporting the planning process. When it is done for the sake of doing it, it is done as a parallel process.
As UNDP • • • UNDP’s Focus: a concern about the coherence and the quality of UNDP’s interventions. It seems that there are two different approaches being applied by UNDP: in come cases, the focus is on integrating the MDGs into national planning, and others the MDGs are taken as a separate process. Why are we talking about MDGs achievement in the LDCs? The MDGs are written with the LDCs in mind as a minimum. They should be able to meet them. And the MICs should be able to go much further. If as UNDP we don't have a common approach, how can we work in the same country? There is a need for UNDP to come up with a unified UNDP’s position on a host of issues, and clear mechanisms of supporting this. What is the precise role of UNDP? As a broker in dialogue, a provider of policy advice, or an advocacy role? There is a need to have a clear framework, then a methodology and approaches, and indicators, etc. There is also a need for practice notes that assist in guiding the process of intervention and a common corporate strategy. UN Coordination: there is a need to think about UN as a whole, and the relationship between different agencies for an effective implementation of the MDGs. Various agencies are working on MDG-related interventions without effective coordination among them. MDG Follow-up: It is easier to see it from the local level, where the MDGs and MDGR are seen as a step toward greater development in the region. CD at all levels is important, and UNDP has a niche here. However, in many cases, MDGRs are produced without any mechanisms in place for follow-up.