Talk:E-Discussion DG & MDGs: Phase II

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Please see below for comments and contributions to Phase I of the e-discussion.

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Contents

 Nigeria: Henry Ekwuruke

Henry Ekwuruke, Programme Coordinator, Development Generation Africa International (DGAi); Nigeria
I am very happy to hear progress made in this discussion to a point that I feel inspired to contribute.

It has been a nice and innovative session in here, but I think we still lack the drive and energy of the youth on the subject matter. In a true democratic governance setting, we see leadership that is working and in leadership, we see the emergence of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua of Nigeria at the World Economic Forum in Davos, 2008 made a bold statement that I will quote: "For us in Africa, the achievement of the MDGs is our sacred duty." "One of the major challenges in Africa is the infrastructure gap that is one of the key enablers of the achievement of the MDGs. " "It is right that..., we tell the truth that there is a development emergency and that we must summon everyone in a call to action to take measures to meet the MDGs by 2015," said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

These are two leaders that are coming from the Southern and Northern Hemisphere to speak on how democracy and leadership can achieve the MDGs. I believe with them, but it is our belief at the Development Generation Africa International (DGAi) that: "No president, no king, no emperor, nobody is going to achieve the Millennium Development Goals except the people, powered by young people."

What can young people do. The world is waiting for the young people to stand up and we are ready, already in Abia State, Nigeria, youth have started to engage government on their developmental goals and deversing entry points and making inputs. At the national level, we have joined the campaign to enthrone good governance and fight corruption. We think that there is no us and them, but 'partnership' with all is 'partnership' for the achievement of the MDGs. With their words, we have monitored progress, and recorded achievements and failure. We are continuing... with your support.

There is a lot to do by us, as we have identified creativity and innovative thinking as a panacea against poverty and the achievement of the MDGs in a democratic society. We need infrastructure!

India: Sunil Gautam

Sunil Gautam, Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, India

Dear Friends,
Glad that such a question has been raised. I think it's the most pertinent question particularly in the context of developing countries like India which is very diverse and a large sections suffer from all kinds deprivations, be it nutrition, health, education, gender disparity etc. The most disturbing factor is that suffering populations come historically from some particularly communities like Dalits (ex-untouchables ), Tribal and minorities and this is all evident from national data base available with government and development agencies. I would like to respond to the first query.

Challenges in identifying sectoral champions/change agents, innovators representing the disadvantaged communities-
One should agree with me that an interesting fact about these communities is that they have historically been discriminated and excluded from many spheres of development. The disadvantages are so deep rooted that activists/civil society led by these community leaders have focused more on their civil and political rights and its not really surprising because they fight for their space in the society. There are very few organizations led by these communities that focus on development rights like health, nutrition, education, employment etc. Another disturbing factor is that these organizations are not considered mainstream champions of development rather they are considered as political representative of their respective communities.

These communities have vast amount of knowledge with them. The social distances between dominant and these disadvantaged communities are very well known. This has led to ill provision of development services to them if available. The knowledge which these communities have, are not normally utilized in order to understand them and this can be attributed to the traditional social distances. The entry of organizations/individuals of marginalized communities into the development rights is a recent phenomenon. The MDGs have compelled development thinkers to think that without taking disadvantaged communities together no MDG can be achieved. The achievement MDGs also would require to strengthen these organizations through enhancement of their capacities and resource facilitations.

The most visible challenges in identifying these champions come from the people at decision making positions who come from dominant sections of society because there is nobody in the development agencies to advocate for the cause of deprived communities. It's possible only if we have inclusive organizations with greater representation of marginalized communities. There is a strong need to audit the organizations based on the equity of representations. Only through this, marginalized voices could be heard.

Ethiopia: Girma B Hailu

Girma B Hailu, MDG Support Country Advisor; UNDP Ethiopia

Dear Colleagues.

Thank you very much for providing us the platform for sharing views and experiences on this critical and provocative agenda. Looking at the last seven and half year progresses towards MDGs, particularly in sub-Saharan African countries, it is imperative and fundamental to re-look and rethink approaches and implementations towards the achievement of MDGs and ensuring sustainable development.

Within the broader framework of Promoting Democratic Governance/Participatory Development for better achievement of MDGs, and ensuring effective and sustainable development, for this particular discussion, I will focus my discussion on the need for and value addition of innovations/alternatives and NGOs/CSOs-government partnership with particular reference to my own publication on the same subject.

In this constantly changing environment, today’s world is not same as a world before five or ten years. So it is indispensable to introduce innovation and the way we do business to respond to those changing socio-economic, political and natural environment circumstances. I argue that if governments promote participatory development/democratic governance and if NGOs/CSOs are devoted for development, put right mechanisms to make differences and develop harmonious relationship with government, development impacts will be much higher than outcomes under non-inclusive governance system.

Shared objectives and the quality of relationship are central to establish and continue effective partnership. Other things remain the same, both governments’ and development NGOs/CSOs’ mission statements are very much loaded by common objectives i.e. poverty alleviation and sustainable development. The quality of the relationship and mutual trust between governments and NGOs/CSOs is fundamental to the achievement of shared objectives. Clark (1991) pointed that if government has a positive agenda on the contribution of NGOs/CSOs and on what they have shown impacts, it is likely that they enter into strong partnership, and thus smoothen and speed up scaling up efforts towards common agendas. Likewise, Fowler points out that the scale of NGOs development impact is very much determined by their relationship with government and much more than the volume of their resources (Fowler, 1991).

NGOs/CSOs often test out new approaches and start small, unlike governments who mostly launch large scale and sector-wide programmes. Despite their increased number, enhanced understanding of the issues of poverty and growing engagement in a wider range of development agendas, so far, they could not bring about a far reaching impact. Even when their initiatives become successful, they usually remain small, especially compared to the scale of the challenges of poverty. Their success only becomes sustainable or reaches significant scale if they influence national development. And thus, democratic governance or participatory development is central and means to scale up good/best practices, better use of resources and implementation of programmes and making differences.

My study indicates that NGOs are better positioned to test out new initiatives and come up with ‘good practices’ that can be scalable and significantly contribute to the achievement of the MDGs. This potential contributions and roles of NGOs can best be realized under the democratic governance system which is characterized by:

  • Increasing space for testing new initiatives
  • Promoting decentraized policy,
  • Recognizing the role of NGOs,
  • Increasing space for participation of NGOs/CSOs,
  • Enhancing relationship and Trust,
  • Defining/agreeing on shared agenda,

While government being central and primary actor to promote democratic governance/participatory development, NGOs/CSOs need transformation and be strategic to enhance their development impacts. To be an effective agent of poverty reduction, NGOs/CSOs need to cast their eyes, beyond the structure in which their micro-work takes place. For better participation and contribution in the participatory development/ inclusive leadership system, NGOs/CSOs need to develop capabilities in:

  • Generating evidence of good-practices through research,
  • Linking their micro level engagements to macro or policy advocacy work,
  • Institutionalizing and exercising open, transparent, accountable and learning system,
  • Actively participating in the governance system, networks, forums, alliances, movement and articulating and advocating the interest and priorities of the poor and marginalized group,
  • Enhancing quality relationship with governments and other stakeholders,

Consistent to the development objectives, cooperation among the various development actors becomes a necessity to effectively address and respond to the development problem. NGOs/CSOs are one of the growing actors and agents of development with accumulated substantial experience in development works at micro and macro levels. In the Ethiopian context, there are a lot of NGOs engaged in wide range of development activities. However, impacts of their intervention are, by and large, limited to their project areas. Like the experience in other parts of the world, scaling up of NGOs ‘good practices’ in a deliberate and strategic way, is very much limited among NGOs in Ethiopia. My study looks at the prospects of achieving MDGs through scaling up good-practices and promoting democratic governance, with closer look at the case of ActionAid Ethiopia’s initiative on the alternative basic education programme which ultimately has become part and parcel of the national education sector programme.

Brief highlight of the case study: Ethiopia has undergone changes in its long-standing national education sector policy. Despite the efforts by government to access basic education to children, donors are increasingly assisting and a number of NGOs are taking part in the delivery and promotion of basic education. In 2002, only 54% (7 million) of the eligible group (referred to as primary school-aged children i.e. 7 – 14 years of age) have accessed basic education (MOE, 2003:5). Over 6 million school-age children were out-of-school in 2002/03 and the large majority of these children were girls.

In recognition of the huge unmet demand to basic education, ActionAid Ethiopia, INGO has introduced an innovative alternative basic education model which later on has become part of the national education sector programme. The contribution of this alternative basic education approach to the attainment of one of the MDGs, achieving access to basic education and ensuring gender equity and current high enrollment rate is so great. The study shows concrete evidence of democratic governance or participatory development as enabling factor for successful implementation and impact of development programmes. As many African countries, particularly SSA are far behind the MDGs targets, governments or policy makers, governments should enhance their partnership with CSOs/NGOs and promote democratic governance for effective implementation and achievement towards MDGs. The attached are brief one pager analytical framework and abstract, and full document of my study.

Hope to get more insights from colleagues on same and other dimensions of inclusive leadership/democratic governance and innovations for better implementation towards the MDGs.

Attached Documents:


Haiti: Djibril Ly

Djibril Ly, Rule of Law Project Coordinator; UNDP Haiti

Dear colleagues 

One of the main challenges in implementing the MDGs is the capacity of the States, the Public entities in general to identify actors to relay national policies and to spearhead mainstream these policies. There are mainly two major constraints that can be pointed out:

  • First, the Poverty Reduction Strategies Papers that should reflect the MDGs into the national Agenda are not systematically detailed to take into consideration all regional and local disparities. In some Countries there is an effort to decentralize the PRSP. But very often, the MDG Agenda is essentially at the centralized level. Decisions makers usually argue that the civil society at large does not have the capacity to deliver. In many cases this may be true. But it should not limit collective efforts to build capacities of NGOs and associations that have the minimum legal prerequisite to exist. Without a clear picture of each regional entity’s need, it is simply difficult to envisage a full participation of religious leaders, local NGOs, local associations, CBOs. If we have to wait till NGOs, Associations etc. come up with technical staff and equipment to undertake particular activities then we will entertain an endless vicious circle. Once a document is designed to take into consideration all requirements within a reasonable timeframe, these entities have to be fully prepared and their capacities strengthened.
    One can therefore be with the view that UNDP could assist Governments to build capacities of NGOs, local associations, religious leaders etc. through a decentralization policy initiated and concluded with the participation of the main actors.
  • Secondly, facilitating public and private entities to be part of the MDGs Agenda requires a constant dialogue with Governments. It’s Governments main responsibility to reduce poverty, generalize health care system, build schools, train teachers, promote healthy and conducive environment etc. In normal circumstances, in a give a little and get a little effort, Governments can provide basic supports to the populace. Now that the international economy shows signs of crisis it will be difficult for many Governments around the word to face their obligations towards achieving the MDGs, hence the need for other public or private actors to support their Governments contribution. There are shared obligations as far as MDGs are concerned. The engagement of public and private actors is a plus with value added. For that to happen, these actors have to be legally recognized and their contribution known. It’s only then that main non state actors can play their role of complementing states efforts. Political parties should in fact be in a better position to support states efforts either if they are ruling or in the opposition. But we know that very often political parties that are in the opposition do not have legal, technical support from their governments. There is therefore need for an advocacy explaining that whatever their status is, a political party is part of the legal and political system. Reviewing the legal frameworks, strengthening capacities of political leaders, facilitating a constant and vibrant dialogue between rulers and oppositions parties can be undertaken by UNDP. Supporting the elaboration of a Code of Conduct between political parties and governments can be an option to consider.
    Many thanks.

Slovakia: Alexandra Windisch-Graetz

Alexandra Windisch-Graetz, Research Assistant - Capacity Development Practice; UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre

Dear colleagues, please allow me to contribute to this very interesting and insightful e-discussion, in an effort to share some thoughts from ongoing capacity development efforts in the Europe and CIS region.

How can we facilitate innovation and strengthen their leadership capacities to pursue an equitable and inclusive approach to MDG based development agenda?
In the quest to achieve national development goals including the MDGs, there is increasing recognition that this can only happen when the goals are translated into actions at the sub-national levels and by active involvement of local actors. Therefore, local government and civil society organizations, especially those representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable, are strategic actors in addressing development challenges and capitalizing on development opportunities at the local level, and developing their capacities for inclusive leadership can have a significant impact on the achievement of development outcomes.

In the Europe and CIS region in particular, many countries have made significant progress in terms of decentralization reforms including the distribution of power, responsibilities and resources that accompany such processes. As a result, local governments’ roles are becoming increasingly more important and versatile, as they are under pressure to manage public resources and to delivery public goods and services effectively, efficiently and in a transparent manner, which is increasingly being done in cooperation with CSOs and the private sector. As such, the local arena offers unique opportunities to fostering ownership of and participation in the local development process. This however demands innovative partnership approaches and leadership capacities on the part of public institutions (to define a vision and to think strategically, to negotiate and manage the change process and to build coalitions of change, to engage effectively with key stakeholders in civil society and the private sector for more transparency, etc) and on the part of civil society (to advocate and engage effectively with citizens and public institutions, to acquire, share and apply knowledge, etc) which must be strengthened.

The Bratislava Regional Centre (BRC) in cooperation with our country offices in this region has been actively working on strengthening the capacities of local leaders to mobilize all stakeholders for integrated local development planning, budgeting and implementation and for improved usage of disaggregated data in local development decision making. A ‘Leadership for Localization of the MDGs’ training program was developed and a training of trainers workshop held in Tashkent in March 2006 (a partnership effort between the BRC Capacity Development and Poverty Practices, UNDP Uzbekistan and LEAD International). Following the training of trainers, and based on the demand of the UNDP Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan country offices, the training program was adapted to national realities and two trainings were delivered for local authorities, civil society and other key stakeholders for selected regions in these countries. Building on these initiatives, a ‘Localizing the MDGs: The Role for Local Leaders and Using Disaggregated Data for Local Development’ training program was developed in 2007, and two trainings delivered for selected regions in Kazakhstan and Armenia. Discussions during the trainings confirmed the need for a rigorous approach to capacity development which promotes endogenous change processes and which develops local leadership capacities as a catalyst for good governance and inclusive development. Efforts at leadership development must be grounded in cultural and historical realities, and can be most effective when they entail a comprehensive approach which goes beyond individual skills building and which fosters partnerships and transparency mechanisms in a sustainable manner.

How can we facilitate the leadership role, and, innovative work of non-state actors (i.e. political parties, faith based organizations, civil society organizations, media, etc.) in the implementation of the MDGs? How can we ensure the inclusion of their effective participation in MDG based development agenda?
Those initiatives which have proven most effective are those where citizens/CSOs have collaborated with public institutions and which have capitalized on a perceived need for change and the political will to take things forward. Efforts must go beyond one-off initiatives and should aim at institutionalizing inclusive systems and processes of consultation and partnership. The Capacity Development Practice of the BRC has been supporting municipal performance management as a means towards helping municipalities perform new competencies and promote local development efficiently and effectively by monitoring their own performance and using the information to improve the lives of all citizens, including the poor and most vulnerable. This entails establishing and institutionalizing systems for regularly collecting information on the outcomes of public sector programs, organizations, or individuals and using this information to increase efficiency in service delivery, so as to address the need of public officials for regular feedback on the effectiveness of their services in order to best make improvements, and to provide citizens with information on how the government is spending tax money and meeting citizens’ needs. In 2007 the toolkit ‘Performance Management: A Practical Guide for Practitioners,’ was developed in cooperation with UNDP Armenia and the Urban Institute. The guide is currently being piloted in two municipalities in Croatia and the lessons learned from the application of the methodology will be shared when available.

Resources which may be of interest include:
‘Leadership for Localization of the MDGs’ – training programme in Russian and English
http://europeandcis.undp.org/governance/show/20819811-F203-1EE9-B4C05A9526D57B2A
‘Localizing the MDGs: The Role for Local Leaders and Using Disaggregated Data for Local Development’ – training programme
http://europeandcis.undp.org/governance/show/3EFF3027-F203-1EE9-B8E133F665B0E3B9
‘Performance Management: A Practical Guide for Practitioners,’ UNDP BRC, UNDP Armenia, The Urban Institute, 2007.
http://europeandcis.undp.org/home/show/2A7F5B49-F203-1EE9-B9863332DCFE3203
‘Toolkit for Partnership Based Preparation and Implementation of Local/Regional Development Strategy,’ UNDP BRC, UNDP Bulgaria, 2007.
http://europeandcis.undp.org/files/uploads/LG/toolkit_en_final_formatted.doc

Nigeria: Henri Ekwuruke (2)

Henry Ekwuruke, Programme Coordinator, Development Generation Africa International (DGAi); Nigeria

It was observed in the World Youth Report 2007 that, "societies that fail to acknowledge the particular challenges facing youth and involve them in devising solutions will find it difficult to achieve the MDGs including sharp reductions in poverty levels by 2015."

I think it would be nice for me to focus my attention on addressing one issue that is very important to me. That issue is youth employment – the global goal that we have transformed into a 'national' challenge in Nigeria and across Africa. Around the world, democracy is practiced by the majority as a majority party and policies reflect this background. As a global goal for the majority of the people in an all inclusive, and participatory process. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we observed at the Development Generation Africa International, since 2003 have already started building new values in our systems both at the national and international levels, helping strengthen our national responses to development.

Juan Somavia of the International Labour Organization (ILO) said that: "creating jobs for youth is not enough." Across the planet, youth are not only finding it difficult if not impossible to find jobs, but they also cannot find decent jobs…we are facing not only an economic challenge, but a security threat of monumental proportions." I connect this statement to the Niger-Delta challenge in Nigeria and have identified that the youth are at large a 'missing' target group in most national development frameworks and strategies. A key obstacle to addressing youth development challenge in a comprehensive and inclusive manner has been lack of a policy framework with specific benchmarks that reflect the poverty status and development challenges facing youth in this region. You would agree with me that till date, employment generation and other development activities for youth have been ad hoc, lacking policy support and measurable impact. Key examples are the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) and our Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) development frameworks, where consultation with youth was 'hurriedly' equated with participation.

One of the recommendations made to the just concluded 11th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Egypt by the African MDG Steering Committee was for: "intensification of efforts to provide entry for youths in achieving the MDGs for Africa." The economic role of the youth is so important that it is enumerated as Target 16 of Millennium Development Goals 8 (Develop a Global Partnership for Development): "In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth", with indicator being the unemployment rate of 15-24-year olds, prompting the World Bank to devote the 2007 World Development Report on youth issues – "Development and the Next Generation."

Innovation is a key feature for development, empowerment and leadership. Programmes that have responded effectively to youth concerns and needs, require innovation as well as creativity to continue.

Programmes that were able to introduce innovative ways of reaching out to youth have reaped the dividends not only of responding to the youth but also contributing a sustainable intervention that has wider significance beyond the specific activity or programme.

The focus on poverty reduction as Nigeria's most critical development challenge has presented new opportunities for a more targeted and comprehensive approach for addressing 'youth' development and empowerment issues, as envisioned in the 7 Point Agenda of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, the 14 Point Agenda of Governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji of Abia State and the Nigerian vision 20:2020.

In fact, there is an emerging understanding that growth must be "pro-poor", in other words, growth policies must target the poor specifically to ensure they are lifted out of poverty.

Alternative measures should include reduction of income inequality and the criteria set out in the Human Development Index (HDI), such as literacy rates, access to clean and safe water, political participation, and gender equality, are among the Policy assessment needed to be addressed in order to promote inclusive leadership and innovation towards implementing MDGs based national development programmes.

The situation would be slightly different in Africa, following the definition of the youth by the African Youth Charter (AYC) as 15-35-year olds. That notwithstanding, youths constitute the largest segment of Africa's population. By 2015, African youth will represent 75% of the continent's total population.

As UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid rightly pointed out, "the bulging youth population in Africa constitutes both risks and opportunities. The huge youth population can result in increased capacity for (Africa's) growth and poverty reduction, if the opportunity is seized through adequate investment in health, education, and adequate market-based skills building as well as employment generation." At both national and international levels successful elements of relevant policies and programmes must be identified and scaled up if they are to have any real impact of poverty reduction and youth development. "Governments, donors and civil society organizations must be guided by a comprehensive national perspective in their efforts to address poverty among young people. A network of major stakeholders must be established to ensure coordination of efforts across government departments and the donor community. Extensive consultation with young people and their representative associations is required at all stages of the policy development and implementation process."

Decent and productive employment for youth is a major commitment of the Millennium Development Goals and should reflect in promoting inclusive leadership and innovation for the achievement of the national development agenda. Access to productive and decent work is the best way young people can realize their aspirations, improve their living conditions and actively participate in society. Decent work for young people provides them with significant benefits in terms of increased wealth, a commitment to democracy, security and political stability. It strengthens economies. And it creates a cadre of young consumers, savers, and taxpayers who fuel the energy, innovation and creativity that attract domestic and foreign direct investment.

Productive and motivated youth are the architects of an equitable society and the bridges across generations. And youth employment also benefits societies by reducing costs related to social problems, such as drug abuse, militancy, and crime – that would have impended MDGs implementation and endangered our leadership at all levels.

Germany: Jamshed Kazi

Jamshed M. Kazi, Senior Programme Specialist; UN Volunteers Germany

Dear colleagues,

Thanks for initiating this highly interesting discussion and for framing these pertinent questions on leadership and innovation, the lack of which to my mind constitutes one of the biggest deficits in governance and stumbling blocks to attainment of the MDGs.

As I pondered how best I can contribute to this e-discussion last week, I was watching on TV the festive and larger than life 90th birthday celebrations of Nelson Mandela, taking place in London. Flanked by world leaders, celebrities and listening to the thunderous applause and cheers of 46,664 admirers and well-wishers, one could not help but be awed by Mr. Mandela’s persona, unwavering principles, and stubborn optimism. Here is a consummate leader, who among other things has been a champion in the battle against HIV/AIDS, has fought relentlessly for freedom and recognition of the rights of black South Africans under apartheid; and worked for inclusive development through reconciliation and nation building during his time as President.

I could think of few other leaders/champions of comparable stature, although names like Aung San Suu Kyi, Dalai Lama, Wangari Maathai, Shirin Ebadi, and Muhammad Yunus (all Nobel Laureates) easily spring to mind. All of these visionary leaders have challenged conventional wisdom and have inspired, empowered, and enabled some of the poorest and vulnerable groups to exercise/claim their economic and political rights.

However, the achievement of the MDGs will require hundreds of thousands of leaders, champions, change agents, and innovators in every country, which can be witnessed if we pay closer attention and look not just at the well-established leaders, or CEOs, but also those who strive to follow in their footsteps. While much of the contributions of such change-makers to development may be limited to a particular locality and perhaps not remarkable enough to attract media attention, such efforts should be acknowledged, appreciated, and encouraged, whenever possible. The recently released UNDP regional human development report for Asia/Pacific entitled ‘Tackling Corruption, Transforming Lives’ illustrated an innovative approach employed by a local NGO (Seva Mandir) to reduce absenteeism among primary school teachers in rural Rajasthan, India by taking photos of teachers with their students at the beginning and end of each day using a camera with tamper-proof date and time functions.

Thus, there are at least a couple of key challenges in identifying champions/change agents and innovators—The first probably has to do with definition and setting the bar too high— what kind of act or sequence of acts qualifies someone to be regarded as a ‘champion’ or innovator? Mohammad Yunus pioneered the concept of micro-credit back in the early seventies, but references to him as an innovator or champion would not surface until at least a decade later, when the ingenuity of his pro-poor banking model gradually became apparent. Secondly, if one needs to be a Yunus or a Mandela to qualify as a bona fide change agent or champion, then we would certainly be missing out on tapping into the extraordinary potential and dynamism of scores of ordinary women and men, who challenge new ways of thinking and doing every day and catalyze incremental changes/innovations towards inclusive and equitable development.

It is therefore important to recognize that leadership and innovation can and often does emanate from places most ‘leaders’ pay scant attention to. Recent research in the private sector suggests that there is growing evidence of ‘leadership from below’, as top executives are increasingly hamstrung by the demands for immediate results from shareholders and yet are unwilling or reluctant to make drastic changes. Frequently, change and innovation occurs because workers below the CEO and top management level take the initiative and risks to drive the company in a different direction, --- leading from below, rather than relying on leadership from the top. It is difficult to make sweeping generalizations, but if similar analyses were carried out within UNDP, government and CSO actors, I would not be surprised if the conclusions were comparable.

Once we know where to look and how to better spot leaders (and budding) leaders and champions, then we can address the challenge of how to facilitate the leadership role and innovative work of non-state actors in the implementation of the MDGs as well as ensuring their effective participation in MDG based development agendas.
While UNDP and the UN system works with a multitude of state and non-state actors/institutions in developing their capacities and creating an enabling environment for them to better contribute to the MDGs, there is a natural tendency to go for ‘quick wins’ often by supporting individuals and organizations who are already fairly well established and may thus be well positioned to influence change or innovation.

One of the key stakeholder groups, where I believe we should be investing far greater resources and attention is Youth, who often comprise up to half, if not more of many (developing) countries’ populations. Though interpretations of Youth vary by country and they are not a homogenous group, youth participation must be regarded as the active and meaningful involvement of young people in all aspects of their own development and that of their communities, including their empowerment and skills development to be change-makers, young leaders, and innovators influencing personal, family, social, economic and political development.

In addition, one of the most striking and positive aspects of the recent behaviour of young people in all regions is their increasing involvement in volunteerism. Youth today are ardent volunteers in many sectors, contributing to societal development while also gaining valuable skills and experience that can facilitate their transition to the world of work. Mainstream media, such as CNN have also recognized the potential of youth volunteers as ‘change makers’ through CNN’s ‘Be the Change’ programme, which profiles 6 young volunteers from around the world who are leading, inspiring and influencing changes in their host organizations/communities.

There are countless other examples of change agents, innovators and potential leaders from among the youth and (other vulnerable groups) who should not only be included in the implementation of our development programmes, but we should also consider developing programmes explicitly geared towards strengthening leadership, integrity, innovation, and communication competencies of potential leaders at all levels. UNDP’s Asian Young Leaders in Governance (AYLG) regional programme is one such best practice, which I am familiar with and could serve as a model for replication/upscaling.

I shall resist from elaborating further, as I’ve already said quite a bit, triggered by the interest and enthusiasm generated from this subject and shall look forward to the outcomes of this engaging e-discussion.

Angola: Jacob Massuanganhe

Israel Jacob Massuanganhe, Chief Technical Advisor-Decentralization and Local Governance Unit; UNDP Angola 

Dear colleagues,

Let me take this opportunity to share some motivated leadership concepts in recognition that development literature and systems are good at identifying what needs to be done to improve and facilitate innovation and leadership capability to pursue an equitable and inclusive approach to MDGs based development agenda. After decade of research, institutional economics became a prominent area of development. Combination of policies and institutions seems to bring new analytical direction of non-market oriented analysis, where the traditional analytical framework (demand and supplies) seems to have limitations. Typically, development agenda has sought to bring about change through technically sound programmes, supported in country by individual champions of reform or change. Increasingly the importance of understanding the underlying political systems and the mechanics of pro-poor change has been acknowledged. In particular the role of institutions – both formal and informal, and underlying structural features is being recognized. The Drivers of Change Approach, developed by DFID, is one of the concepts developed to identify, describe and to better understand the interaction between them (agents, institutions and structures).

Scholars of anthropology and sociology also have been creative in interpreting political movements and in offering conceptualizations for their understanding. Revitalized local institutions have asserted the supremacy of civilian authority. Local governance has also followed from the same process. The process has reinforced the recognition of the traditional system as a means of empower local authorities have provided people to come together and discuss diverse local problems within the forums that have drawn upon and strengthened their local institutions. Local government units are working in partnership with these traditional structures to support the development aspirations articulated by area residents. Working within their traditional norms and institutions enables people to understand and come to terms readily with change. Having the support of technically qualified personnel facilitates capacity- and knowledge-building required for dealing competently with the new tasks of modernization and development.

The notion of endogenous development, as suggested by Bassand et al. (1986), has been put forward in opposition to traditional understanding, or in other words the ‘modernist’ notion of development. This concept as a development approach was created as an alternative to the practice of central authorities in designing interventions which deal with sectors of social and economic life in isolation from each other and/or which assume that socio-economic problems can be solved by standard measures, regardless of location or culture. Understanding institutional processes allows the identification of restrictions/barriers and opportunities (or ‘gateways’) to sustainable livelihoods. Since formal and informal institutions (ranging from tenure regimes to labour sharing systems to market networks or credit arrangements) mediate access to livelihood resources and in turn affect the composition of portfolios of livelihood strategies, an understanding of institutions and organizations is therefore the key for designing interventions which improve sustainable livelihood outcomes.

Defining the relationship between the state and civil society and their respective roles has become a core issue in development theory- participation, accountability, local institutions, local practices, indigenous knowledge, policy, gender equity, tenure and fair and equitable decision making processes became key focuses. This shift from centralist development strategies to locally driven development has been complemented by a corresponding shift in inclusive and participatory concepts. Participation occurs along a continuum from active consultation to complete transfer of authority and responsibility to stakeholders. In this regard, local governments must be open, receptive, sensitive, responsive and must internalize, accept and institutionalize partnership at appropriate levels and local people, particularly the rural poor must develop skills in negotiation and claim-making to effectively engage the participatory local development through small business development and outsourcing with local governments. Thus, the strength of civil society is measured by active participation, the number of NGOs and other organization in development. This is double-checked by the self-reported civic participation in the citizen survey. Civic groups are to give shape to various efforts and initiatives of citizens that address different public issues. Monitoring and evaluation system needs to be addressed at local level and to promote linkages at central, provincial local and community levels. Continue to strengthen statistical capacity and leverage the on-going work and international commitments and make it sustainable (including sub-national levels of Government) will be critical to strengthen capacity at the local level (including CSOs) to enable effective contribution to M&E and development agenda.

The efficiency of decentralizing a governmental task must consider both the efficiency of performing the task itself and its impact on the political economy. The development of a decentralization plan must be based on balancing efficiency and effective learning. Deconcentration (or administrative decentralization) is said to occur when powers are devolved to appointees of the central government. Opportunities for economic expansion for increased efficiency must always be weighed against the risks involved in losing political control and abdicating responsibility for the welfare of the citizens. Institutional and policy innovations need to be based upon some measure of societal consensus. Lack of confidence and willingness to take the risks necessary to innovate is a major problem in overcentralized systems. Local government initiative is therefore a key element in the political systems of liberal democracies. MDG based development agenda currently is seen as associated with localization of development initiatives, and decentralization is used as vehicles to materialize and incentive changes, exactly where needs are felt and the incidence of poverty is high. Transferring capacity and resources to the poor is the most direct and immediate way to reduce poverty.

Decentralization is an important cross-cutting thematic area with major implications for poverty reduction and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is recognized that decentralization plays a critical role to achieve MDGs, because of its nature to work at local level, influence local structure and agenda. Decentralisation enters into countries’ poverty alleviation strategies in a number of ways. On the basis of the “subsidiarity” principle, sub-national governments are often given the responsibility for managing many “pro-poor” priority sectors, including primary and secondary education, primary health care, agricultural extension, water and sanitation services, and local roads and public infrastructure. Local governments are not simply decision-makers but also democratic decision makers. Thus, local governments must meet certain standards of democracy. A democratic local government must offer local citizens the opportunity to understand its operation and participate in making decisions on local public issues. People might not accept this offer for whatever reason (e.g., because of a non-participatory political culture). With decentralization, much of the responsibilities for service delivery are transferred to local governments. While several local governments are able to maintain the “quality” of services deconcentrated to them, it is important to improve beyond its present capacity and getting the communities involved in addressing local needs and demands.

The “new development paradigm” requires a change in the policy infrastructure conception and efficient implementation mechanisms and a movement away from the traditional hierarchical administrative structures and institutional arrangements. Designing national development agenda involves pooling the knowledge held by multiple actors and increased use of partnerships between the public, private and voluntary sectors. There is a focus on local specificities as a means of generating new competitive advantages, such as amenities (environmental or cultural) or local products (traditional); and more attention to quasi public goods or “framework conditions” which support enterprise indirectly. It requires co-ordination to encourage the various institutional and managerial systems which formulate and implement policies to work together and political commitment to overcome sectoral tendencies. Integrated policies work, the place-based approach helps foster local level public-private partnerships and integrate new stakeholders and resources. These initiatives are developing a culture of cross-sectoral co-operation within central and local governments and thus more coherent policy initiatives. More importantly, there is recognition that a place-based approach requires more bottom-up as opposed to top-down initiatives. This produces new ways of coordinating vertically across levels of government and a better use of local knowledge.

Finally, inclusive leadership and innovation for implementing MDGs based National Development Agenda implies integrated development systems with impact at national and local level. With regard to the national effects, on one hand, the argument is that there could be a conflict between decentralization and the macroeconomic objectives whereby local authorities take a much narrower view and perspective. Some authors observed the reluctance of decentralization in developing countries mainly because of weak systems, poor information, unlimited needs, weak capacity and administrative diseconomies. Because of these reasons, decentralized budget responsibilities would lead to loss of expenditure control. On other hand local effects, have been launched in the majority of developing nations, but these rarely lay the foundations necessary to reach efficiency and equity benefits. Those foundations include the transfer of important discretionary powers to downwardly accountable actors, capacity building and technical assistance that represent and respond to local challenges and enhance organization’s efficiency at local level.

Fiji: Ernesto Bautista

Ernesto Bautista, Regional Advisor & Project Coordinator; UNDP Pacific Centre, Fiji 

Dear Colleagues,
Progress towards achieving the MDGs is a major challenge for most developing countries. It is a long-term process of transformation because achieving the MDGs requires fundamental reforms in the governance systems and processes that are themselves complex and political. Reforms are not neutral; they affect various stakeholders in a society differentially – some gain more than others. The change process involves some varying degrees of resistance. Managing the change process and dynamics is itself a complex process. Accumulated experiences indicate that successful reforms require committed leaders, change agents and political will at the highest levels. Potential reform champions are those that are likely to benefit from the reform process. They range from the highly organized groups such as professional and industry associations to such diverse groups such as the various CSOs and consumers. The latter are oftentimes not well organized with varying interests. Identifying the champions / change agents especially those from the vulnerable and disadvantaged groups pose a key challenge. Leadership for reforms requires an understanding of the interplay and dynamics of the various stakeholders, their relative power and influence as well as the dynamics and direction of the reform process itself. As the reform process evolves over time it requires the leadership role will also have to evolve as the various phases of the reform process require different set of competencies and skills, evolving alliances and networks of partners. Disadvantaged groups faced a major challenge as they are often marginalized and less visible. An important lesson from various experiences is to develop broad-based constituencies that can provide and help sustain the reform process. Within the network of constituencies, it is important to develop and structure an organized, transparent, credible and structured process that provide opportunity for the various stakeholders to interact and let their views be heard. Such processes provide potential leaders to emerge and less prone to be captured by strong vested interests and elites.

It is important to keep in mind that reforms are implemented through structures and systems. Identifying leaders is one thing. Understanding how the system works and how reforms can be realistically introduced, implemented and sustained is a major challenge. This requires understanding the underlying legal, regulatory and administrative framework and system. Many well - intentioned reforms have been frustrated because of the lack of understanding of the administrative processes and the political economy of reforms. Administrative regulations and internal processes can frustrate the implementation of reforms by delaying and keeping off track the timing of key reform agenda.

UNDP can strengthen leadership and the capability to pursue a more inclusive approach to MDGs by supporting non-state actors participate more effectively in the implementation of MDGs. Support to NSA varies depending on the local context. In some countries UNDP support may take the form of creating the enabling environment – laws and regulatory framework to facilitate the functioning of CSOs. In some countries it can take the form of support to forum or dialogue mechanisms at both the national and local levels to provide a venue for a more systematic engagement between CSOs and governments. These for a can take the form of venues for local planning processes between local governments and CSOs, and or national or sectoral consultative processes established by governments in the formulation of national development plans, PRSP, etc, as the case maybe. UNDP can provide a strategic support by bringing together CSOs to discuss and distill their experiences in the implementation of MDGs. This can help CSOs develop a more coherent vision and position on issues before they participate in various consultative mechanisms.

As in the first phase I look forward learning from the valuable contributions and insights of colleagues in the network on the key issues posed on the network.

Germany: Kwabena Asante-Ntiamoah

Kwabena Asante-Ntiamoah, Programme Specialist; UN Volunteers Germany

Dear Colleagues,

I have followed the discourse on the subject with much interest and the exchanges point to the diversity and richness of sharing our experiences.

Generic overview of inclusive leadership in the context of Implementing MDGs based National Development Agendas
The MDGs declaration at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000 was a bold attempt for the first time to set concrete goals with accompanying targets. A critical review of the goals point out that there are not new development challenges but rather a better packaging with targets. On the other hand, nation states have always have their National Development Agenda and Development Plans prior to the MDGs. The challenge in my view has been how to align the MDGs to National Development Agenda. This important question begs the notion of national ownership and empowerment with the important question “Whose development and MDGs?”. The MDGs was agreed by world leaders on behalf of their constituencies, however, the issue of ownership continues to be a challenges thus invariably impacts on its inclusion in National Development Agenda. This discourse is not new in technical cooperation, the great debate of “Rethinking Technical Corporation” moderated by UNDP and under the auspices of the World Bank Institute and The Government of Netherlands did raise the issues of ownership and empowerment.

The issue of leadership in most context needs to be addressed at the national, regional (provincial) and district levels and the extent to which MDGs has been aligned to development agendas at all three levels. At the macro level (national level) there have been efforts in countries like Ghana with the support of the UNDP CO to align the MDGs to the national development agenda. The challenge is that 8 goals involves different ministries there is a challenge as to how best to ensure that the MDGs and its targets are incorporated into the respective plans of the line ministries, this is further complicated due to the fact that individual UN agencies and international development partners report to different line ministries hence unintentionally overlooking the MDGs as a holistic framework within the National Development Agenda. At the meso level (regional level) the situation follows the macro level pattern and this is also applicable to the micro (district level). One would hesitate to state that there is unfortunately “trickle down” effect and dichotomy as to what is agreed at the national level and the necessary actions needed to have MDGs based National Development Plans.

The issue of leadership which is inclusive is critical; however, this is only one side of the coin. On the other hand there needs to be an effective awareness raising based on the local context for civil society organisations, NGOs, volunteer involving organisation, academia, learning institutions and the private sector to be sensitised and made aware of the importance of the need for their individual development and that of their communities in general within the context of the MDGs. UNDP Albania around 2004-2005 was extremely successful in its efforts to undertake awareness at the district level through mobile caravan tailored to the local needs. These initiatives also encouraged the regions to anchor their development agenda to the MDGs. Inclusive leadership at the national level is important, nevertheless, leadership and direction at the meso and micro levels are critical. Least we do not have forget that the efforts of world leaders to sign on the Millennium Declaration may be attributed to the decades of action by civil society organisations to have a comprehensive agenda to address development challenges. Thus leadership at the meso and micro levels could create conditions for inclusive leadership at the national level.

Innovation for Implementing MDGs based National Development Agenda: Idealism and pragmatism
As development practitioners and workers we need to analyse the issue from the pragmatic and idealistic lenses. The idealistic approach is that leadership at all levels has taken ownership of the MDGs and their constituencies are actively engaged in reaching the goals. One would argue that from a pragmatic perspective there have been some positive development but there remain challenges ahead. An important area that development practitioners need to analyse critically is Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and how it has been successful in the last decade to be the hallmark of development in most countries. A close analysis points to the fact that FDI secured by Governments are channeled to meet their specific needs in both efficient and in some instances non efficient utilisation. One would beg the question: why have leaders of countries and nation states focused their attention in attracting FDI in supporting their National Development Agenda?. What has been some of the lessons learned and how do we create the necessary conditions to create synergies in FDI contributions to MDGs based National Development Agenda?. A critical review points to the issue of ownership, On one hand the MDGs are a set of noble goals and targets that requires resources, on the other hand FDI is an investment that is tangible to Governments with an important requirement of accountability for default on payment. In conclusion how do we hold leaders accountable in not achieving the MDGs based National Development Agenda? This raises the importance of national ownership of the MDGs, leadership at all levels, civic engagement and empowerment of the communities to hold their leaders accountability.

Thailand: Robert, Niloy, Maha, Ashley and Heidi

Robert G. Bernardo; Niloy Banerjee; Maha Jahangir, Ashley Palmer and Heidi Han; Capacity Development Team - Asia Pacific; UNDP Regional Centre in Bangkok

Dear colleagues,

There are a number of challenges in identifying sectoral champions and change agents. First, there are process limitations. While working with formal structures provide the legal authority, legitimacy and ownership to MDG processes, this also inherits the inherent weaknesses in the bureaucracy where official representation is through government appointees or conventional positions of authority, where preserving the status quo or prevailing systems often provides a strong agenda. Also, consultation processes also sometimes take the form of “information drives” rather than genuine consultations, thereby limiting genuine participation of sectoral voices even if the right representations are present.

Secondly, identifying non-state sectoral actors/representatives is also not quite straight-forward in a number of countries, particularly where CSOs are government-affiliated or supported as well. In other countries, on the other hand, in some cases non-state representatives are also limited to the familiar few international or national/subnational actors that are well known and have national prominence.

Thirdly, in many cases MDG-based development planning even at the sectoral level covers a very broad and unwieldy set of agenda that getting the right participation from state and non-state actors often becomes complicated. Cramming too many agenda in one seating often diffuses the issues, and produces outputs that are sometimes all too broad and do not really respond to pressing needs.

Fourthly, proactive support to identifying and emerging (young) leaders and innovators is often missing. Development programming often looks at the mainstream but mapping actions along the peripheries where out-of-the-box ideas and initiatives are taking place is often weak. Also, stringent policy measures also hinder leadership and innovations and therefore without addressing these policies such creativity and leadership capacities would not flourish.

Finally, and this is related to the issues above, is the issue of skills versus competencies. Advocacy for change demands competencies not technical skills. These include sensitivity to and real understanding of issues on the ground, visioning, communicating and engaging with stakeholders, and leadership values that can emerge or may be present among ordinary citizens, government officials, and grassroots community workers. It is here where we should seek our advocates for the cause of the disadvantaged and vulnerable.

Innovation and change demands leadership that may be constrained by some of the challenges mentioned above. However, the leadership attributes or characteristics required to address some of these challenges may be far less technical but more astute. The ability to look beyond the horizon and look at the bigger picture, to come up with holistic solutions, effective listening and clear communication, empathy, passion, creating and taking advantage of windows of opportunity, and knowledge. These are the kind of leadership capabilities that should be facilitated and fostered if we are to pursue an equitable and inclusive approach to MDGs.

In this regard, the UNDP Regional Centres in Bangkok and Colombo have been implementing a leadership development initiative called Asian Young Leaders in Governance (AYLG) to strengthen leadership of state and non-state actors, and recognizing the importance of an often neglected group that can be instrumental in societal change, namely the youth (broadly defined). The Asia Young Leaders in Governance (AYLG) project, currently supported by the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF), addresses the need to build a critical mass of young leaders in the Asia region, who will be trained as leaders in democratic governance processes. It recognizes that young leaders are an important constituency that requires further attention and investments to enable them to serve as more effective leaders for the future. The AYLG project strategy supports building the leadership values and capacities of young leaders towards further enhancing their knowledge and skills in their various areas of expertise and influence; and in turn strengthening democratic governance processes in the region.

Young leaders are brought together for a six-day intensive leadership course imparted through different teaching methods such as lectures, visualizations, group activities and role-plays. The modules are designed around five leadership capacity skills: a) leadership overview and leadership styles; b) systems thinking for transformational change; c) conflict resolution and negotiation; d) cross-cultural communications for leadership; and e) team building and networking. In addition, leadership values modules on gender, anti-corruption, indigenous peoples’ rights, and capacity development, supplement the course.

The course offers new approaches to problem solving and thinking about leadership styles. There is a focus on innovative solutions and decision making from a holistic or systems perspective, and sharing solutions among the Leadership Fellows through effective networking. The values modules offer insights on rights of marginalized groups such as women and indigenous communities and the importance of integrity and transparency in governance systems. It is through this combination of competencies and values that leadership capacities of these bright young leaders are enhanced, providing new tools and perspective that they can use to pursue MDG based development agendas. (Please contact us if you want information on the AYLG Project.)



Lebannon: Asr Toson

Asr Toson, Regional Advisor - Governance; UNDP SURF-AS Lebanon

Dear Colleagues,

The Arab region could be defined, at large, by the Mashreq countries, namely, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and the Syrian Arab Republic; the Ma ghreb countries, namely, Algeria, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco and Tunisia; the States of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), namely, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; and the least -developed countries (LDCs), namely, Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritania, Somalia, the Sudan and Yemen. With respect to progress towards MDGs, sharp regional and intra -country discrepancies are evident with lack of adequate leadership as common simliarity across the whole region. The high-income GCC countries are relatively well placed to achieve the Goals. The majority of the middle income Mashreq and Maghreb countries vary in their potential for reaching each Goal, because of national specificities. Based on past trends, the Arab LDCs, Iraq and Palestine will be unable to achieve most MDGs. It is likely that the majority of those countries, and those co ping with conflict, will make limited progress. There is an urgent need for the resource-rich and wealthy countries in the Arab region, and globally, to devote resources to those countries.

Resources, unless combined with reform of governance, including improved targeting, equal wealth and service distribution and accountability, are insufficient. Overall, additional measures are needed across the region in order to meet the goals of poverty reduction, gender equality and environmental sustainability, and to forge strategic global and regional partnerships and formulate effective macroeconomic and social policies. It is unlikely that the Arab region as a whole will succeed in eradicating poverty and hunger, particularly in the LDCs. Despite modest progress since 1990, in 2000s almost 20 per cent of children of primary school age were not enrolled, and some 44 million adult women aged over 15 years could not read or write. While gender equality in enrolment across all levels of education has generally improved, gains in education have not translated into economic and political empowerment for the women of the region, whose economic and political participation rates are among the lowest in the world.

The Arab region has demonstrated progress in many MDG -related fields. However, progress varies across the sub-regions and at the country level, where urban-rural disparities persist. Despite concerted efforts, there have also been setbacks that are attributable to several factors, including poor economic performance, inadequate financing and political tensions and conflicts. The Arab region had one of the lowest per capita GDP growth rates in the 1990s and 2000 s. That poor growth record has been reflected in slow progress in human development in comparison with the average for developing countries. The Arab region faces a number of challenges to achieving the MDGs, including unemployment, the gender gap, illiteracy, regional disparities, war and conflict. Other prerequisites for the success of all the Goals include the rule of law, respect for human rights, democracy and good governance.

The achievement of MDGs is largely dependent on the adoption and implementation of pro -poor development policies and strategies and legislation that concerns gender equality, the environment, rural and urban development, health systems, education, science, technology and innovation. Stronger regional partnerships and integration, including greater intra-regional trade, are also required, as are increased funding and investment aimed at improving productivity. Pro-poor policies and investment are still lacking. Pro-poor, investment-led growth and heavy investment in social services and infrastructure are needed in order to produce the higher levels of economic growth that will assist in the realizat ion of the MDGs. Public sector investment may serve as a channel for introducing labour -intensive techniques and promoting the growth of labour-intensive sectors. In light of the low capacity of the private sector to generate high investment rates, the inability of institutions to mobilize and direct savings, and imperfect market signals in the Arab region, the State continues to have a considerable role to play in harnessing resources for development.

Given the low literacy rate among women and the poor, an MDG-friendly policy framework requires concerted efforts to reduce illiteracy as part of its investment in human capital. Increasing the participation of women, the poor and other marginalized persons, including refugees, requires removing and changing institutional barriers, including legal frameworks and formal and informal discriminatory rules and practices. Stronger regional partnership and integration is much needed. The achievement of MDGs requires global and regional partnerships based on mutual accountability and responsibility, in which wealthier nations, through funding, debt relief and fair trade agreements, support the efforts of developing countries to adopt relevant development strategies within a supporting global environment.

Greater South-South cooperation is also necessary for sharing experience and expertise. The integration of Arab markets would render the region more attractive to world investors, facilitate investment and growth, and generate employment opportunities and income. In order to finance investment, Arab countries must receive higher ODA. However, it is equally important to raise funds from domestic sources. Various approaches can be adopted, including improved tax collection, an increase in non-traditional exports, the optimum use of natural resources, improved productivity and increased growth. Such measures must be adopted as part of a pro -poor comprehensive national development strategy.

Improved Productivity: Productivity across all sectors of the economy must be improved. Significant proportions of the population of many Arab countries are economically dependent on agriculture, and the incidence of poverty among those segments of the population is markedly higher than in urban populations. Significantly increased agricultural prosperity is required in order to achieve the MDGs in rural and agriculture -based communities. Increased investment in infrastructure and basic social services is essential to improve agricultural productivity and income. Sizeable investment in irrigation and land reclamation schemes would not only promote a rise in productivity but would also make more arable land available for distribution to landless farm labourers.Institutional capacity-building for monitoring and reporting is very important. Throughout the region, institutional capacities to collect, compile, analyze and use statistics for policy and project formulation and management are weak. That makes it merely impossible for leadership to make the right decision based on accurate timely information. Developing institutional capacities to produce quality statistics would not only facilitate monitoring and reporting on MDGs, but also contribute to greater transparency and accountability.

Both rich and poor countries in the Arab region share the risks and benefits of not investing the financial and human resources necessary to achieve MDGs by 2015. Arab countries must enhance their human and institutional capacities, improve policies, promote investment and increase donor aid. That will require sustained action at the local, national and regional levels, and reform aimed at good governance, partnership, gender equality, environmental sustainability and pro -poor economic policies.

Ghana: Ernest P. Nyame-Annan (2)

Ernest P. Nyame-Annan, Youth Desk; Ghana Red Cross Society.
Dear Colleagues,
I would like to acknowledge this knowledge sharing process to make the MDGs a reality. I believe it's a major Challenge to achieve MDGs, however with good Structures, Systems and Implementation mechanisms focused on the most vulnerable and disadvanged in society, it can be achieved.
The National Development Agenda should be well structured enough to adress the various needs in society especially those of the most vulnerable.
I would also focus on young persons who form more then 50%+ of any country population or the world at large. When young people are well equiped they help society to grow rather than being liabilities (in the form of Armed robbers, Rebels etc.).
We need to intensify educational programmes on Youth Leadership skills and self Business Initiatives to help the youth. There is the need to involve young people in planning and implementations on National Development Agenda.There are so many ideas young people have. Unless top leadership and governance move closely to help grow these ideas, the youth will always remain a liability and perhaps only few would keep their dreams alive.
My dear colleagues,I believe ,MDGs are achievable through good Systems by our Leadership and youth involvement.

Viet Nam: Tiwari Chiranjibi (2)

Tiwari, Chiranjibi, Senior Advisor Local Governance; SNV Vietnam

Dear Colleagues,
It is generally agreed that effective engagement of state, market and civil society actors is necessary to achieve MDGs. However, identifying the champions to facilitate an equitable and inclusive MDG process is not easy.

Firstly, many disadvantaged groups are under-represented at formal structures of the state, market and civil society; and thus many potential leaders and champions are not visible in the society. Concerted efforts are necessary to identify the champions that truly represent the excluded groups in the society. Such efforts require more time and resources and are generally perceived more expensive and unnecessary by the ‘growth-oriented’ development policies. Secondly, the resistance from local elites makes it difficult to engage the true representatives of excluded groups. A high level of diplomacy and facilitation skill is required to bring local elites and excluded groups together. It is not always easy to find this desired capacity, especially at the local level. And thirdly, due to the decades of exclusion, the potential champions might not have the desired tools and techniques to act as effective change agents at the beginning.

Nevertheless, with a genuine commitment and collective efforts by all actors, time and resources should not be the barriers in engaging the true leaders in MDG process. The recent publication of UNESCAP brings the concept of regional partnerships as a means to “delivering as one”. The publication makes conviction that the regional partnerships would deliver five sets of products and services: i) knowledge and capacity development; ii) expertise; iii) advocacy for the MDGs; iv) regional cooperation in delivering public goods; and v) resources; and that this would help making the MDGs a reality for Asia and the Pacific.

This is a noble concept; it can be applied also at the national and sub-national level. If there is a commitment among all national and international actors to “deliver as one” both at the national and the sub-national level, then the identification and engagement of true champions would not be difficult. In practice, we could do this by institutionalizing multi-stakeholder platforms and making effective use of such platforms in MDG processes from national to the grassroots level. Such platforms should be broad based and should include both the state and non-sate actors, especially the excluded groups and minorities in the society. External agencies, if any should have advisory role and a commitment to deliver capacity development services ‘as one’.

Vietnam has a very good experience of establishing and working with such multi-stakeholder approaches and partnerships. ‘Hanoi Declaration’ followed the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, and a number of partnerships are established at the national level. One such example is the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) Partnership, established in 2006, of by the Government of Vietnam together with 15 international development agencies including INGOs working in the sector. While this is a very good first step towards achieving MDG 7 and Target 10, a lot is to be done to implement such polices at the sub-national level.

In 2007, SNV together with the RWSS national targeted programme (NTPII) facilitated a multi stakeholder RWSS sector planning workshop in three out of nine provinces piloting targeted programme budget support from DANIDA, AusAID and the Netherlands. SNV experience shows that the participation of non-state actors in MDG processes is just beginning at the sub-national level in Vietnam.

While engagement of non-state actors is not a linear and one-go process; there are some good examples and documentation on the ways to engage non state actors in the MDG processes. The recent training manual published by UNDP highlights five interrelated roles (figure below) that UNDP could play for CSOs engagement in preparation, implementation and monitoring of MDG based national development strategies.


Image:DG&MDGs_CSOs_in_MDGs.JPG
Source: Training Manual - Role of CSOs in MDG Based National Development Strategies

A comprehensive approach such as this can be a useful in facilitating the leadership and innovative ideas of non-state actors in the MDG processes.

Please refer to the following links for further details of UNESCAP and UNDP publications.

Nigeria: Henry Ekwuruke (3)

Henry Ekwuruke, Programme Coordinator, Development Generation Africa International (DGAi); Nigeria

Leadership for achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Africa
In 2007, Africa sustained the high growth momentum of the past few years, registering an average growth rate of 5.8 per cent. As in previous years, Africa's growth performance in 2007 was driven mainly by robust global demand and high commodity prices. Other factors underpinning growth in Africa include continued consolidation of macroeconomic stability and improving macroeconomic management, greater commitment to economic reforms, rising oil production in a number of countries, increased private capital flows, debt relief and increasing non-fuel exports. Africa has also witnessed a decline in political conflicts and wars, especially in West and Central Africa, though peace remains fragile in some parts of the continent. However, growth in Africa has not yet led to substantial employment generation. At the same time, vulnerable groups such as the aged, youth and people with disabilities have not benefited from Africa's growth recovery. African women and young girls in particular continue to experience various forms of discrimination and social exclusion.

Midway between the adoption of the MDGs and the 2015 target date, the available evidence indicates that the vast majority of African countries will not meet the goals if current financing trends continue. Consequently, the international community has now focused attention on how to scale-up financing for the continent. Implementation of the commitments in the Monterrey Consensus is critical to achieving this objective. Consequently the 2008 edition of the Economic Report on Africa assesses progress in terms of meeting commitments to Africa in the six core areas of the Monterrey Consensus: mobilizing domestic financial resources for development; mobilizing international resources for development; promoting international trade as an engine of development; increasing international financial and technical cooperation for development; external debt relief and sustainability; and addressing systemic issues.
Because accountability counts, we believe leadership is truly needed to achieve the MDGs in Africa, but this leadership must be supported by the global partnership for development and enabled by pribate sector organizations and development partners.

Gowher and Monjur - Moderators' Message

Monjurul Kabir, Knowledge Management Specialist and Focal Point for Innovation and Leadership in Governance; UNDP New York and Gowher Rizvi, Director, The Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation; Harvard University

Dear Colleagues and Members,

We are delighted to note your keen interest in promoting inclusive leadership and Innovation for implementing MDGs based national development agenda. In our launch message we challenged our members and governance/development practitioners with the following two questions:
1. What are the key challenges in identifying sectoral champions/change agents, innovators, especially those representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups through formal and informal processes at national/sub-national level? How can we facilitate innovation and strengthen their leadership capability to pursue an equitable and inclusive approach to MDGs based development agenda?
2. How can we facilitate the leadership role, and, innovative work of non-state actors (i.e., political parties, faith based organizations, civil society organizations, media etc.) in the implementation of the MDGs? How can we ensure the inclusion of their effective participation in MDGs based development agenda?

In the last two weeks (26 June - 11 July) members put their minds together to share diverse perspectives and fresh ideas in each of the areas. They also contextualize their inputs from the perspective of democratic governance. The critical needs of both the innovation in leadership and, the leadership support to innovation have been firmly endorsed. As rightly mentioned by Jamshed Kazi, the achievement of the MDGs will require hundreds of thousands of leaders, champions, change agents, and innovators in every country, which can be witnessed if we pay closer attention and look not just at the well-established leaders, or CEOs, but also those who strive to follow in their footsteps. They also raised the issue of standard definition— what kind of act or sequence of acts qualifies someone to be regarded as a ‘champion’ or innovator?

Key challenges in identifying leaders and innovators
Participants discussed both substantive challenges and process limitations to identify sectoral champions/change agents, innovators, especially those representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups through formal and informal processes at national/sub-national levels.
Israel Jacob Massuanganhe emphasized the importance of understanding the underlying political systems and the mechanics of pro-poor change. In particular the role of institutions – both formal and informal, and underlying structural features need to be cognized. The Drivers of Change Approach, developed by DFID, is one of the concepts developed to identify, describe and to better understand the interaction between them (agents, institutions and structures). Ernesto Bautista reiterated that reforms are implemented through structures and systems. Identifying leaders is one thing. Understanding how the system works and how reforms can be realistically introduced, implemented and sustained is a major challenge.

Sunil Gautam spoke of large sections who suffer from all kinds deprivations, be it nutrition, health, education, gender disparity etc. The most disturbing factor, as pointed out by Sunil, is the historic origin of those suffering populations i.e., Dalits (former untouchables), Tribal groups, minorities etc. This is all evident from national data base available with government and development agencies. The discrimination faced by these groups and communities are so deep rooted that civil society groups and community based organisations led by these community leaders have focused more on their civil and political rights. There are very few organizations led by these communities that focus on development rights like health, nutrition, education, employment etc. These organizations are not even considered mainstream champions of development rather they are considered as political representative of their respective communities. The most visible challenges in identifying these champions come from the people at decision making positions who come from dominant sections of society because there is nobody in the development agencies to advocate for the cause of deprived communities. It's possible only if we have inclusive organizations with greater representation of marginalized communities. There is a strong need to audit the organizations based on the equity of representations. Only through this, marginalized voices could be effectively heard.
Robert, Niloy, Maha, Ashley and Heidi highlighted some of the important process limitations. While working with formal structures provide the legal authority, legitimacy and ownership to MDG processes, this also inherits the inherent weaknesses in the bureaucracy where official representation is through government appointees or conventional positions of authority, where preserving the status quo or prevailing systems often provides a strong agenda. Also, consultation processes sometimes take the form of “information drives” rather than genuine consultations, thereby limiting genuine participation of sectoral voices even if the right representations are present. Secondly, identifying non-state sectoral actors/representatives is also not quite straight-forward in a number of countries, particularly where CSOs are government-affiliated or supported as well. In other countries, on the other hand, in some cases non-state representatives are also limited to the familiar few international or national/sub national actors that are well known and have national prominence. Thirdly, in many cases MDG-based development planning even at the sectoral level covers a very broad and unwieldy set of agenda that getting the right participation from state and non-state actors often becomes complicated. Cramming too many agenda in one seating often diffuses the issues, and produces outputs that are sometimes all too broad and do not really respond to pressing needs. Fourthly, proactive support to identifying and emerging (young) leaders and innovators is often missing. Development programming often looks at the mainstream but mapping actions along the peripheries where out-of-the-box ideas and initiatives are taking place is often weak. Also, stringent policy measures also hinder leadership and innovations and therefore without addressing these policies such creativity and leadership capacities would not flourish.
Throughout the Arab region, Asr Toson argued, institutional capacities to collect, compile, analyze and use statistics for policy and project formulation and management are weak. Such weakness makes it merely impossible for leadership to make the right decision based on accurate timely information.
Innovation is a key feature for development, empowerment and leadership. Programmes that have responded effectively to youth concerns and needs require innovation as well as creativity to continue. Henry Ekwuruke identified infrastructure gap -a key enablers of the achievement of the MDGs- as one of the major development challenges in Africa. In this regard Henry emphasised the critical role of the young people to stand up for change, a change for the achievement of the MDG. It was observed in the World Youth Report 2007, "societies that fail to acknowledge the particular challenges facing youth and involve them in devising solutions will find it difficult to achieve the MDGs including sharp reductions in poverty levels by 2015." Henry asserted that the economic role of the youth is so important that it is enumerated as Target 16 of Millennium Development Goals 8 (Develop a Global Partnership for Development: ‘In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth’), with indicator being the unemployment rate of 15-24-year olds, prompting the World Bank to devote the 2007 World Development Report on youth issues – "Development and the Next Generation."


Promoting innovation, and developing leadership capacity
There is increasing recognition that an equitable and inclusive approach to MDG based development agenda can only be pursued if the goals are translated into actions at the sub-national levels and by active involvement of local actors. Therefore, Alexandra Windisch-Graetz considered local government and civil society organizations, especially those representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable as strategic actors in addressing development challenges and capitalizing on development opportunities at the local level. Developing their capacities for inclusive leadership can have a significant impact on the achievement of development outcomes. While government being central and primary actor to promote democratic governance/participatory development, NGOs/CSOs need transformation and be strategic to enhance their development impacts. To be an effective agent of poverty reduction, NGOs/CSOs need to cast their eyes, beyond the structure in which their micro-work takes place. Extensively referring to her own work, Girma B Hailu indicated that NGOs are better positioned to test out new initiatives and come up with ‘good practices’ that can be scalable and significantly contribute to the achievement of the MDGs. This potential contributions and roles of private sector and NGOs/CSOs can best be realized within the democratic governance paradigm which can be characterized by:
• Increasing space for testing new initiatives
• Promoting decentralized policy,
• Recognizing the role of private sector and NGOs,
• Increasing space for participation of NGOs/CSOs,
• Enhancing relationship and Trust,
• Defining/agreeing on shared agenda
• Support (financial, administrative, and political) to innovative work

In this context, a number of participants emphasised on greater South-South cooperation for sharing experiences, good practice, and expertise. The ability to look beyond the horizon and look at the bigger picture, to come up with holistic solutions, effective listening and clear communication, empathy, passion, creating and taking advantage of windows of opportunity, and knowledge. These are the kind of leadership capabilities that should be facilitated and fostered if we are to pursue an equitable and inclusive approach to MDGs.

Developing institutional capacities to produce quality statistics would not only facilitate monitoring and reporting on MDGs, but also contribute to greater transparency and accountability. Sustained action at the local, national and regional levels, and reform aimed at good governance, partnership, gender equality, environmental sustainability and pro -poor economic policies.


Leadership and Innovation of Non-state actors
For better participation and contribution in the participatory development/ inclusive leadership system, private sector, NGOs/CSOs need to develop capabilities in:
• Generating evidence of good-practices through research,
• Linking their micro level engagements to macro or policy advocacy work,
• Institutionalizing and exercising open, transparent, accountable and learning system,
• Actively participating in the governance system, networks, forums, alliances, movement and articulating and advocating the interest and priorities of the poor and marginalized group,
• Enhancing quality relationship with governments and other stakeholders,

Action Aid Ethiopia has introduced an innovative alternative basic education model which later on has become part of the national education sector programme. The contribution of this alternative basic education approach to the attainment of one of the MDGs, achieving access to basic education and ensuring gender equity and current high enrollment rate is so great. The study shows concrete evidence of democratic governance or participatory development as enabling factor for successful implementation and impact of development programmes. UNDP Regional Centres in Bangkok and Colombo have been implementing a leadership development initiative called Asian Young Leaders in Governance (AYLG) to strengthen leadership of state and non-state actors, and recognizing the importance of an often neglected group that can be instrumental in societal change, namely the youth. The Bratislava Regional Centre (BRC) in cooperation with our country offices in this region has been actively working on strengthening the capacities of local leaders to mobilize all stakeholders for integrated local development planning, budgeting and implementation and for improved usage of disaggregated data in local development decision making. For example, a ‘Leadership for Localization of the MDGs’ training program was developed and a training of trainers workshop held in Tashkent in March 2006 (a partnership effort between the BRC Capacity Development and Poverty Practices, UNDP Uzbekistan and LEAD International).

It is evident from a number of examples shared by the members that careful scaling up of successful programmatic interventions would expand limited impact beyond the pilot level. NGOs often test out new approaches and start small. Despite their increased number, their enhanced understanding of the issues of poverty and growing engagement in a wider range of development activities, so far, they could not bring about a far reaching impact and make a difference. Even when their initiatives become successful, they usually remain small, especially compared to the scale of the challenges of poverty. Their success only becomes sustainable or reaches significant scale if they influence national level development programmes and policies.


Some Points to Ponder

Kwabena Asante-Ntiamoah focused on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and how it has been successful in the last decade to be the hallmark of development in most countries. On one hand the MDGs are a set of noble goals and targets that requires resources; on the other hand FDI is an investment that is tangible to Governments with an important requirement of accountability for default on payment. In conclusion how do we hold leaders accountable in not achieving the MDGs based National Development Agenda? This raises the importance of national ownership of the MDGs, leadership at all levels, civic engagement and empowerment of the communities to hold their leaders accountability.

Djibril Ly maintained that facilitating public and private entities to be part of the MDGs Agenda requires a constant and inclusive dialogue with Governments. It also implies integrated development systems backed by participatory discourse with impact at national and local level. Involvement of the youth in this process is also very important. As Henry stressed, decent and productive employment for youth is a major commitment of the Millennium Development Goals and should reflect in promoting inclusive leadership and innovation for the achievement of the national development agenda. Access to productive and decent work is the best way young people can realize their aspirations, improve their living conditions and actively participate in society. Decent work for young people provides them with significant benefits in terms of increased wealth, a commitment to democracy, security and political stability. It strengthens economies. And it creates a cadre of young consumers, savers, and taxpayers who fuel the energy, innovation and creativity that attract domestic and foreign direct investment.
Finally, the issue of skills versus competencies is also pertinent here. As mentioned by colleagues from UNDP Regional Center, Bangkok, advocacy for change demands competencies not mere technical skills. These include sensitivity to and real understanding of issues on the ground, visioning, communicating and engaging with stakeholders, and leadership values that can emerge or may be present among ordinary citizens, government officials, and grassroots community workers.
We look forward to your further inputs and specific examples in the coming days, particularly your ideas on how we can facilitate the leadership role, and, innovative work of both state and non-state actors in the implementation of the MDGs.

With best wishes.

Sincerely,

Monjur and Gowher

Phase II Moderators
Professor Gowher Rizvi, Director, The Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard University; and
A.H. Monjurul Kabir, Knowledge Management Specialist and Focal Point for Innovation and Leadership in Governance, Democratic Governance Group, Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP New York

South Africa: Siphosami Malunga

Siphosami Malunga, Policy Adviser-Governance; UNDP Regional Centre in Johannesburg

Dear Colleagues,
Thank you for all your fascinating contributions thus far. I would also like to share my views on this important subject.

I believe that we are construing the concept of leadership too narrowly in our discourse to the obvious detriment of our achievement of the MDGs. All our previous and current efforts in strengthening leadership capacities have tended to focus on the political and institutional leaders of developing countries ignoring the potential of leadership at the community level.
We have 'talked the talk' regarding balancing the responsiveness of governments with empowerment of the citizenry but have not 'walked the walk' with regards to strengthening local/community level leadership capacities.
The result of this approach is that the primary beneficiaries (the poor and disadvantaged) of the services the MDGs are supposed to achieve continue to remain outside the debate on what services they need and how they ought to be delivered while we focus on advocating to governments and institutions and strengthening their capacities to deliver on the MDGs with or without success.
Innovation in strengthening leadership for achieving the MDGs should focus not on traditional notions of national leadership but on strengthening local and community mobilisation capacities with the dual objective of i) ensuring that poor communities (with capable home grown leadership) can effectively hold political leaders to account in achieving the MDGs on the one hand and ii) ensuring that communities themselves take necessary measures on their own to achieve the MDGs on the other hand. This approach empowers the poor in a manner that the traditional notion does not and expands the opportunities for achieving the MDGs.

A one- sided focus on national and institutional leadership while important suffers from the usual weakness that political leaders come and go (well at least some do) and take with them the commitments they have made. The only way to secure commitments to the MDGs is to make the poor and disadvantaged and not governments the custodians of these commitments and to strengthen their capacities to seek, and obtain their achievement.

Rwanda: Eugene Nkubito

Eugene Nkubito; Programme Specialist – Public Management Unit; UNDP Rwanda

Dear colleagues,
Find below my contribution for this exciting discussion.

1. What are the key challenges in identifying sectoral champions/change agents, innovators, especially those representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups through formal and informal processes at national/sub-national level? How can we facilitate innovation and strengthen their leadership capability to pursue an equitable and inclusive approach to MDGs based development agenda?

Developing countries and particularly African poor countries are once again at the cross-roads: whereas we thought, some months ago, that most African Sub-Saharan countries are doing well (at least in terms of growth rates, enjoying at least 4% a year); we now hear that 2 major crises are on the way: fuel and food skyrocketing prices.
MDGs are certainly going to be hit hard. Most “Afro-pessimists” had already announced that it would take more than 100 years (from now) to achieve the MDGs without the current sudden crises and very likely, Afro-pessimists will show up again with more negative rhetoric.
But let us look at the key questions posted by our discussion network: I will begin by the challenges of identifying sectoral champions/change agents for an inclusive and equitable approach to MDGs. I see mainly 3 challenges:
i) The status of democratization processes in Sub-Saharan African countries

ii) The lack of non-state actors in remote poor areas

iii) The weak capacity of the local CSO and their subsequent shrinking financial support

Champions are rarely created; they emerge from the society following either an enabling environment for their rise or a desperate situation that pushes natural leaders to stand up for the rights of the people (sometimes risking their own lives). Do we have now (in Africa) enabling environments for this to happen? Well, the situation varies tremendously from one country to another. We have 4 categories:

  • Countries that have embarked on a genuine liberal democratization process (close, if not better than what we see in the “developed democratic countries”) like Benin, Mali, Senegal, South Africa, Mauritius, Mozambique, Ghana, etc.
  • Countries (generally without much natural resources) that are in transition towards liberal democracy but which are keen to achieving the MDGs, the “Developmental States” like Tunisia, Rwanda, Burkina-Faso, Ouganda, Madagascar, etc.
  • Countries with huge natural resources (oil, gold, copper,etc) but going through a difficult democratization process like Gabon, Angola, Guinea, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, etc
  • Countries in deep crisis like DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Sudan, Republic of Central Africa, etc.

In the first category, enabling environments do exist. The main challenge there is to make sure that potential champions in the public sector do their job correctly without putting their political party’s interests above those of the people they serve. In most cases, indeed, public servants are appointed by the ruling party and hence must serve its immediate political interests. The local CSO is usually vibrant and very active in various advocacy activities. The challenge is to have a set of specialized NGOs that can focus on the MDGs particularly.

The second category of countries, even though the enabling environment is not fully established, are the best achievers when it comes to MDGs. Look for example at Burkina-Faso and Rwanda. The 2 countries are among the best performers, due to the (historical) motivation of its people and the role played by their top leaders. Particularly in Rwanda, President Kagame has emerged as a staunch supporter of MDGs and stands as a firm role model for the rest of Rwandan citizens in terms of pushing hard to reform the public sector in order to have better infrastructures and to provide better services (education, health). The challenge in this category of countries is to make sure that the current leaders pass on their successors the skills and the leadership capacity they have demonstrated so far. Another challenge is to make sustainable the institutions currently being put in place to overhaul the country’s performances. In these countries, it is much easier to identify champions.
The local CSO are very dynamic and can easily engage the government as long as they do not interfere with politics. Funding for local NGOs has significantly diminished over the last decade.

The third category, despite their potential wealth, is having difficulties to achieve the MDGs. Generally speaking corruption is running high and the public sector is ineffective and self-serving. The local CSO may exist, but their voice is hardly listened to and they rarely get external funding support. Both government and private partners (national and international) are busy making personal profits and do not care.

The fourth category is problematic in all sectors. The state is weak and sometimes inexistent (Somalia). The local CSO have no enabling environment, usually they do not exist or are so weak that their capacity cannot be used for MDGs advocacy.

2. How can we facilitate the leadership role, and, innovative work of non-state actors (i.e., political parties, faith based organizations, civil society organizations, media etc.) in the implementation of the MDGs? How can we ensure the inclusion of their effective participation in MDGs based development agenda?

Usually, we have 4 types of relationship between the government and the CSO (as well as the private sector):

i) Confrontation
ii) Complementarity
iii) Collaboration
iv) Awareness raising

The 4 types of relationship reflect (in most cases) the socio-political context in each country.

  • The “confrontation” works in a genuine democratic environment where multiparty system is fully established.
  • The “collaboration” modality is useful in “developmental states” where the leaders are committed to achieving the MDGs.
  • Complemntarity” may be found in political contexts where the state is weak and does not reach certain parts of the country in terms of basic service provision. Actually the CSO intervenes where the state is absent.
  • Awareness raising” is the only option for NGOs operating in crisis-ridden countries and international NGOs are in a better position (than national NGOs) to perform that kind of advocacy. Security risks are very high in those contexts.

While facilitating non-state actors to play a leading role in MDGs , we need to pay attention the above operating modalities and then build subsequently their capacities. The relationship patterns can also apply for the private sector.
To me the CSO are the natural advocacy partner for the MDGs. The private sector can, of course, play a role in this area but this should be done through investing in poor areas and creating jobs for the marginalized people.

Another way of facilitating the emergence of the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups is to ensure that networks and apex organizations are set up by the CSO (both national and international) in order to coordinate and harmonize advocacy actions and also to have more voice in important gatherings (national and international) dealing with MDGs.

New York: Salil Shetty

Salil Shetty, Director, UN Millennium Campaign New York

Thanks to the Governance Group of UNDP for organizing this e-discussion as we prepare for the High Level MDG Event at the UN on the MDGs on 25 September at the mid-point of the MDG period. There been some lack of clarity on the relationship between MDGs and governance not just among governments and NGOs but even within the UN system. Even within UNDP governance is often seen as separate from the MDGs, as evidenced in the way the organization is structured. In most cases, governance is seen as what governments do and a lot of the UN’s effort is to strengthen government capacity. The Millennium Declaration is of course clear about the linkages between the MDGs and both governance and human rights. But few people look at the Declaration when talking about the MDGs. In fact it is rarely recognized that the 8th MDG on “Global Partnership for Development” specifically “Includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction – both nationally and internationally.”

The Millennium Campaign was specifically set up in 2002 to enhance accountability of governments to their citizens in relationship to their MDG commitments. Our website is www.endpoverty2015.org and we have many examples now at the national and local level of our efforts at the national and local level. The Millennium Campaign sees improved accountability and transparency as a core requirement for achieving and sustaining the MDGs and look forward to working with colleagues who would like to move this discussion from theory to practise.

Thailand: Minar Pimple

Minar Pimple, Deputy Director, Asia, UN Millennium Campaign Thailand

The UN Millennium Campaign has facilitated the leadership role and innovative work of non-state actors over the past years. In line with our mandate to support citizens in their efforts to hold governments to account for the achievement of the MDGs, the Campaign works with citizens across six constituencies – civil society organizations, parliamentarians, local authorities, youth, media and the private sector. Our work underlines the issues related to governance accountability, social exclusion and growing inequality among various sub-segments of the population, especially women and girls of the marginalized groups. In this regards, we emphasized the need to go beyond the aggregate data and successfully highlights critical issues of the lowest castes, ethnic and religious minorities and marginalized regions.

UN Millennium Campaign Asia strives to strengthen the participatory process and the people’s influence on elected officials and political leaders to improve the delivery of the MDGs. Through enhancing collaboration with various partners in the Asia region, the Campaign has enhanced the mutual support and strategy for campaign and advocacy work at two different levels:

1) Promote general public awareness of the MDGs through close collaboration with civil society, media and the UNCTs to hold the governments to account on their commitment; and
2) Enhance policy practice change objectives to achieve the MDGs, for example, parliamentarian advocacy for MDGs which aims to revitalize the MDG Oversight Committees as well as the legislation, policy and budget allocation process for particular social sectors at the national and local levels.

At the national level, our work with civil society through Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) national coalitions, faith-based organization, youth groups and media resulted in stronger advocacy initiatives that highlighted key policy issues in our priority countries:

For instance, in India, Wada na Todo Abhiyan(Do Not Break Your Promise Campaign) launched a campaign by children for demanding 6% for education and 3% for health of GDP aptly called the Nine-Is-Mine Campaignin 2007. Everyday for 2 months 5,000 children from all over the country sent a reminder post-card to the Finance Minister to keep the promise of central government and partly due to this in last 2 budgets there is a upward revision for both these sectors. This example shows on one hand how to make the MDGs relevant to national context and on the other to engage appropriate constituency to make the demand more appealing and legitimate the long term impact on children being made aware of the MDG promise and their role to remind the government to keep it is sustained beyond the immediate issues.

The civil society organisations attempted to address common development challenges in India, including increasing inequality, poor governance, malnutrition, child and maternal mortality, access and quality of education and health services and gender inequality. In 2007, we focused on marginalized states of India and brought visibility to the MDG deficit among disadvantaged social groups, such as Dalits, nomadic tribes and Muslim minority by encouraging them to bring out MDG status reports for these respective social groups and specifically women among them. This generated new initiatives and leadership among these historically marginalized groups and MDG framework gave a new legitimacy for their long standing demands.

In the Philippines, GCAP national coalition launched the 36 Peso Challenge campaign, which was led by the youth. The campaign called for an increase in the national poverty line from 36 pesos per person per day (less than US$1 per day), which is not sufficient to provide basic food and non-food needs as claimed by the government. The Government has initiated the review the national poverty benchmark while revising it to 42 pesos. Concurrently, the Senate of the Philippines has endorsed an increase of the budget allocation for the social sectors. Though the 36 peso campaign can not claim the full credit for these changes it did give a new energy to youth to engage in social development issues and to expand their outreach.

Through these campaign and advocacy efforts, the UN Millennium Campaign continues to strengthen democratization by deepening informed participation of non state actors towards the full realization of MDGs as an integral part of sustainable human development.

Senegal: Boubacar Fall

Boubacar Fall, Programme Officer – Governance; UNDP Senegal

English | French

Dear colleagues,
Decentralization in Senegal was intended as a response to fundamental concerns in the country: preserving national unity and territorial integrity, rebuilding the state and strengthen its reconciliation with citizens, democratization of public management and the fight against poverty through the provision of public services to users. The Government has put in place, with the support of development partners, a scheme allowing municipalities to acquire skills in planning and project management and to make major investments for local development.

To ensure greater consistency, Senegal in collaboration with its technical and financial partners (FTP) has set up the National Programme for Local Development (PNDL), which serves as the unifying framework for interventions in decentralization. This program responds to the need for coherence and harmonization of approaches in development partners’ activities. Albeit slowly, FTPs were able to overcome their skepticism and mobilize support for the PNDL.

In addition, at the legislative level, in many cases the laws are unclear about the distribution of tasks between the state and local authorities. The exercise of the powers transferred to local governments often depends on certain conditions (implementing texts on modalities for implementation of laws, technical and financial capacities of local communities, etc.) which are also lacking in Senegal, so that functions are ultimately poorly handled by local authorities. In theory local authorities have large responsibilities but in reality most of the powers granted to the local governments are little or not exercised.

The causes of this situation include the lack of texts on decentralization and the resistance of State to the transfer of powers. Indeed, the technical ministries continue to excercise a great deal of functions attributed to local authorities especially in sectoral public policies areas (education, health, etc.). Further, the distribution of powers between levels of local authorities is sometimes unclear. The same roles are often attributed at more than one local authority without much distinction of tasks.

External Support: a Sound Partnership

External aid to Senegal is characterized by the willingness of many technical and financial partners to integrate their strategy to support the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSPs) as part of the decentralization strategy.

It is difficult to assess the exact amount spent on programmes that support the decentralization process because the line is not always very clear between the sectoral programmes (intervention with sectoral ministries); and decentralized cooperation and the work of NGOs are often not recognized in public accounting. During the decade 1995-2005, the interventions of development partners have clearly identified decentralization as an axis of intervention and have invested 64% in rural areas (123 680 million FCFA) and 36% in urban areas (69 413 million FCFA).

Difficulties to Overcome

Access to basic services remains incomplete and, as such, the performance of Senegal remains far below what the country could achieve given the investments made. Access to funding and opportunities is reduced for many groups. For example, the poor, rural residents, women and youth lack access to financial services even though Senegal has one of the most advanced banking systems in the sub-region. In the region, the private sector remains very small and its modernization potential non-existent.

The problem of resource transfers to local authorities remains the main obstacle to an operational decentralization. Even through the Government does not apply the criteria for fiscal transfers to the letter, these are nevertheless constantly increasing. This is particularly true for the Endowment Fund for Decentralization (FDD) which allows communities to execute their functions. The 33% increase of the FDD between 1996 and 2005 reveals a strong commitment by the State to continue its policy of decentralization. However, the lack of concomitant transfer of financial resources to local authorities did not allow a real transfer of powers.

The decentralization experience in Senegal suffers from chronic instability.

The political compromises that have resulted in numerous changes in the decentralization strategy illustrate the difficulties facing the Government in its efforts to maintain decentralization as a core component of its policy. Although under the PNDL, harmonization efforts were attempted with monitoring and evaluation systems developed by partners, no such mechanism has been agreed upon by all partners for local development and decentralization initiatives.

Decentralization must be recognized at government level and the central organization of the State and the devolution process should be implemented. We must allow regional and sub-regional governments to adjust their services to the requests of local collectivities. This will ensure effective and sustainable service delivery to those collectivities.

A strong tradition of planning and participation
Since 1996, experience gained by local authorities in implementing projects and programmes has enabled them to capitalize on and appropriate tools for planning, programming, implementation and monitoring of local development activities. The participatory process of elaboration and implementation of participatory local development plans, have tested the proficiency of local authorities and strengthened local governance. This has largely contributed to the mobilization of actors and resources to meet priority needs. However, the consideration of the region as a separate territory constitutes an important constraint.

The need for an economic shift that is participatory and inscribed in a regional framework.
Decentralization has seen progress especially on the legal front, but has only slightly contributed to the poverty reduction process, whose early successes remain essentially the result of macro-economic reforms and the dynamism of the economy of Dakar.

Original Contribution in French

Chers collègues,

Contexte : Des résultats intéressants mais qui demeurent en demi-teinte

La Décentralisation au Sénégal a été conçue comme réponse aux préoccupations fondamentales pour le pays que sont la préservation de l’unité nationale et de l’intégrité du territoire, la refondation de l’état et sa réconciliation avec les citoyens, la démocratisation de la gestion des affaires publiques et la lutte contre la pauvreté par la fourniture de services publics de qualité aux usagers. Le Gouvernement a mis en place, avec l’appui des partenaires, un dispositif permettant aux communes, d’acquérir des compétences en matière de planification et de maîtrise d’ouvrage et de réaliser leurs investissements prioritaires.

Pour assurer une plus grande cohérence, le Sénégal en collaboration avec les partenaires techniques et financiers (PTF) à mise en place le Programme national de développement local (PNDL) qui se veut le cadre fédérateur des interventions en matière de décentralisation. Ce programme est une réponse en ce qui concerne la cohérence des actions et l’harmonisation des démarches. Bien que les PTF aient su vaincre leur scepticisme pour se mobiliser en faveur du PNDL, ce dernier tarde à attirer des PTF.

Par ailleurs au niveau législatif, dans bien des cas les textes de lois sont imprécis quant à la répartition des tâches entre l’État et les collectivités locales. L’exercice des compétences transférées dépend assez souvent de conditions (textes d’application sur les modalités de mise en œuvre de lois, capacités techniques et financières des collectivités locales, etc.) qui font également défaut au Sénégal, si bien que les compétences sont en définitive mal assurées par les collectivités locales. En théorie ces dernières assument des responsabilités très larges mais en réalité la plupart des compétences locales attribuées par les lois y sont peu ou pas exercées.

Au nombre des raisons expliquant cette situation, il faut citer entre autres l’insuffisance des textes sur la décentralisation et les résistances des services de l’État au transfert des compétences. En effet, les ministères techniques continuent d’exercer une bonne partie des attributions relevant des collectivités territoriales dans les domaines objets de politiques sectorielles publiques (éducation, santé, etc.). La répartition des compétences entre les différents niveaux de collectivités est parfois imprécise. Les mêmes compétences sont souvent attribuées à plus d'un niveau sans grande distinction des tâches.

L’appui extérieur : un partenariat avéré

L’aide extérieure est caractérisée par la volonté affichée de nombreux partenaires techniques et financiers du Sénégal d’inscrire leur stratégie d’appui au Document de Stratégie de Lutte contre la Pauvreté (DRSP) dans le cadre de la mise en œuvre de la décentralisation.

Bien qu’il soit difficile d’évaluer le montant de manière exacte des programmes venant en appui au processus de décentralisation parce que la ligne de démarcation n’est pas toujours très précise avec les programmes sectorielles par rapport aux domaines de compétences transférées (intervention des ministères sectoriels) mais également en ce qui concerne l’action des ONG et de la coopération décentralisée souvent non comptabilisé au niveau de la comptabilité publique, au cours de la décennie 1995-2005, les interventions des partenaires au développement ayant clairement identifié la décentralisation comme axe d’intervention ont bénéficié pour 64% au milieu rural (123 680 Millions de FCFA) et 36% au milieu urbain (69 413 Millions de FCFA).

Difficultés à surmonter

L’accès aux services de base demeure incomplet et à ce titre, la performance du Sénégal demeure très en deçà de ce que le pays pourrait atteindre compte tenu des investissements consentis. L’accès au financement et aux opportunités est réduit pour de nombreux groupes. Par exemple, les pauvres, les résidents des zones rurales, les femmes et les jeunes n’ont pas accès aux services financiers et cela même si le Sénégal possède l’un des systèmes bancaires les plus développés de la sous région. En région la présence du secteur privé demeure très faible et ses possibilités de modernisation inexistantes.

Le problème des transferts de ressources aux collectivités locales demeure le principal obstacle à une décentralisation opérationnelle. Même si le Gouvernement n’a pas appliqué à la lettre les critères de transferts fiscaux, ceux-ci sont néanmoins en constante augmentation. Cela est particulièrement vrai pour le Fonds de Dotation de la Décentralisation qui permet aux collectivités d’assurer les compétences qui leur ont été transférées. L’augmentation de 33% du FDD entre 1996 et 2005 révèle un engagement fort de l’Etat à poursuivre sa politique en matière de décentralisation. Cependant, la non application du principe de transfert concomitant de ressources financières aux collectivités locales n’a pas permis une prise en charge effective des compétences transférées.

Le pilotage de la décentralisation souffre d’instabilité chronique.

Les compromis politiques qui se sont soldés par les nombreux changements d’ancrage de la décentralisation montrent bien les difficultés du Gouvernement à asseoir la décentralisation en tant qu’enjeu majeur de sa politique. Même si dans le cadre du PNDL des efforts d’harmonisation sont tentés avec les expériences de suivi évaluation développées par les partenaires, il apparaît aussi qu’un mécanisme de suivi évaluation accepté de tous n’est pas encore mis en place dans le cadre du développement local et de la décentralisation

La décentralisation doit être reconnue au niveau des pouvoirs publics et de l’organisation centrale de l’Etat et le processus de déconcentration doit se concrétiser. Il faut permettre aux services régionaux et sub-régionaux de l'Etat de moduler leurs prestations en fonction de la demande des Collectivités Territoriales, ce qui conditionne un accompagnement efficace et durable des dites collectivités.

Une tradition solide de planification et de participation.

Depuis 1996, l’expérience acquise par les collectivités locales dans l’exécution des projets et programmes leur a permis de capitaliser et de s’approprier des outils pertinents pour la planification, la programmation, la mise en œuvre et le suivi des actions de développement local. Les processus participatifs d’élaboration et d’exécution participative des plans locaux de développement ont permis de tester la maîtrise d’ouvrage locale et de renforcer la gouvernance locale. Ceci a largement contribué à la mobilisation des acteurs et des ressources en vue de la satisfaction des besoins prioritaires. Le peu de cas fait de la région comme territoire distinct constitue cependant une contrainte importante.

La nécessité d’un virage économique qui soit participatif et inscrit dans une cadre régional.

La décentralisation a surtout connu des progrès juridiques et n’a encore que faiblement contribué au processus de réduction de la pauvreté dont les premières réussites demeurent pour l’essentiel le résultat des réformes macro-économiques et du dynamisme de l’économie dakaroise.

New York: Lenni Montiel

Lenni Montiel, Senior Policy Adviser on Decentralization and Local Governance; UNDP New York

Dear All,

Very interesting discussion! And very useful contributions. Some few comments from my side. I will focus mainly on State and government perspectives. Significant emphasis has been put by other contributors already on the role of civil society, communities and individuals.

1.- Poverty reduction and social welfare continues to be (if one can argue that it has always been) one of the major objectives of the State in most countries around the world, even if at the level of rhetoric. Consequently, the question here is how good (effective? efficient?) is the State in dealing with poverty reduction targets? It depends, is the obvious answer. In some countries the State does very well. In some others the State does very bad in terms of ensuring equality of people in terms of participation in development.

2.- Several State institutions in many countries have not been performing in the interest of the poor and excluded in society. In general and in many countries one can find situations such as the following:

  • Parliaments do not necessarily approve budgets having in mind the poor - women, men and children. Judicial systems are not organized so as to facilitate access to it by the poor and excluded.
  • Capacities of local authorities are usually not as strong as needed to ensure that the rights and the interests of the poor and the vulnerable are protected in a day to day life at loca level.
  • Local political systems are often distorted and manipulated by local elites (as national systems by national elites) so as to capture State capacities and financial resources in their benefit and very often to exercise domination and discrimination upon other groups in society.
  • Police officers in a given community are not held accountable for, neither trained to respect the rights of the citizens, but to punish “bad behaviour”.
  • Political parties do not get political power precisely because of their direct concern and effectiveness in dealing with the interests of the poor.

3.- Therefore everything that could be done to ensure that the very basic functions and responsibilities of State institutions to guarantee equality in the development of all groups of society, should be supported. That will imply advancement towards poverty reduction and equality as an overall objective and will imply progress towards MDGs, as a concrete set of goals/time schedule.

4.- MDGs need to be interpreted not as a goal in themselves, but as a goal towards a wider objective – poverty reduction, equality and inclusion. In my view an important condition to ensure progress towards the achievement of the MDGs is to increase the overall commitment of State officials and politicians to equality and poverty reduction. This can be achieved in many different ways and the current debate on leadership is showing the many different valuable and useful experiences that can be analysed in this respect. I will argue however, that substantive and sustainable progress in the fight against poverty will be made when the values of equality, observation of human rights, tolerance and respect for human dignity will be enshrined since early years of education.

5.- With a more “short-term perspective” and thinking specifically on the MDGs, a major element also is to work in all possible ways with political parties on issues related to “development agenda and poverty reduction”. In the e-discussion (2004) on engaging with political parties, several recommendations were made in this direction.

6.- Another key action is related to the role of “representative bodies” – national parliaments and regional/local assemblies or councils. National or local representatives do make key decisions affecting the life of millions. Budgets and plans are approved by them. Legal framework is put in place through the political debate that takes place in these instances. Supporting parliaments and local councils as institutions, but also MPs and Local Councilors as individuals are undoubtedly initiatives with great potential returns in terms of leadership for the MDGs. This work together with the work with political parties has to be permanent. Membership of democratic institutions is often changed through elections therefore the need to keep efforts in enhancing the knowledge and references of people’s representatives about poverty reduction strategies, the MDGs and equality is a most.

7.- Governance programmes/projects may be geared towards specific sector or issue related outcomes in terms of public sector/state reform, but as part of UNDP the overarching objective shall remain poverty reduction and equality of development. Often one can identify that programmes/projects do not make these connections. They need to be underscored in initial analysis/assessments, design, implementation and evaluation. It is much more than simply adding some few lines with the “needed jargon” in the project document.

8.- Both governance as well as poverty reduction, as well as intitiatives to achieve MDGs, are primarily political processes. Underestimation of their political nature can affect realism in the design of initiatives and strategies. MDGs as well as poverty reduction will not be achieved simply with technical perspectives and solutions.

9.- Effective governance is clearly part of the formula for reducing poverty and achieving the MDGs. However, there is a body of research questioning whether or not decentralization should automatically be prescribed as part of this mix. In few words, there is little evidence in the development work supporting the argument that more decentralization leads automatically to less poverty. Decentralization badly designed or wrongly implemented may lead (as often the case in many places) to frustration. Decentralization, as a political process, may lead to a series of pitfalls, therefore it is not a panacea for the solution of development challenges in general and for poverty reduction in specific. We need to weight properly each case and its context before arguing a case for supporting decentralization everywhere and at any cost! Under certain circumstances decentralization increases inequalities, prompts conflict, and does not facilitate development. Examples are many. Therefore decentralization efforts under certain conditions may be contrary to development in general because it prompts conflict and division in society. Under such conditions it is highly controversial to assume that MDGs will be achieved, and to interpret that progress towards the elimination of inequalities is being made. It is also important to remember that much of the evidence suggesting that decentralization contributes to poverty reduction is anecdotal, or specific to individual country contexts, development conditions or sectors. For more info: Remy Prud’homme. 1995. The Dangers of Decentralization. The World Bank; OECD 2004. Decentralization and poverty in developing countries: exploring the impact. Working Paper No 236. OECD Development Centre; USAID. 2006. Fighting poverty through fiscal decentralization.

10.- Making progress towards MDGs in qualitative terms should also imply making progress in terms of social conditions and the reduction of inequalities that affect particularly the life of ethnic (and religious) minorities, people living with disabilities, and indigenous populations. These groups are traditionally excluded and discriminated in many countries in terms of access to social services, development in general and the exercise of freedoms and rights in particular. Similar situation applies to a very specific group in Latin America - afro-descendants. Ensuring that governance mechanisms are promoted and used to facilitate progress in the reduction of inequalities and poverty requires and special effort from UN agencies and other bilaterla organizations to ensure that the needs and demands of these specific groups of men and women are taken care properly and their rights to freedom and development appropriately observed. There can be no significant reason to celebrate progress in "numbers and figures" towards the achievement of MDGs while inequalities and discrimination towards selected groups of the population remain unchanged in many countries, while the life of millions of people remain a life with dignity because of the violence (phycological or physical) that comes with discrimination and social exclusion. Particularly important here is to highlight the question of violence against women and children, particularly at home but also in the society at large. Our work should ensure that State institutions and government structures and processes address these concerns (violence, discrimination and exclusion against selected groups of society and among them, against women and children particularly) as appropriate and effective as possible.

11.- Urban poverty is today one of the major problems in most countries, particularly in the developing world. Since last year 2007, more than half of the population of the world lives in cities, so as more of the poor of the world. Therefore, one of the major concerns we shall have in ensuring that MDGs will be achieved in many countries are associated with the capacity of national and local governments to engage in poverty alleviation in cities, together with CSOs, CBOs and private sector. Making an emphasis on urban poverty shall not imply forgeting or rejecting the need to work on the development of rural areas. Appropriate linkages shall be made to deal with these two elements in a positive way. However, what is impossible to avoid is to recognize the already significant numbers of women and men that live in conditions of poverty in most of the cities of the world, particularly in developing countries. The numbers of women and men in conditions of urban poverty is incresing exponentially. As the Development Programme of the UN we need to join forces with other UN agencies - UNHABITAT, UNCDF, ILO, FAO, etc…to ensure that urban poverty is appropriately addressed in international assistance strategies. That should be done together with other multilateral and bilateral initiatives. That should be done in close relationship with national and local governments as key actors in local urban development. This among other things also requires a significanat effport to support leadership development in urban communities and in the political leadership of cities.

Central African Republic: Oumar Sako

Oumar Sako, Governance and Crisis and Prevention Unit; UNDP Central African Republic

Dear Colleagues,

My thanks to you our colleagues for initiating this e-discussion on such an interesting subject which is a matter of big concern today. Regarding this phase II questions I would like to bring some inputs:

1. What are the key challenges in identifying sectoral champions/change agents, innovators, especially those representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups through formal and informal processes at national/sub-national level? How can we facilitate innovation and strengthen their leadership capability to pursue an equitable and inclusive approach to MDGs based development agenda?

I totally agree with Siphosani’s comments. However, I would say that this discussion is an opportunity for us to change the way that we approach the issue. We’re going beyond the national level and targeting the sub-national level. We should go further and tackle the local level and community level and make sure that we identified champions and change agents at these levels. Make sure to bring the poor, the venerable and other desperate in the center of the debate and lead or play a central role. Make sure to take their views on problems and solutions. Make sure to bring or mobilize an optimum level of resources (human resources, financial and material) to support the implementation of solutions. Leadership without having the minimum level of resources to do things contributing to reaching MDGs is just a “coquille vide”. Certainly poor countries still have to face big challenges at management level (lack of transparent and efficient management, accountability, etc.) but one of the big challenges concerns the fulfillment of the donor community engagements to bring adequate and predicable resources to meet MDGs. Just look at the struggle being done by Pr Jeffery Sachs and others to mobilize resources for the Millennium villages and cities in Mali, Ghana, etc! So personally the issue less and issue of finding innovation and strengthening leadership that a matter of adequate resources. I recognize that availability of adequate resources should go hand by hand with good and transparent management and so off.

2. How can we facilitate the leadership role, and, innovative work of non-state actors (i.e., political parties, faith based organizations, civil society organizations, media etc.) in the implementation of the MDGs? How can we ensure the inclusion of their effective participation in MDGs based development agenda?

One of the best ways to facilitate the leadership role, and, innovative work of non-state actors is strengthen their institutional capacity and awareness in order to allow them to play their role of animation of the political scene and democratic control of political decisions, national programs and other issues at all levels (national, sub-national and local – including community level). By doing so one should pay attention to the Gender issues and issues related to poor and other vulnerable groups.

Gowher and Monjur - Moderators' Message: Extension of Phase 2

Phase II: Promoting Inclusive Leadership and Innovation for Implementing MDGs based National Development Agenda (26 June-31 July 2008)

Dear Colleagues and Members,

We are still receiving your inputs to this interesting phase of the e-discussion on Democratic Governance and Leadership for Achieving MDGs. Some of our colleagues from the field have already informed us that they are in the process of finalizing their e-discussion contributions. Hence, we are very pleased to extend the e-discussion period until 31 July 2008. This has been, indeed, a rewarding experience for us: to be able to receive, read and, post so many thoughtful and, at times, exciting messages from all over the world. The e-discussion has also benefited from the very kind participation by our external partner organizations, think tanks, and NGOs.

As Salil Shettyof UN Millennium Campaign rightly pointed out that there been some lack of clarity on the relationship between MDGs, governance and leadership not just among governments and NGOs but even within the UN system. In most cases, governance is seen as what governments do and a lot of the UN’s effort is to strengthen government capacity. The Millennium Declaration is, of course, clear about the linkages between the MDGs and both governance and human rights. But few people look at the Declaration when talking about the MDGs. In fact it is rarely recognized that the 8th MDG on “Global Partnership for Development” specifically includes ‘a commitment to good governance, development and povertyreduction’ – both nationally and internationally. However, Siphosami Malungafrom UNDP alerted us that we are construing the concept of leadershiptoo narrowly in our discourse to the obvious detriment of our achievement of the MDGs. Many of our efforts in strengthening leadership capacities have tended to focus on the political and institutional leaders of developing countries ignoring the potential of leadership at the community level. It is also clear from the discussion that innovation is not encouraged sufficiently by both state and non-state actors. The e-discussion has, so far, successfully identified areas of considerable knowledge gap with a clear articulation of agenda for action.

This e-discussion is quite distinct for another reason too. For the first time we are using Wiki to promote collaborative knowledge sharing and active participation. Therefore your comments, and edits are extremely valuable to the discourse. For details about the process of wiki posting, please visit the relevant info section of the wiki - How do I post my Contribution to the e-Discussion? For detailed background information including e-discussion concept note, Phase 1 contributions, Phase 2 Contributions and resources, please visit the e-discussion Wiki, or the UNDP Intranet e-discussion workspace (Requires Password). The e-discussion is cross-posted on DGP-Netand MDG-Net. Please submit your contributions on the e-discussion Wiki or by email to dgp-net@groups.undp.org. As moderators of this unique discussion, we will continue to share your collective wisdom and practical insights (knowledge nuggets!). Thank you very much for your support, understanding of the e-discussion processes, and very substantive contributions.

We look forward to a vibrant closing of the e-discussion (31 July).

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sincerely,

Gowher and Monjur

Professor Gowher Rizvi, The Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard University; and
A.H. Monjurul Kabir, Knowledge Management Specialist and Focal Point for Innovation and Leadership in Governance, Democratic Governance Group, Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP New York

Brazil: Ana Rosa Soares

Ana Rosa Soares, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer – MDGs Focal Point; UNDP Brazil

Congratulations to the colleagues contributing to the debate. I wanted to add my personal view of an interesting moment I am living as an MDG focal point for UNDP in Brazil, where I also worked with democratic governance. Adjusting to the demands and challenges of Brazil the CO is promoting the new corporate vision proposed of “ Capacity Development” which we chose to associate with an MDG Localizing Strategy we hope will contribute to the development of the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

Capacity development in a sense is what UNDP has been doing all these year in the country. However, we hope the way the new approach (or strategy-CD/methodology-CA) is being presented by the HQ’s team and the effort to organize it in a "product" to call it “our (UN) own” can bring innovation and positive strategic thinking to help improve the work being done to develop, reform, strengthen, modernize and promote democratic governance, progress and social change towards sustainable human development.

The brilliant simplicity of the messages and campaigning instruments developed make the MDGs a perfect door to allow capacity development to enter certain communities and reach the right champions, innovators, change agents,but also and most importantly institutions, organizations and enterprizes to work democratic governance and local development more strategically and promote human development at the local level. The flexibility and adaptability of the new capacity development proposal is also something promising that we hope will help our work at the local level to greater national ownership and more equal and inclusive development of the country.

Identifying the best champions or the potential right change agents can certainly be a challenge. However, I believe that in most communities if you ask you may be able get a list of names, with a high probability of being the right ones for the job. But most certainly, the probability will also be very high that most of the people in the list although right for the job, are not prepared for it. But they will be sure to became the champion, innovator, change agent with the proper conditions, opportunities, adequate training and environment.

There sure is a need to help identify, direct, position and build the capacity of individuals. But most importantly, I believe there is a greater need to promote more strategically and in an integrated way the capacity development of organizations, institutions, communities...and especially, the vulnerable and disadvantaged ones, so the nation as a whole can be better prepared to democratically govern itself, develop, adapt to the changes, face the challenges on the way and eventually reach the MDGs.

In Brazil, this MDG and capacity development work is being developed by the UNDP in partnership and close cooperation with the national and local governments, civil society organizations, the private sector, academic and research institutions and other UN agencies.

Maldives: Ram Shankar

Ram Shankar, Assistant Resident Representative and Recovery Manager; UNDP Maldives

Dear Colleagues,
Thank you for the opportunity to contribute. For the first question, I will provide a brief example from Maldives and for the second, will elaborate more, drawing forth on examples from other regions along with making a suggestion on how UNDP may contribute to this situation. To answer the questions:

1. In the Maldives, there are no Universities at all. So, students going for higher studies need to go abroad to develop their skills. Many return to their homes after their education to use their skills either in the private sector or in the Government. Obviously, studying abroad is expensive. The Villa Group, owned by the ex-Finance Minister and one of the country’s richest entrepreneurs, Mr. Ghasim Ibrahim, has put in place a scholarship fund that funds hundreds of Maldivian students’ education abroad. The group has recently been collaborating with other companies to provide “bonded” scholarships – i.e., a plan by which students are sponsored for studies provided they return to the sponsoring company for a period of around 3 – 5 years. This is a good way overall to build much needed capacity in the Maldives for the long-term rather than relying on foreign workers who are temporary in nature and who may not transfer their knowledge / capacity within the country. It should be noted that the above initiative occurred as a personal leadership example on the part of these entrepreneurs, outside of the formal Government framework. Of course, one may well argue that there are other equally rich entrepreneurs (resort owners) who also could do much more to equitably share their vast wealth in a manner such as the above example. This is probably where the Government needs to come in, to encourage such innovation, leadership and personal examples to flourish.

2. Regarding innovation as a topic, a recent special issue of the India Today magazine (dated July 7) featured 50 pioneers of change – most of them innovators in different parts of India and most of these from the non-government sector, with people from different strata of society. One such example was of the National Innovation Foundation (www.nifindia.org) a Government-funded body set up in 2000 that now boasts of a database of over 75000 innovations and practices from all parts of India. My curiosity propelled me to explore this area a bit more on google. There are a number of such nationally set up innovation mechanisms (some examples include: Government of Canada’s backed mechanism that showcases the best products of research excellence in Canada – www.innovationcanada.ca; A non-Government site in the US called the IT and Innovation Foundation – www.itif.org; a UK based mechanism, the World Innovation Foundation – www.thewif.org.uk among others).

3. UNDP sells and prides itself as a knowledge-based organization, sharing best practices from around the world in pursuit of its development objectives by being on the ground in around 166 countries. I truly believe that this is one of UNDP’s niches – the ability to coalesce and bring together different knowledge products and to effectively use these to reduce poverty. In such a case, I would support and suggest that UNDP takes the lead in offering to coordinate (through its South-South Unit and existing knowledge networks) various low-cost innovations from around the world and also to share in-house innovative practices more effectively among Cos. This may be done by a more dynamic internet / electronic platform that can effectively capture best practices and lessons learnt from internal and external sources.

4. One key area where I believe UNDP can make a difference by sharing best practices and innovations is in the area of agriculture and developing marketing linkages for various products to be sold to the end user. The Maldives, in the post-tsunami period has been engaged in some very interesting / innovative work in this area. Some of the above websites, especially some best practices from India have got some very useful material on new types of agricultural products that can enhance quality as well as quantity of food stuffs, thus hopefully contributing to positive outcomes in the current era of high food prices and increasing food scarcity.
Hopefully, some food for thought for the future!

Algeria: Clement Hervé

Clement Hervé; MDGs and Poverty Reduction and Governance Team, UNDP Algeria
Questions put forward to participants:
1. What are the key challenges in identifying sectoral champions/change agents, innovators, especially those representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups through formal and informal processes at national/sub-national level? How can we facilitate innovation and strengthen their leadership capability to pursue an equitable and inclusive approach to MDGs based development agenda?
2. How can we facilitate the leadership role, and, innovative work of non-state actors (i.e., political parties, faith based organizations, civil society organizations, media etc.) in the implementation of the MDGs? How can we ensure the inclusion of their effective participation in MDGs based development agenda?

Identifying the best and most suitable local actors
The question of “identifying sectoral champions/change agents, innovators, especially those representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups through formal and informal processes at national/sub-national level” is particularly relevant to actors within the UNDP office in Algiers, due to the particular nature of the institutional and cultural environment. Past experience has shown that mobilizing NGOs has been relatively easy both in terms of campaigning and working on the ground in order to achieve the MDGs, even though building an equitable and inclusive approach at the local level has proved somewhat more difficult.
The main difficulty in Algeria is not the lack of NGOs and associations representing all strands of groups within society and aiming for MDG attainment, but rather their great number and variable degree of dynamism/creativity. The situation concerning freedoms of association in the Arab States region is mixed (K. Chammari; M. Gantous; T. Guillet; 2007) and acting with the most interesting and stimulating actors sometimes implies a trade-off in terms of the general standing of the CO with regards to our institutional partners as well as public opinion. This barrier to optimal impact and inclusiveness is not specific to Algeria however.
Indeed, the flow of information has proved to be our main concern, knowingly finding and identifying the most interesting social actors, those working on the ground, quite often rather discreetly. Algeria is a country where anonymous, neutral flows of information are very scarce and generally poor in terms of quality. Personal contact and disclosure of information are the norm. Violence during the 1990’s eroded the State’s capacity at the local level in some areas as well as trust among the population. Let us illustrate this point very simply: Algeria ceased editing phonebooks in 1995 and the return to normality has not corrected this. Hence the great difficulties in keeping track of the situation at the local level, as well as in terms of new associations likely to produce the most innovative ideas or simply reflect the opinions and desires of local populations.
As with all COs, the need to accomplish day-to-day business tends to reduce the opportunities to meet local or new actors. The CO MDG strategies will be a helpful instrument/opportunity in terms of time and resources to garner support and look for new partners within civil society. However, the situation described above compels us to look at our daily working practices and the way we deliver: a constant look-out for new partnership opportunities is required, as well as constant and assiduous networking in the capital and the regions. Our institutional partners as well as those in the research community in the regions can be of great help in that respect. Algeria is in the process of completing its university creation program and academics and researchers we work with in regional cities are invaluable sources of information when it comes to local actors in their field of competence (poverty unit at the University of Tlemcen for example). The principal-agent problem remains a very serious issue however, and actors within the CO cannot rely entirely and exclusively on information handed down from current partners who are often happy with their work with UNDP and the associated support, and which they might not want to share. Networking on a wide basis, in and out of the office as well as work hours is proving more and more essential.

Promoting non-State actors in conceiving and implementing an MDG based development agenda
Having succeeded a long and intrusive colonial regime, the Algerian State has long pursued a strategy of centralized State-building. This can still be considered to be the case today, justified by our institutional partners by the need to complete the task of nation-building. However, some progress in terms of decentralized development planning has taken place due to several heavy trend factors: the 1990’s saw massive internal migration towards the northern coastal cities, a movement which the authorities have had great trouble in dealing with as well as redress. Furthermore, the upsurge in the price of hydrocarbons and the ensuing frustration at the local level has led the State to try and accelerate development strategies generally compatible with MDG attainment outside the major city centers.
In the context of the Rural Development Strategy, as well as in an array of local development projects UNDP has been able to gather national authorities and NGOs around the same table, so as to plan and implement local development strategies, taking account of local populations’ needs and wishes. However, administrative habits remain strong and this progress is only tentative. The CO needs to strengthen the trend of civil society involvement by convincing our institutional partners of the opportunities for them in terms of the quality/efficiency of decision-making as well as impact and legitimacy. The credibility or “acceptability” of NGOs is a major issue on the other hand and brings us back to our first point: great efforts are needed to identify burgeoning, creative local actors. Only once this is done can effective capacity building on the part of UNDP be undertaken so as to increase the efficiency and sustainability of NGO participation and leadership. The core of our action in favor of the MDGs is thus conditional to the key challenge of information gathering, networking, and evaluating NGOs: in one word engaging with the civil society environment around us.
Finally, referring back to our first point, UNDP efforts suffer from a lack of information flows in terms of campaigning and raising the awareness that could stimulate a wide-ranging debate within society and between society and government. The MDG communication efforts so far have relied on UNDP sponsored initiatives, with mixed results. Our task is to raise awareness through the NGOs and non-State actors we work with: their networks need to be activated in favor of the MDGs.

China: Amitava Mukherjee

Amitava Mukherjee Ph.D, Senior Economic Affairs Officer and Officer-in-Charge, UNESCAP UNAPCAEM China

Dear Colleagues,
Thank you for such a rich discussion.
Indeed improved accountability and transparency are core requirement for achieving and sustaining the MDGs. However, experience in many countries show that MDGs will not be achieved even if there are in place accountable and transparent institutions (in Stieglitz’s sense) of governance.

To my mind accountable and transparent institutions of governance, may not succeed in achieve the MDGs, if its instrumentality, especially the bureaucracy suffers from what I call empathy deficit or what Dr. Noelene Heyzer, UN Under Secretary General calls, “empathy imbalance”. Let us begin by an illustration. The Economist dated 8-14 March 2008, argued that India’s progress, has been seriously impaired by its burgeoning bureaucracy. Whether that view can be maintained is debatable. However, it is a celebrated fact that the factor which prevents the Asian bureaucrats from being the best is its “empathy deficit” and hence acts as a serious handicap in achieving the MDGs. Sections of the bureaucracy are sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the marginalized and the disadvantaged people but their numbers are far outstripped [by “light years” as it were] with many who do not empathize with the common people, who never seem to realize how much pain is caused, and cost incurred, by the citizens to get their entitlements and rights as by law established, and enshrined in the MDGs. Be it getting a ration card, or an electricity connection, or mutation of land; or getting a copy of the record of rights or accessing other basic services or whatever, on and on a growing list, is not an easy task for the general public. If all those who are responsible for delivering basics services, could empathize with the plight of the common people, and respond to their feelings, delivery of basic services to the poor would improve dramatically, at almost zero marginal cost. And that will have seminal impact of the achievement of the MDGs in the countries of the Asia.
If we could do something to reduce the empathy deficit of the bureaucracy in Asian countries (which has some of the finest minds), it would be a long stride.

Italy: Marina Ponti

Marina Ponti, Deputy Director – Europe; UN Millennium Campaign Italy

So far the E-discussion on democratic governance has focused on actions to be taken in and by developing countries. However, to achieve the Millennium Goals, rich countries have to deliver also on their promises; and governance at the global level has to improve and become more democratic. This implies not only to deliver more and better aid but also to allow for more equity in international decision making and to consider the impact of their trade and agricultural policies on poor countries to ensure ‘globalization benefits all’ as agreed in the Millennium Declaration.

Good governance is first and foremost about accountability. However, we at the U.N. can not hold Governments to account. While the U.N. has been very successful in creating the platform for Governments to make commitments, it cannot enforce compliance by Member States. The U.N. is a moral and credible voice; without the power to enforce any policy change. Only citizens and elected representatives at the national level can hold their Governments to account for the promises they made at the international level. This is the main reason behind the decision of the U.N.S.G in 2002 to launch the U.N. Millennium Campaign with the main purpose of raising awareness of the MDGs and inspiring citizens to mobilize and hold their Governments to account. This requires public awareness and citizen advocacy, suggesting to political leaders that they will win, not lose, votes if they support policies to achieve the MDGs.

As the U.N. system and the donor community at large were already involved in many ways in promoting the MDGs in developing countries, and as the credibility of the “Global Deal” was at stake without action in rich countries, the Millennium Campaign focused its first campaign efforts on rich countries, particularly those countries in Europe where the constituencies pro development policies were still weak and the outreach of traditional development NGOs were limited. From the outset, the Campaign reached out to actors not traditionally involved in development issues: Mayors, church leaders, youth networks, trade unions and mass media like MTV, fostering the use of the MDGs as a common rallying framework for action. National Scout chapters across Europe adopted the Goals for action. Mayors used the tools (the MDGs Arches exhibition and the Voice Box) created by the Millennium Campaign to mobilize their citizens and allow media coverage on these issues.

National and international trade fairs (e.g. Future Show, Expo Saragoza, and Expo 2015) have put the Goals at the centre of their communication and outreach. The UN MC provided several instruments, including thematic toolkits for the various audiences: Local Authorities (8 Ways to Change the World: co-branded with UN Habitat, UCLG and CEMR), Faith based (Faith in Action: co-branded with the World Council of Religions for Peace), parliamentarians and youth. Music and theater have been also part of the strategy with concerts organized for the Goals -and more recently for the Stand Up- and with plays on the Goals written and performed.

Indeed, polls (e.g. the Eurobarometer) show increased support and awareness of the MDG’s. This translated in increased involvement of Parliamentarians in these issues and the Campaign reached out to most of the relevant Parliamentary Committees across Western Europe. It is fair to assume that MDG campaigns in “lagging” European Union countries have helped to cement the political will of EU members to set a timetable and deadline to achieve the 0.7 per cent gross national income for development assistance.

However, the latest figures show that overall E.U. O.D.A. in fact decreased last year, although both Spain and Germany, two countries, where the Campaign invested most of the efforts, did increase their aid budget. Moreover, while the European Campaigns have some success in raising awareness on issues of aid-effectiveness (i.e. by launching a brochure on the subject with OECD/DAC), fostering public debate about the impact of trade and agriculture policies poses quite a challenge.

We, of the European Campaigns, are conscious of the fact that in many developing countries tremendous efforts are made to achieve the Goals and to live up to their part of the deal, but that it is we in the rich countries, lagging behind. We are passionate about doubling our efforts to inspire and mobilize our countrymen and women to hold our governments to account for our end of the bargain.

Serbia: Rini Reza

Rini Reza, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Serbia

1. What are the key challenges in identifying sectoral champions/change agents, innovators, especially those representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups through formal and informal processes at national/sub-national level?
In trying to respond to this question from the Country Office perspective, I felt that any answer that is not country context specific becomes too general. So I thought I would divide the answers in the context of experiences from two countries, one from five years ago, Vietnam, and the other current, Serbia.

Vietnam: Vietnam, a transitional country, was seeking to establish a strong balance between its economic growth and human development in 2002. It opened the door for us, as UNDP, to support the Resident Representative actively engage in advocacy, to familiarize the top leaders in the Party, Government and the Parliament with MDGs. At another level were the youths and the civil society, which was not that active in this area. We found a very active Champion in the Parliament, who was in an influential position to bring the MDGs as a topic for discussion on the Parliament agenda. Since, the Parliamentary sessions were televised that worked very well. Of course UNDP came up with a report showing the disparities amongst the 64 provinces and ranking them which fueled very active debate.
Our second challenge was to find a Champion to localize the MDGs at the sub-national level, there we finally used our informal channels to get in touch with the highest elected official in a Provincial capital and supported the organization of the first local workshop on costing of the MDGs for that province with the participation of all the district level planning officials and CSOs. This local leadership engagement was crucial to actually bring MDGs at the level where change could be effected through the planning process and concomitant budget allocations.

Serbia: In 2008, in Serbia, a transitional country, seeking European Integration, we are just finding out that MDG targets will not be reached by 2015, unless Government takes action. We are hoping to position ourselves to bring to the attention of the government, all development partners and the CSOs this fact. Recently an event of passing of the Torch from Denmark marked the message on the MDG target on Gender. In this country the law on gender equality is an issue of debate within the country. Here the Civil Society took the lead. The other area of concern is MDG 2 on Education and at the national level we have found a dedicated Champion from the Government and hope to work with her.
At the sub-national level we aim to incorporate the MDG s through the ongoing and new Area Based Programmes into the Municipal Development Strategies. This will require involvement of the Mayors of the Municipalities.
Our challenge is now to garner attention on an issue that is outside of the EU accession process but crucially important for the country's development.
Strategically, there are many similarities between these two different country contexts and within different time dimensions. In both country cases we succeeded in identifying the Champions. Our challenge was to be able to timely support the Champions with substance and data.

2. How can we facilitate innovation and strengthen their leadership capability to pursue an equitable and inclusive approach to MDGs based development agenda?

a. In the context of Western Balkan region, a partnership with the EU and the interested bi-lateral donors is extremely crucial to bring the MDG based development agenda to the forefront. Particularly, if a case could be made to encourage the EU so as to view the attainment of the MDGs as a standard setting for integration of the transition countries.

b. A regional conference to bring the Champions of the MDGs from the different countries prior to the 2010 update on MDGs could create a peer network of Champions. This can be segregated at national and sub-national levels. Each country could also create Youth MDG Ambassadors to carry the MDG message throughout the country.

c. Public hearing in the Parliament is another mechanism that can be implemented to bring the specific MDGs to the attention of the decision makers in dialogue with civil society activists.

3. How can we facilitate the leadership role, and, innovative work of non-state actors (i.e., political parties, faith based organizations, civil society organizations, media etc.) in the implementation of the MDGs?
Experience indicates that this is done through monitoring of the MDGs and regular reporting on the attainment. Political parties could be encouraged to incorporate the targets as part of their manifesto, which of course can only happen if the political parties feel that this is sufficiently important to get votes and it is an issue that people really consider important. The media can play a very constructive role by engaging in the process of updating and disseminating information on the status of the MDG attainment within the country.

4. How can we ensure the inclusion of their effective participation in MDGs based development agenda?
This can be done by supporting the incorporation of the MDG targets as part of the National Plan and the annual national and sub-national budgets. In addition, fostering a continuous dialogue on the target attainment status and process based on facts creates greater awareness. A measure of competitiveness amongst the sub-national entities through a ranking mechanism in terms of attainment seems to encourage a greater interest as well.

Senegal: Boubacar Fall (2)

Boubacar Fall, Programme Officer; UNCDF/UNDP Senegal

English | French

I would like to share with you a reflection on the local development initiative that we have conducted in Senegal.
FDL- PADMIR – Financial Circuit
Preliminary words
In the context of the support of strengthening the decentralization policy in Senegal, the UNDP and the FENU have initiated an experiment regarding the use of the Treasury circuit for the transfer of funds intended to be invested in the RCs (Rural Communities). A Local Development Fund (FDL) is set up to that effect. The work foundation is formed by a protocol signed by the State of Senegal and the UNDP/FENU that lays down the implementation strategy.

Under the PADMIR implemented in the departments of Kébémer and Louga, this approach is used on the basis of the following principles:

  • a special account, is opened on behalf of the Treasurer General, in the BCEAO’s books by the UNDP/FENU;
  • the receiving RCs ensure the project management for the investments financed by the FDL;
  • the RCPs (Rural Communities’ Presidents), in their quality of certifying officers of these budgets, carry out, with PADMIR’s support, the calls for tenders, the examination and final adjudication.
  • the procedures for public sector procurement abide by the laws and regulations in force in Senegal;
  • the Treasury, as public accountant of the State, manages the funds and conducts disbursements on the basis of the commitments authorized by the RC’s presidents.

The funds transfer circuit used by the PADMIR is the Treasury’s. The UNCDF makes the necessary funds available on the basis of the PIL's annual financing decisions. The funds are transferred into a special account on behalf of the Treasurer General.

The use of the Treasury circuit to make disbursements of the FDL’s resources meets the concern of sustainability of the public financing mechanisms of local authorities by allowing rural communities to acquire greater control over the budget process, and to learn the basic rules of accounting and of the procedures governing local public finances.

To ensure the monitoring of bank transactions, the traceability of disbursements and the sound management of the funds allocated to the development of rural communities, each rural community has its own FDL bank account:

This mechanism enables the monitoring of disbursements, rendering a report in a transparent manner to taxpayers who support the development.

The transfer of funds takes place in two phases: 50% at the start of the budget year and 50% at the beginning of the month of July after receipt of a succinct report assessing the level of implementation of the PIL with FDL-FENU financing, prepared by the rural community and forwarded to the ATU, and to UNDP Cotonou office by the Receiver General at the departmental level.

Original Contribution in French

Je voudrais partager avec vous une réflexion sur le développement local que nous avons menée au Sénégal
Circuit Financier du FDL - PADMIR
Propos liminaire
Dans le cadre de l’appui au renforcement de la politique de décentralisation au Sénégal, le PNUD et le FENU ont initié une expérience relative à l’utilisation du circuit du trésor public pour le transfert des fonds destinés aux investissements dans les CR. Un Fonds de développement Local est mis en place à cet effet. La base de travail est constituée par un protocole signé par l’Etat Sénégalais et le PNUD/FENU et qui décline la stratégie de mise en œuvre.
Dans le cadre du PADMIR mis en œuvre dans les départements de Kébémer et de Louga, cette démarche est utilisée sur la base des principes ci-après :

  • un compte spécial, ouvert au nom du Trésorier Général, est ouvert dans les livres de la BCEAO par le PNUD/FENU ;
  • les CR bénéficiaires assurent la maîtrise d’ouvrage des investissements financés par le FDL ;
  • les PCR, en leur qualité d’ordonnateurs de ces budgets, procèdent, avec l’appui du PADMIR, au lancement des appels d’offres, au dépouillement et à l’adjudication ;
  • les procédures de passation des marchés publics respectent les dispositions législatives et réglementaires en vigueur au Sénégal ;
  • le trésor public, en tant que comptable public de l’Etat, assure la gestion des fonds et procède aux décaissements sur la base des engagements ordonnancés par les présidents de CR

Le circuit de transfert des fonds utilisé par le PADMIR est celui du Trésor. Le FENU met à disposition les fonds nécessaires sur la base des décisions annuelles de financement des PIL. Les fonds sont transférés dans un compte spécial au nom du trésorier général.

L’utilisation du circuit du Trésor pour effectuer le déboursement des ressources du FDL répond au souci de pérennité des mécanismes de financement public des communes en permettant aux communautés rurales d’acquérir une meilleure maîtrise du processus budgétaire et de s’approprier les règles de base de la comptabilité et des procédures régissant les finances publiques locales.

Pour assurer le suivi des mouvements bancaires, la traçabilité des déboursements et garantir la saine gestion des fonds alloués au développement des communautés rurales, des comptes bancaires FDL existe pour chacune des communautés rurales.

Ce mécanisme permet de contrôler et de suivre les déboursements et d’en rendre compte de manière transparente aux contribuables qui appuient le développement.

Le transfert des fonds intervient en deux tranches : 50% au début de l’exercice budgétaire et 50% au début du mois de juillet après réception d’un rapport succinct d’appréciation du niveau de mise en œuvre du PIL sur financement FDL-FENU, préparé par la communauté rurale et transmis à l’UAT et au bureau du PNUD Cotonou par le receveur des Finances au niveau départemental.

Viet Nam: Bill Tod

Bill Tod, Regional MDG Advisor, SNV Asia, Viet Nam

Thank you for organizing and leading such an interesting and useful discussion. At the risk of repeating what others have said (because there have been so many postings I have not been able to read them all) I would like to make 3 points:

Governance as a Millennium Development Goal
Shouldn’t we just be honest and say that governance was not given any kind of significant status in the Millennium Development Goals, Targets and Indicators, unlike in the Millennium Declaration? Following Salil Shetty’s posting I went back to the document and found that the reference to a ‘commitment to good governance’ refers exclusively to the target on reforming the trade and financial system, which is admirable but much more limited in scope than what we are I think discussing here. The point has been made before that we sometimes expect too much of the MDGs and apart from Goal 8 they do not inform us about how to achieve the Goals but rather what the donor and partner governments commit to achieving. Whatever global commitments are going to be made post-2015 one hopes that a Goal on good governance could be constructed and measured (building on country experience of specific governance MDGs or the World Governance Indicators).

Governance (and leadership) for achieving the MDGs
If I have understood correctly, the thrust of the discussion so far, and the majority of postings, have convincingly demonstrated how good governance and leadership does contribute to development results and also provided examples of how external parties can stimulate both good governance and leadership. For a thorough account of the challenges of this kind of capacity development the recent report by Baser and Morgan on Capacity, Change and Performance (ECDPM 2008) is worth a read. The addition I would like to make here is that strengthening accountability relationships between citizens and governments and service providers is a powerful way to improve service delivery performance. This has been well documented in the World Development Report 2004. Recently I have been reviewing SNV’s experience of how to strengthen accountability based on more than 25 case studies in 12 countries. Two conclusions are relevant here:
1. Donors and external development partners should target their interventions to strengthen accountability relationships by analysing the capacity of all three actors (citizens, government, service providers) in relation to the five accountability actions that have to be carried out (delegating, financing, performing, informing and enforcing) in order to identify the weakest link in the relationship in any given context. Case studies illustrated that:

  • Improved delegation and financing helps to clarify what government and service providers are accountable for, and addresses issues of relevance, prioritisation, roles and responsibilities, and, crucially, resourcing, which is too often disconnected from delegation discussions.
  • Direct, supply-side capacity development interventions clustered around organisational development of local government and service providers is at least as important as individual professional and technical training. In addition, leadership development programmes can become important internal drivers for change.
  • Improved reporting (both in terms of content and communication) by government and service providers must be combined with stronger enforcing powers of citizens (over both government and service providers) and government (over service providers) to ensure that service providers are held to account (directly to citizens or indirectly via government) and that corrective action will take place.

2. Reliance on supply-driven strategies to improve service delivery will usually be insufficient in the long run (ie. not sustainable) as the demand from users, citizens more generally and marginalized groups more particularly, is not in place. Citizens are the primary principals or rights holders. Governments and service providers exist to serve citizens. This is often not well understood by the different stakeholders. Strategies to empower citizens, especially the poorest, through democratic and civil society processes, are therefore essential to enforce ‘answerability’ of service providers and government (rather than relying on their goodwill) and to have a stronger voice in what they want and don’t want (through delegation and financing decisions). Well over 50% of the cases reviewed in this article identified the weak position of citizens/CSOs (and in some cases, elected local government) as a constraint on accountability and service delivery.

Governance and decentralization
I don’t want to be an apologist for decentralization, but it seems to me that the failures of decentralization highlighted by Lenni Montiel are in fact failures of governance. In which case if we have paths to follow that can strengthen local governance (some of which are described here and many which have been posted in the discussion so far) then decentralization can be made to work in favour of MDG progress.

Indonesia: Owais Parray

Owais Parray, Technical Advisor; UNDP Indonesia

I think we have already heard a lot of good comments on how we can promote local leadership and champions in the pursuit of MDGs. My comments may sound cautionary but it is intended to be like that.

I believe the challenge in identifying change agents is primarily lack of information. And, subsequently if you do identify a champion the challenge you are confronted with is to make a judgment that a said innovator has an ability to mobilize action on a large scale. This is very important when you are working in geographical large and diverse countries like Indonesia, India or China. You hear about so many local innovations/champions scattered around the country, but very few are "real" champions. Things do tend to get exaggerated and once it enters the public domain facts can sometimes become fairy tales. Thus, a preliminary step would be a kind of litmus test to find potentially true champions and leaders. The question here from an institutional point of view is whether you are willing to invest in conducting this test and separating the champions from the rest. Of course once you have decided to support and strengthen the said leadership there is no guarantee that it will create an impact that will reach "economies of scale". Not to say that we always have to find a la Yunus/Grameen type champion. The point I am trying to make is that to ensure the process for identification of leaders is objective you will need to invest resources and you may not always get commensurate returns on your investments - (hope this doesn't sound too business like).

Another challenge is to determine what drives these champions. What really motivates them to do what they are doing. It is critical to get a sense of it before providing support. We should be aware of political interests and populist support that leaders may try to garner. Also, it is not always that there will be full convergence of objectives so you have to find those opportunities where you end up with a win-win situation. For example you may find a local leader actively promoting poverty reduction initiatives who may be critical of MDGs simply because the person sees it (unfairly) as imposed from outside. In this case you probably have to find a language that makes everyone feel comfortable.

Mozambique: Luke Wasonga

Luke Wasonga, Senior Advisor – Governance; UNDP Mozambique

Dear All,

I wish to re-emphasize the point raised by Rini Reza especially, the case in Vietnam for enhance advocacy and promoting championship to address localization of MDGs. The MDG campaign requires strong and consolidated partnerships, coherence of efforts, and information sharing. The question is who should do what to avoid duplication of effort and have better co-ordination. This is where the role of champions for advocacy becomes important. The issue is who should lead the various aspects of the MDGs.From the outset it is the responsibility of governments to empower and build the capacity to lead their peoples. Governments should put in place an economic and political environment that encourages private sector investment and facilitates integration into the global marketplace.
Another issue is how to build consistency between partner interventions, governance, and MDGs. If ‘strong’ governance does not exist, resources are at risk of being unduly scattered. Governance is crosscutting and can guarantee a certain level of accountability when effective social policies are pursued. It can help maintain environmental stability and increase opportunities to build partnerships. There is a need to enhance the internal leadership and to better define the roles of the people who are affected by problems. In the case of Africa this has already been observed in Benin, Senegal, Cape Verde, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Mali, and Sierra Leone, where improved governance and rule of law are providing an enabling environment for the MDGs.
Governments should take leadership of the processes leading to achievement of MDGs. Leaders should provide the legal framework and required infrastructure to mobilize people. Public action has already proved successful in the case Uganda with HIV/AIDS awareness building and a reduction in the number of affected people. The governments should play the key role as coordinator of donors, international organizations, CSOs and the private sector. The role of champions at the government level becomes important in gaining the momentum.
One would like to see leadership that promotes private sector involvement in all sectors of the economy, especially health, education, infrastructure and the provision of other social services, individually as well as in partnership with governments. The private sector should be the engine behind development by offering employment opportunities and creating a vibrant economic sector, improving expertise and mobilizing resources. The private sector should focus on wealth creation in order to provide the resources for the MDGs. CSOs have their traditional roles and responsibilities, which include social mobilization and informing the people of government actions. In addition to these, especially as related to the MDGs, they could improve their structures for delivery and their monitoring of government activities. They could also make a rights-based approach the heart of all their work, and create awareness amongst the population of what they could expect from the MDGs, without raising false expectations. Finally, they could ensure that all are involved in policy-making particularly the vulnerable groups — women, children, minorities and the poor.
As a part of leadership engagement with development partners and donors, efforts should made to expand their support to make finance predictable and sustainable by harmonizing amongst themselves in various aspects of development co-operation, and delivering on the financial assistance pledges they make. Besides this, they could make it possible for national structures to finance MDGs, and provide information about possibilities of using good examples from elsewhere. Specifically there is a need to promote the alignment of donor policies; increasing the volume and the predictability of aid; and supporting capacity building to implement MDG interventions espoused in the national strategy documents.

The MDGs embody the aspirations of the leaders and peoples of the entire community for the improvement of the daily lives of those now living in deprivation in the course of the new millennium. The leadership must help set priorities among the most pressing issues. This is through focusing national and international priorities by limiting the number of goals and targets, keeping these focused over time, and offering an opportunity to communicate clearly to a broad audience. Each of the eight goals is associated with specific targets and each target measured by particular indicators. It must be emphasized that ‘good governance’, is needed in order to undertake a campaign for MDGs. Building peace and security is of particular concern as these provide the setting for improved democratic and economic governance.

Swaziland: Neil Boyer

Neil Boyer, Deputy Resident Representative; UNDP Swaziland

Questions put forward to participants:

1. What are the key challenges in identifying sectoral champions/change agents, innovators, especially those representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups through formal and informal processes at national/sub-national level? How can we facilitate innovation and strengthen their leadership capability to pursue an equitable and inclusive approach to MDGs based development agenda?

Dear Colleagues;
In the case of Swaziland, among the major challenges in identifying change agents is the one of capacitating traditional leadership, especially at the sub-national level. Due to the prevailing political system, traditional leaders are tasked with coordinating and implementing development interventions at the local level. Inadequate capacity of these leaders has entailed that up to now, government efforts to promote a ‘bottom-up’ approach to service delivery has been fraught with difficulty. This is primarily due to the fact that those individuals elected to advise traditional leadership are often unaware of their mandate and lack the technical skills required to effectively act as agents of change.

Furthermore, these traditional structures often have strictly defined social and gender roles, where youth are women are relegated to the margins when decisions are made. To address these challenges, we are currently engaging with the Ministry of Regional Development and Youth Affairs (responsible for implementation of decentralized service delivery) to assess the capacity of sub-national leadership and working with the University of Swaziland and outgoing local leaders, design a training module aimed at building local capacity to design and implement development projects. These projects are geared to promote more effective delivery of key public services needed to reduce and mitigate the effects of poverty and thereby attain the MDGs.

In conjunction with the envisaged training program, we are also in the process of assisting government and civil society to expand the number of women in decision making positions at national and sub-national levels through the ‘Vote for a Women ‘ campaign. Although there has been some resistance to opening up space to traditionally marginalized groups such as rural women, in recent weeks there seems to have been a growing acceptance by previously hostile groups (primarily male) that if Swaziland is to effectively address some of the major challenges inhibiting attainment of the MDGS (HIV/AIDS, poverty, etc.) then exclusion of key stakeholders in decision making processes is a luxury the country can no longer afford.

China: Xiaojun Grace Wang

Xiaojun Grace Wang, Team Leader - Democratic Governance and HIV/AIDS; UNDP China

China has experienced a shift in development paradigm from putting economic growth at the center of development to pursuing a vision of all-around Xiaokang (Well-off) society by 2020. The guidelines for achieving such a vision emphasize balances between regions, between rural and urban areas, between economic and social development, between human and nature, and between domestic development and international cooperation. This development vision mirrors in many respects the concepts and principles of the Millennium Declaration and targets broader than the Millennium Development Goals. UNDP China programme assists China to achieve its vision through facilitating all social actors’ leadership role, capacity and innovation in their participation in implementing the requirements of the new paradigm of development. I would like to share some examples.

Political party and government leadership

To assist the government officials’ leadership development for balanced development, UNDP China has three projects targeting respectively at senior level, middle-level and sector government leadership.

A flagship among the three is the one targeting particularly at the senior level government officials, vice ministers and vice governors. The project partner directly with the Communist Party Organization Department, that is in charge of senior leadership appointment, promotion and training, to provide learning programmes to around 100 senior leaders every year. The project strategy is to highlight policies and practical experiences from other countries in dealing with development challenges that China is facing today. The project leverage resources and expertise from world famous universities including University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University of Yale, University of British Columbia and others. Between 2006 and 2008, 300 senior leaders have graduated from the programme. They have submitted their report to the top leaders of China. Some of their recommendations submitted were already reflected in the 11th 5-year plan of the country and the respective policies, such as strengthening institutions for environment and energy management, streamlining government departments for better public services and clear accountabilities, introduction of MDG based development measurement system, etc.

CSOs’ Leadership

UNDP China programme also has an emphasis on supporting CSOs’ participation and leadership in the process of MDG based national development. At the policy level, UNDP works with the Party think tanks and line Ministry of Civil Affairs to create an enabling environment for civil society development and CSOs’ participation in policy making. Its initiative in governance assessment project aims to integrate civil society engagement and development as a key dimension in the measurement of quality of governance in China. Its joint project with the EC Governance for Equitable Development works with high priority on enhancing CSOs’ capacity, visibility and engagement into policy making. At the implementation level, UNDP China programme deploys its convening power to engage CBOs in policy dialogue. Examples include engaging MSM networks in the national HIV strategy development, engaging community based women groups to enhance women’s participation to village governance. It also works with grassroots CSOs in environmental education, awareness raising and advocacy. All these efforts are nurturing the leadership role of CSOs in promoting the national development follow a right-based and inclusive approach.

Individuals, Media and Private sector

UNDP China programme also highlights individuals’ leadership role in mobilizing the society. Our “Positive Talks” project aims to train and support a core group of 35 women and men living with HIV and AIDS from around China to serve as effective policy advocates and peer educators. We also launched HIV awareness and anti-stigma campaign through public-private partnerships with China’s commercial media and advertisement sector. Leading media companies in this campaign donated air time on their video advertisement platforms. Potentially hundreds of millions of people will view HIV anti-stigma PSAs every month over one year. The total estimated value of donated air time is over USD $1.5 million. By partnership with UNDP, these new media companies are demonstrating their leadership in the business and media sector to contribute towards China’s achievement of MDGs.

Chinese actress/celebrity Zhou Xun was appointed as our first National Goodwill Ambassador (NGWA) with a special focus on promoting environmental sustainability. This is to leverage star power to motivate individuals to take part in the fight against climate change by adopting simple lifestyle habits.

Sri Lanka: Taimur Khilji

Taimur Khilji, Policy Specialist, UNDP Regional Centre Colombo, Sri Lanka
Thank you very much for such a useful and pertinent forum where a diversity of views are presented. I just have a few questions and some associated comments/critique.

The MDGs simply set a number of targets for countries to achieve by 2015. It is of some use to point out the obvious, as the discussion/rhetoric often conflates their essence. An 'MDG based development agenda' is, then, nothing more than an agenda that attempts to achieve the targets (and hence the goals) by 2015. I imagine then an 'inclusive' approach (as opposed to an 'exclusive' approach) would attempt to involve a more diverse set of actors in their achievement.

Now, to understand the first question:identifying 'champions/change agents, innovators, especially those representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups through formal and informal processes at national/sub-national level' already assumes that the above set of people will indeed help in achieving the MDGs--first we need to establish that such a group has indeed made a 'measurable' impact towards the achievement of the MDG targets. Against what evidence is the validity of the above group being assumed? This question goes to the heart of how we 'monitor and evaluate' development projects and their impact.

The follow-up to the above is: How can we facilitate innovation and strengthen their leadership capability? The words 'innovation' and 'capability' are very much context- and purpose-dependent and hence are specific to the circumstance.

The second question asks: How can we facilitate the leadership role, and, innovative work of non-state actors (i.e., political parties, faith based organisations, civil society organisations, media etc.) in the implementation of the MDGs? How can we ensure the inclusion of their effective participation in MDGs based development agenda?

The structure of incentives offered to people often determines the trajectory of their involvement in any democratic process/movement. We ought to ask ourselves: what incentives are in place to bring in various actors to work towards such targets? 'Effective' participation very much depends on how exactly they are to be effective. For instance, what instruments and options are available for them to be effective? What is the function and purpose of each actor? Finally, how are we measuring this effectiveness? Indeed, greater transparency and accountability focus on clearing the path to greater effectiveness, but do not ensure it.

Gowher and Monjur: Note from the Moderators

Dear members and colleagues,

We are, indeed, very pleased to receive so many substantive contributions from all over the world. This confirmed our belief that governance colleagues and development practitioners are committed in making a serious effort to support programme countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals by enhancing engagements of democratic governance. One of the key strategies to achieve the MDGs, as highlighted by many of you, is to promote innovation and leadership in the systems of governance including the structures of governments. We will not attempt to summarise all points raised by our participants here, the networks would capture those thoughts through the E-discussion Consolidated Reply and subsequent knowledge products. However, we would like to take this opportunity to share some of your critical massages, and solutions proposed.

Strengthening Engagement with Democratic Governance
The overall tone of the discussion indicates that governance is still not sufficiently addressed in the MDG discourse. Few people look at the Millennium Declaration when talking about the MDGs. It is rarely recognized that the 8th MDG on “Global Partnership for Development” specifically includes ‘a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction’ – both nationally and internationally. In most cases, as Salil Shetty mentioned, governance is seen as what governments do and a lot of the UN’s effort is to strengthen government capacity. It is also important not to lose sight of the sub-national level. Lenni Montiel reiterated that national or local representatives do make key decisions affecting the life of millions. Supporting parliaments and local councils as institutions, but also MPs and Local Councilors as individuals are undoubtedly initiatives with great potential returns in terms of leadership for the MDGs. This work together with the work with political parties has to be on long-term basis.

Amitava Mukherjee held the view that accountable and transparent institutions of governance would not be enough in achieving the MDGs, if its instrumentality, especially the bureaucracy suffers from what he called ‘empathy deficit’ or ‘empathy imbalance’. Marina Ponti reminded us of the obligations of the rich countries in delivering on their promises. She also underscored the need for improved governance at the global level with democratic accountability. This implies not only to deliver more and better aid but also to allow for more equity in international decision making and to consider the impact of their trade and agricultural policies on poor countries to ensure ‘globalization benefits all’ as agreed in the Millennium Declaration.

Both Bill Todd and Taimur Khilji reminded us that sometimes we expect too much of the MDGs and apart from Goal 8 they do not inform us about how to achieve the Goals but rather what the donor and partner governments commit to achieving. Whatever global commitments are going to be made post-2015, one hopes that a Goal on good governance could be constructed and measured.

The Spotlight on Africa
Most of the members highlighted or referred the challenges faced by Africa in improving human development and achieving MDGs. They expressed particular concerns at the pace of development in Sub-Saharan African countries. They felt that the state of democracy and democratic reforms were somewhat ignored in the mainstream MDG discourse.

Key Challenges in Identifying Leaders and Innovators
In our last message we share a number of obstacles and challenges in identifying leaders, change agents, and innovators. Many disadvantaged groups are under-represented at formal structures of the state, market and civil society; and thus many potential leaders and champions are not visible in the society. Tiwari Chiranjibi attributed this lack of special initiative particularly for identifying the champions that truly represent the excluded groups to the public sector. Members suggested a host of challenges in identifying real leaders and innovators:

Eugene Nkubito categorised four critical challenges: i) The status of democratization processes, particularly in Sub-Saharan African countries; ii) The lack of non-state actors in remote poor areas; iii) The weak capacity of the local CSOs, and, their subsequent shrinking financial support; IV) the invisible groups i.e., disadvantaged groups are under-represented at formal structures of the state, market and civil society.

Neil Boyer focused on the challenge of capacitating traditional leadership, especially at the sub-national level. Due to the distinct political system, traditional and indigenous leaders are often tasked with coordinating and implementing development interventions at the local level. Inadequate capacity of these leaders has often made government efforts to promote a ‘bottom-up’ approach to service delivery difficult. Owais Parray laid emphasis on the importance of understanding and appreciating realities on the ground: leadership development is context specific, requiring solid long-term investment, and local knowledge, both socio-economic and cultural.

Promoting Innovation and Developing Leadership Capacity
Members cautioned us that we should not construe the concept of leadership too narrowly in our discourse to the obvious detriment of our achievement of the MDGs. Many of our efforts in strengthening leadership capacities have tended to focus on the political and institutional leaders of developing countries ignoring the potential of leadership at the community level. Oumar Sako urged all of us to bring the poor, the venerable and, the disadvantaged in the center of the debate and lead or play a central role. Citing successful examples from Maldives, Ram Shankar advocated for pro active government role in encouraging innovation, leadership and personal examples to flourish and serve public cause. One such example was of the National Innovation Foundation (www.nifindia.org) a Government-funded body set up in 2000 that now boasts of a database of over 75000 innovations and practices from all parts of India.

Clement Hervé did not see any alternative but to forge broad based partnership (public-private). Tackling the widening gap between capital and provinces is also important. Such initiative should be flexible and adoptive, maintained Ana Rosa Soares. Xiaojun Grace Wang articulated the Chinese vision notion of Xiaokang (Well-off) society by 2020. The guidelines for achieving such a vision emphasize balances between regions, between rural and urban areas, between economic and social development, between human and nature, and between domestic development and international cooperation. This development vision mirrors in many respects the concepts and principles of the Millennium Declaration and targets broader than the Millennium Development Goals.

Rini Reza opined that political parties could be encouraged to incorporate the MDG targets as part of their manifesto, which of course can only happen if the political parties feel that this is sufficiently important to get votes and it is an issue that people really consider important. She also referred the role of media in the process of updating and disseminating information on the status of the MDG attainment within the country. She proposed to host a regional conference to bring the Champions of the MDGs from the different countries prior to the 2010 update on MDGs. The conference could create a peer network of Champions and change agents. This can be segregated at national and sub-national levels. Each country could also create Youth MDG Ambassadors to carry the MDG message throughout the country.

Leadership and Innovation of Non-state Actors
Engagement of non-state actors (political parties, CSOs, media, NGOs, CBOs etc.) is not a linear and one-go process; there are some good examples and documentation on the ways to engage non state actors in the MDG processes. The recent training manual published by UNDP highlights five interrelated roles (figure below) that UNDP could play for CSOs engagement in preparation, implementation and monitoring of MDG based national development strategies.

Image:DG&MDGs_CSOs_in_MDGs.JPG
Source: Training Manual - Role of CSOs in MDG Based National Development Strategies

Ram urged UNDP to take the lead in offering to coordinate (through its South-South Unit and existing knowledge networks) various low-cost innovations from around the world and also to share in-house innovative practices more effectively among COs. This may be done by a more dynamic internet/ electronic platform that can effectively capture good practices and lessons learnt from internal and external sources. Minar Pimple referred to the Millennium Campaign’s work with citizens across six constituencies – civil society organizations, parliamentarians, local authorities, youth, media and the private sector.

According to Boubacar Fall, decentralization in Senegal was intended as a response to fundamental challenges the country is facing: preserving national unity and territorial integrity, rebuilding the state and strengthen its reconciliation with citizens, democratization of public management and the fight against poverty through the provision of public services to peoples. All these contribute directly to the progressive fulfillment of the MDGs. However, Lenni cautioned that there is little evidence in the development work supporting the argument that more decentralization leads automatically to less poverty. Decentralization badly designed or wrongly implemented may lead (as often the case in many places) to frustration. Decentralization, as a political process, may lead to a series of pitfalls; therefore it is not a panacea for the solution of development challenges in general and for poverty reduction in specific.

While the role of public sector in MDG achievement process is critical, contributions and participation of private sector is also important to sustain effective partnership for development. However, role of private sector did not feature well in the discourse. To get beyond the rhetoric of public-private partnership, actual intention and related outputs need to be underscored in initial analysis/assessments, design, implementation and, objective evaluation of such initiatives. Luke Wasonga reemphasised the point raised by Rini Reza especially, the case in Vietnam for enhance advocacy and promoting championship to address localization of MDGs. The MDG campaign requires strong and consolidated partnerships, coherence of efforts, and information sharing.

Members repeated throughout the discourse that champions and change agents are rarely created; they emerge from the society following either an enabling environment for their rise or a desperate situation that pushes natural leaders to stand up for the rights of the people. However, governments, international community, private sector, media, NGOs, CSOs- all stakeholders could forge a meaningful partnership to achieve MDGs, and, more importantly, to look beyond the post 2015 phase.

We look forward to your continued stimulating contributions to the e-discussion in next couple of days!

With best wishes.

Sincerely,
Gowher and Monjur

Phase II Moderators
Professor Gowher Rizvi, The Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard University; and
A.H. Monjurul Kabir, Knowledge Management Specialist and Focal Point for Innovation and Leadership in Governance, Democratic Governance Group, Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP New York

Lao PDR: Rakesh Jani

Rakesh Jani, UNV Programme Officer; UNDP Lao PDR

Dear Colleagues,
The challenges in identifying champions and innovators are of course many and depend on the country. In a post conflict country, challenges could be the environment, Governance, inadequate education etc. In a developing country, again Governance that includes politics, geographical area, donor dependency etc.

1) However, the sustained projects and programmes based on MDGs have brought significant changes in knowledge and attitude of the people particularly a large section of educated youths in some of the countries. If opportunities are given to these Youth to be champions of MDGs, it would have a multiplying impact. One of the ways of involving youths is Peer-Peer Education. In many countries UNDP, UNV and many UN agencies have piloted or implemented projects based on Peer-Peer education methodology. This could be in the form of providing platform and opportunities to these youths both in formal and non-formal education, that strengthens value systems and leadership capacities, provides opportunities such as researches, apply knowledge in practice through piloting projects addressing issues concerning MDGs and mobilize youths for policy change based on the evidence they collect on the ground.

2) If I may also allowed to highlight one another challenge is communication. Once in one country, we had an interesting email discussion on FGM. FGM refers to female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision. This is a tradition in many countries. The argument was how to educate or sensitize communities who have been practicing it for generations to stop or observe health and hygiene etc. One of the suggestions was to involve the local communities to understand the belief behind FGM. The next step was to develop together a communication plan that translates the messages in to local context, which is easy to understand by the communities.

The point I am trying to put forward is that we should use a language that the community uses and that can be easily understood. Bringing forward the same arguments we should choose between global and local. For instance following the example of the global brands like Pepsi & Coke, Bata, Nike & Reebok. These multinationals use local concept and language to market and promote their products. Should we also have global MDG brand for Human Development and can be customized to local need?

3) On the CSOs and NGOs, where there is heavy presence of NGOs and CSOs, it is a challenge to select the right person or institutions as some times same people are being targeted or are benefited with funding and other opportunities etc. This sometimes dilutes the individuals or organizational capacity and reduces their influence on the community as community sees them as sole benefactor from the funding or opportunities.

Bangladesh: Aminul Islam

Aminul Islam, Assistant Country Director - Environment & Sustainable Development; UNDP Bangladesh

Thank you for organizing such an interesting and stimulating discussion. I would like to take this opportunity to touch on environmental governance issue and leadership for achieving MDGs. I find it important to focus on people-resource interaction within the framework of democratic governance which matters any development initiative.

Community empowerment for inclusive growth through expanding choice of vulnerable people in accessing to natural resources and its management is instrumental to bring positive change toward achieving MDGs. The environmental problems associated with poverty and health require alternatives such as a process of shared management and adopting sustainable practices of new culture with high value. These new approaches that align economic forces with conservation of natural capital assets that supply life-support services, and that explicitly link human and environmental well-being is another dimension of the discussion. In this context, development of democratic institutions that empower communities to engage more effectively with both local and central government and elected representatives in order to influence decisions affecting their livelihoods.

Local level leadership and innovations are available all over the world needs to be captured for further dissemination and replication of all those good practices with win-win objectives of reducing poverty and protecting biodiversity. Important elements needs to be considered to meet the challenges of implementation are socio-economic relevance, ecosystem service user-inspired research, stakeholder empowerment and adaptive management embedded in learning organizations. With these background in view it is possible to establish the enabling environment, windows of opportunity, mechanisms for change and outcome of effectiveness.

There are evidences of success those show that sustainable development can emerge even where there is poverty, poor environmental resources, high prevalence of natural hazards and weak governance. Research and studies reveal the fact that a vision with strong leadership, good social organization and local institutional strengthening initiatives are prime movers and shakers toward achieving MDGs, as government providing the space for change. What are needed are very specific measures and actions that can be implemented in the context of overall governance reforms which has direct impact on the community at the local level.

Uganda: Sam Ibanda

Sam I. Ibanda, Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP Uganda

Dear Colleagues,
My contribution to this debate is in form of a brief on the recently concluded central regional dissemination of the 2007 MDG Progress Report and National Human Development Report for Uganda, which I personally attended. This meeting, which took place in Rakai district, brought together members of parliament, local government political leaders, technical staff and civil society representatives from 13 districts of the central region. This event was the second out of 5 that the Country Office planned to conduct for the purpose of extending the message and advocating for action at the local level. The first had already taken place in Fort Portal in western Uganda.

It is believed that “no government in the world will attain MDGs without empowering its local governments” (one participant quoted Kofi Anan, former UN Secretary General). The participants in the Rakai event discussed the two reports and made extensive observations. In this brief I will only highlight a few of the observations:

  • There was feeling that Uganda’s high population growth is likely to undermine any progress towards attainment of MDGs – especially quality of life of the population; lead to increasing pressure on agricultural system and encroachment on ecological systems etc;
  • The meeting called for a well designed national agricultural policy;
  • Central government was disempowering local governments by taking a large share of revenue collected; for example from the fisheries industry due to absence of streamlined resource rent and quality assurance management system;
  • Given the mismatch between population, resources and development, there meeting emphasized the need for a “people and development” paradigm within the context of decentralization where people are empowered to participate in decision-making and planning processes;
  • Corruption should be part and parcel of poverty eradication efforts.

In view of the above mentioned concerns UNDP was given the opportunity to highlight the support being provided to build the capacity of local authorities which could be utilized in attaining the MDGs. This support is outlined below:

  • The Alliance of Mayors – Uganda Chapter is working with local urban leaders to build their capacity to advocate for interventions aimed at prevention, care and mitigation of HIV/AIDS; capacity for mainstreaming HIV/AIDS in their council plans and budgets; and for coordinating HIV/AIDS interventions in their areas;
  • The participatory development management initiative in the Ministry of Local Government is building capacity of local communities – village and parish – to conduct village and parish profiles; prioritize actions and develop their own village and parish plans which are rolled up into sub-county plans. The villages and parishes identify and select their own facilitators who are provided TOT as a way of empowerment. The programme involves every one in the village and parish irrespective of gender or age. The district planners are involved in monitoring and supervising the planning process at the stage of integration/merging only.
  • Building on the experience of the district development programme (one and two) UNDP and UNCDF have designed a new programme cod-named local economic development which will deepen and widen the local government capacities to improve on their revenue bases but also involve the local communities and other stakeholders in the governance of their communities and improve on their productivity and access markets/information. Gender is one of the major components of this programme. Implementation of this programme is expected to commence this September 2008;
  • To ensure access to justice at the local level, local council courts have been trained on their roles and jurisdiction;
  • Other areas of support include Micro-finance, small and medium enterprises capacity development, and support to the district business promotion companies.

Details on the above-mentioned initiatives can be found on our web-site: www.undp.or.ug.

The office also planned to support pilot districts to undertake their own MDG Progress assessments. The following districts are to be supported to carry out MDG studies – Rakai, Arua, Moroto, Kumi and Kabarole. So far two districts have already completed their studies – Kasese and Soroti. For Rakai the district endorsed the idea and agreed to appoint a technical team to be trained and resolved to commit some of their resources to this exercise; they requested for support to increase awareness on MDGs before the assessment is conducted. In fact this commitment did not surprise me at all given that the district was already supporting and promoting model villages in three villages (one of which we visited). My reading from the visit was that the local leaders are fully ready to take a lead in attainment of MDGs once assisted to understand their roles.

Kyrgyz Republic: Erkin Kasybekov

Erkin Kasybekov, Programme Manager - Governance; UNDP Kyrgyz Republic

Dear colleagues,
That is very interesting developments, which one can notice in China. Because we observe in Kyrgyzstan just opposite - the Kyrgyz National Government is keen to promote a concept putting economic growth in the center of its development agenda, which is reflected in the last Country Development Strategy (2007-2010). MDG based national development agenda is still under the discussion at the national level.

Democratic Governance Programme in Kyrgyzstan is trying to promote Inclusive Leadership in its interventions in the country in the framework of Local Self Government (LSG) component. While the National Government is still discussing the next stage of the country development agenda, local self-governments are keen to include MDG priorities into their local development agendas. Some of our partners – ayil-okmotyus (rural municipalities) - had incorporated MDG priorities into their development strategic plans. Strategic Planning is quite innovative tool for our public sector at sub national level, although the strongest Civil Society institutions already using that tool quite actively for the last decade.

Another good initiative, which was supported by our programme, is joint development of MDG based municipal statistical indicators by several public agencies such as Ministry of Finance, Health, Education, Tax and Levies Agency, National Statistical Committee and some other. It was one of the first successful attempts of interagency cooperation around MDG based agenda at national level.

New York: Beatriz Fernandez Carrillo

Beatriz Fernandez Carrillo, Programme Specialist - Civil Society Organizations Division; UNDP New York 

Dear members and colleagues,
I would like to build on what other colleagues have said and share my personal views.

Not only we forget about MDG8: Global Partnership for Development, which implies that social actors cannot be effective alone, be it the governments, UN agencies or others; but we also forget one of the overarching themes of the Millennium Declaration: the continued and consistent political commitment of States to promote and protect human rights. The link that connects both: partnership for development and human rights is civil society and UN(DP) will be effective in achieving the MDGs and achieve them in a democratic=inclusive=sustainable manner (the quality of the achievement is as important as the fact of the achievement itself and that is what the human development paradigm is all about) as much as it is able to open the space or - in nowadays language - develop the capacity of State institutions to enable space for social actors to be involved in the shaping of their own futures. Basic space for individuals to live in dignity is synonymous to human rights and collective space to act together in public affairs is civic engagement.

Moreover, UNDP will be a unique agency with a unique mission when it understand that it is the best positioned organization to open the political space to sectors of the population that have historically suffered and continue to suffer discrimination and exclusion. Those sectors of the population happen to be, no wonder, the ones that are behind the MDGs or, to put it in blunt terms, the ones that are being left behind. My question: is UNDP leaving them behind?

In the case of indigenous peoples and MDGs, there is extensive literature developed in the context of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. This year, the Permanent Forum recommendations regarding MDGs were the following:

64. The Permanent Forum once again reiterates its concern that reports developed and presented by many States on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and poverty reduction strategy papers still do not adequately include and address indigenous peoples, nor do they include their participation, and it therefore calls on States to rectify this situation and on United Nations agencies to support their efforts. Furthermore, the Forum encourages the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to integrate indigenous peoples’ issues into the
global, regional, national and local human development reports, and in particular to include indigenous experts in preparing those reports and to guarantee that indigenous peoples’ issues are mainstreamed in them.

73. The Permanent Forum urges the United Nations system, including the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UNDP and all other relevant agencies, with the support of Member States and donor agencies, to implement, before the convening of its next session, a platform for indigenous local-local cooperation and the establishment of a network of indigenous local governments for information exchange and capacity-building on public administration, local socio-economic governance and participatory approaches to facilitate the implementation of the goals of the United Nations Millennium Declaration and the United Nations development agenda at the local level among indigenous peoples in all regions.

The interaction between State, civil society and UNDP is vital and embedded in the area of democratic governance. Civil society is at the core of what UNDP does… promoting democratic governance is what we do, and governance cannot be democratic without the active engagement and participation of civil society. Democratic does not mean casting a vote in the elections (as everybody knows by now), it means so much more than that.

But even from a market, demand-supply perspective, the triangular relationship State-civil society-UNDP is also crucial when developing capacity to achieve the MDGs. Capacity development efforts that focus only on government agencies or the formation of leaders only are meant to fail if there is nobody (civil society in the broadest sense) in front of them with capacity to watch, to remind them of their MDG commitments and to bring in a different perspective/knowledge. Companies only improve their services or products when 1) there is competition, 2) clients complain and ask for more. The pressure to deliver must come from outside (and not precisely from UNDP!). Governments do not face competition but should face a healthy interaction with the people they are supposed to serve. In other words, unless UNDP invests in developing the capacities of civil society actors to hold their governments accountable in their efforts to achieve the MDGs, all our efforts to develop capacity may be successful for some time but will not be sustainable in the long run. State and civil society are two sides of the same coin (the country) and if we only polish one side, the result is going to be clearly amorphous and unbalanced.

Going back to MDG8: UNDP is increasingly forging partnerships with non State actors at the country, regional and global levels. That trend is positive and should not only continue but to be taken to a different level. Tri-partite public-private partnerships - civil society, private sector and the government with UN(DP) as convener- offer challenges but also an incredibly multiplying and sustainable impact. In the end, accelerating progress to achieve the MDGs and human development beyond the MDGs is possible only if we imagine it is actually possible and pursue it proactively and systematically.

Burundi: Jean Kabahizi

Jean Kabahizi, Programme Specialist – Democratic Governance; UNDP Burundi

English | Français

Dear colleagues,
I would like to join others in asserting that democratic governance and leadership are required to achieve the MDGs which are closely linked to democratic governance in promoting and expanding choices of individuals, communities and groups in their participative and inclusive strategies and development programs.
Indeed, it has been observed that the MDGs will never be achieved without a perfect and real participation of the population, without taking into account the choices and development priorities of the population, without satisfying the population’s basic needs, without a response to the concerns of the population’s survival and the satisfaction of their basic needs. A partial response to these basic elements can be reached through local governance, because a good measurement of MDGs’s achievement will be made at the local communities’ level. Hence, at the local level, local governments should take the lead in the realization of MDGs at the community level.

1. What are the key challenges in identifying sectoral champions/change agents, innovators, especially those representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups through formal and informal processes at national/sub-national level? How can we facilitate innovation and strengthen their leadership capability to pursue an equitable and inclusive approach to MDGs based development agenda?
The leadership to achieve the MDGs is primarily based on the State administration’s ability to mobilize the players, nationally as well as internationally, around national policies and strategies to achieve the MDGs and, to coordinate and implement corresponding action plans. The countries, principally the developing countries, will not be able to make efforts on their own to achieve the MDGs without having the benefit derived from the solidarity of the international community which substantially contributes to the financing of national programs, providing operations of political advice on one hand and, according to the 8th goal of the MDGs, which encourages countries to improve their democratic governance, to set up democratic institutions, to respect constitutional principles, rule of law, human rights, etc. Thus governance is a prerequisite to the delivery of the international community’s resources.

The second level of leadership is sectorial, how sectorial departments take the MDGs into account ; how fair these policies are and how they address the concerns of the people and/or disadvantaged and marginalized groups’ , how programs have affected these categories of people.

The third level is carried out locally and communally, it concerns the strengthening of capacities of the communities to support local authorities to develop local programs in a participative and inclusive way, and that take into account the needs of marginalized and/or vulnerable groups or by developing specific programmes. We also have to support communities in order for them to develop reactions to organize themselves into pressure and/or interest groups around particular problems such as human rights, the fight against sexual violence, the fight against corruption, peace committees, etc. as well as associations that promote their own projects in terms of access to resources and means of production, development of community infrastructures, etc.

2. How can we facilitate the leadership role, and, innovative work of non-state actors (i.e., political parties, faith based organizations, civil society organizations, media etc.) in the implementation of the MDGs? How can we ensure the inclusion of their effective participation in MDGs based development agenda?
The answer can be found in the relationship between democratic governance and human security, the establishment of a state of law, the setting-up of local governance institutions promoting citizens’ access to public services, to justice, to the means and resources of production, exercise and enjoyment of civil liberties, in summary the reduction of frustrating red tape, of insecurity and vulnerability which would encourage the creativity of citizens and communities. All these elements are ingredients to achieve the MDGs.
It is important to choose several entry points especially at the level of the civil society’s players or according to their areas of interest in relation with the MDGs.

At local authorities’ level, the best entry points are:

i) Local leaders, including elected officials and local administration; in Burundi, UNDP supports the locally elected officials in their involvement with the full development of their communities and therefore the MDGs achievement; UNDP supported the establishment of a local elected officials’ association which is somehow a communities’ association, since they are active elected officials representing their communities at this point. This association is a point of entry to build local leadership to promote and achieve the MDGs.

ii) Numerous organizations of the civil society, although they have varied objectives, militate in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals; nevertheless, their impact is limited by their objectives and scope. However they would provide good entry points for those who are fighting for disadvantaged groups and vulnerable people. Support to these types of civil society organizations would be appropriate. In Burundi, UNDP supports community associations in developing activities of communal interest that involve vulnerable and marginalized groups, such as repatriates, indigents, widows and children heads of households, the batwa (marginalized ethnic group).

iii) The media constitutes another entry point, even a strategic one, given its role in the players’ information, sensitization and mobilization; in Burundi, the UNDP supported the creation of a Sustainable Human Development (SHD) journalists’ network that supports the promotion of SHD; it is now necessary to expand its scope to the MDGs given the close relations between SHD and MDGs.

iv) Support for the promotion of scientific groups or independents; in Burundi, UNDP supports an independent reflection group on SHD. The group coordinates the development process of NHDR, for example this year’s theme is governance and the MDGs. The results of these discussions will surely give the group an inspiration to the methodology of how to conduct the process.
v) Support to specific organizations e.g. organizations that promote and protect human rights, and fight against corruption.

Original Contribution in French

Je voudrais me joindre aux autres pour renforcer l’assertion que la gouvernance démocratique et le leadership dans l’atteinte des OMD sont intimement liés dans la mesure où la gouvernance démocratique promeut la participation et l’élargissement des choix y compris ceux des individus, des communautés et des collectivités dans leurs stratégies et programmes de développement participatif et inclusifs. 

En effet l’on aura constaté que l’on ne pourra jamais atteindre les OMD sans une parfaite et réelle participation de la population, sans une prise en compte des choix et de priorités de développement des population, sans la satisfaction des besoins fondamentaux de la population, sans une réponse aux préoccupations de survie de satisfaction des besoins de base des communautés.

Ces éléments trouvent en partie la réponse dans la gouvernance locale car la bonne mesure de l’atteinte des OMD se fera au niveau des communautés. Ainsi au niveau local, les gouvernement locaux ou les pouvoirs locaux devraient s’investir du rôle leader de la réalisation des OMD au niveau de leurs collectivités.

1. What are the key challenges in identifying sectoral champions/change agents, innovators, especially those representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups through formal and informal processes at national/sub-national level? How can we facilitate innovation and strengthen their leadership capability to pursue an equitable and inclusive approach to MDGs based development agenda?

Le leadership de la réalisation des OMD se trouve au premier chef dans la capacité du gestionnaire de l’Etat à mobiliser les acteurs aussi bien nationaux qu’internationaux autours des politiques et stratégies nationales de réalisation des OMD et, de coordonner et de mettre en œuvre les programmes d’actions y relatifs.

Les pays, principalement les pays en développement ne pourront entreprendre à eux seuls les efforts de réalisation des OMD sans la jouissance des effets de la solidarité de la communauté internationale qui contribue fortement au financement des programmes nationaux et pourvoie aux actions de conseils politiques d’une part et qui, conformément au 8ème objectif des OMD, encourage les pays à améliorer leur gouvernance démocratique, à mettre en place des institutions démocratiques, à respecter les principes constitutionnels, de l’état de droit, les droits de l’homme, etc. Ainsi la gouvernance constitue un préalable à la mise à disposition des ressources de la communauté internationale.

Le deuxième niveau de leadership est en effet sectoriel, comment les ministères sectoriels tiennent en compte la réalisation des OMD ; en quoi ces politiques sont elles équitables et adressent les préoccupation des personnes et/ou groupes défavorisés et marginalisés, comment le programmes sont touches ces catégories de personnes.

Le troisième niveau est local et communautaire, il s’agit ici de renforcer les capacités des collectivités en appui aux pouvoirs locaux à développer des programmes locaux de manière participatif et inclusif et qui tiennent en compte les besoins des groupes marginalisés et/ou vulnérables ou en développant des programmes spécifiques. Il s’agit également d’appuyer les communautés à développer des réflexes d’organisation en associations et groupes de pression et/ou d’intérêt autours des problématiques particuliers comme les droits de l’homme, la lutte contre les violences sexuelles, la lutte contre la corruption, des comités de paix etc. de même que ces associations projets d’autopromotions en termes d’accès aux moyens et ressources de production, le développement d’infrastructures communautaires etc.

2. How can we facilitate the leadership role, and, innovative work of non-state actors (i.e., political parties, faith based organizations, civil society organizations, media etc.) in the implementation of the MDGs? How can we ensure the inclusion of their effective participation in MDGs based development agenda?

La réponse peut être trouvée dans la relation entre la gouvernance démocratique et la sécurité humaine, l’établissement d’un état de droit, la mise en place d’institutions de gouvernance locale favorisant l’accès des citoyens aux services publics, à la justice, aux moyens et ressources de production, l’exercices et la jouissance des libertés individuelles, bref la réduction des tracasseries, de la précarité et de la vulnérabilité qui favoriserait la créativité des citoyens et des communautés. Tous ces éléments constituent des ingrédients pour la réalisation des OMD.

Il est important de choisir plusieurs points d’entrées surtout au niveau des acteurs de la société civile où selon leurs domaines d’intérêt par rapport aux OMD

Au niveau des pouvoirs locaux, les meilleurs point d’entrée sont :
i) Les leaders locaux notamment les élus et l’administration locale ; au Burundi le PNUD appui les élus locaux dans leur implication dans le développement intégral de leurs collectivités et par conséquent la réalisation des OMD ; le PNUD a appuyé la constitution d’une association des élus locaux qui est en quelque sorte une association des communes car y siège,t des élus en activité et représentant leurs communes. cette association constitue un des points d’entrée pour créer un leadership local dans la promotion et le réalisation des OMD.
ii) Les organisations de la société civile bien qu’à des objectifs variés militent pour une bonne catégorie à la réalisation des objectifs du millénaire pour le développement ; néanmoins, leur portée est limitée au regard de leurs objectifs et champ d’intervention. Toutefois elles constitueraient de bons points d’entrée pour celles qui militent pour les groupes défavorisés et les personnes vulnérables. L’appui à ces catégories d’organisation de la société civile serait approprié. Au Burundi, le PNUD appui des associations communautaires dans le développement d’activités d’intérêt communautaires qui impliquent les groupes vulnérables et marginalisés tels les rapatriés, les indigents, les veuves et les enfants chefs de ménage, les batwa (ethnie marginalisée)
iii) Les média constituent un autre point d’entrée voir même stratégique étant donné son rôle dans l’information sensibilisation et mobilisation des acteurs ; au Burundi, le PNUD a appuyé la création d’un réseau de journalistes DHD qui appui la promotion du DHD, il y a lieu maintenant d’étendre son champ aux OMD vue les relations étroites entre DHD et OMD.
iv) L’appui la promotion de groupes scientifiques ou d’indépendant ; au Burundi le PNUD appui un groupe de réflexion indépendant sur le DHD qui coordonne le processus d’élaboration du RNDH, le thème de cette année est par exemple, la gouvernance et les OMD. Sûrement que les résultats de ces discussions pourront lui donner une inspiration sur la méthodologie de conduite du processus.
v) L’appui à des organisations spécifiques par exemple les organisations de lutte pour la promotion et la protection des droits humains, de lutte contre la corruption.

Kenya: Wanjiku Margaret (2)

Wanjiku, Margaret, Public Sector Specialist, MDG Centre; SNV ESA/ Kenya

Dear colleagues,
This discussion has indeed taken very interesting new dimensions looking at leadership from micro levels all the way up to global levels, from the role of individuals as change agents to that of institutions of government and non-government institutions as well.

I would like to reflect on the role of the public service, the so-called ‘bureaucracy’, in taking leadership or as change agents in efforts towards the achievement of MDGs. This is a team that commands huge government budgets and determines the effectiveness and impact of government activities including the MDG sectors such as education, health, agriculture and environment. The public service is also sometimes seen to be ‘bloated’, ‘not well supervised’, and not quite transparent. With a huge wage burden and increasing economic crises of many third world countries, public sector reform processes have picked up and progressed over the last decade. But how effective have these been in bringing about the much needed turnaround, and how would this provide a ripple effect on MDGs?

Looking at some of the aspects of public sector reform that have been implemented, it is noteworthy that results based management and use of tools such as performance based contracting are now widely in use, where public servants sign an undertaking providing deliverables including MDG targets evaluated yearly or at an agreed time. Increasingly, even non-government institutions in some countries operating at local levels have had to be incorporated in such undertakings since their interventions are expected to contribute to the performance of the public servants within whose jurisdiction they operate. This provides a chance to re-look at change agents within the service, strategically placed to promote MDGs and who can then take lead from within the force.
Some of the visible effects of similar public sector reforms as applied in several sub-Saharan African countries include:

  • Managers in public service have more discretion in undertaking tasks but at the same time, they have greater responsibility for results. This makes them ideal champions for MDGs in their sectors. In this case performance is assessed against explicitly set targets, making the public service more results oriented rather than task oriented.
  • Resource allocation is pegged on results achieved and performance documented, and this becomes an incentive for greater achievement.
  • Departments and individual units have more autonomy and thus have more flexibility to prioritize needs based on local/community realities.
  • There is more engagement of the private sector and incorporation of elements of the private sector in public service delivery including the latent emphasis for value for money in the sense that costs are cut to achieve greater results with less inputs.

My point is that since the Government is primarily responsible for MDGs, its servants should take leadership for processes leading to achievement of MDGs. In doing so they should draw out the participation and input of others outside the government and especially those operating at local/community levels and in a joint partnership, over see an undertaking for each to deliver their part (MDG targets) in the ‘partnership contract’.

New York: Terry Kiragu

Terry Kiragu, Policy Adviser, MDG Localization and UNDP/SNV AA 4 Focal Point - MDG Support Team; UNDP New York

Dear Colleagues,
This is very interesting discussions and hopefully the lessons will help us re-think how we are approaching the issue of MDG achievement. With less than7 years left perhaps we need to also start to look at leadership from the point of view of our own organizations as champions for MDGs! What kind of innovation are we offering to the countries that we are working with, what kind of Champions are we!
In essence a new kind of leadership from development organizations is required and more essentially to bridge the fragmented approaches! In this regard I am in support of the partnership approach to MDGs within mutual value of delivering impact and not from the point of proving who has done what….definitely not in line with governance principles. Partnership to Champion MDGs should not only be looked at from the angle of UN agencies but also the UN agencies partnering with pertinent NGOs and other local stakeholders especially to increase momentum from the local level. The partnership approach is the only way we can be able to scale up impacts as well as become “The Advocates for MDGs” !

Strengthening inclusion of non-state players
To answer this question I will base inputs on the UNDP/SNV partnership for Localization MDGs in over 20 countries in the last three years. The objective of the UNDP/SNV partnership has been to enhance inclusiveness and ownership at the local Level through capacity development of Local Governments, non state players (particularly CSOs) and Local Business so that they are able to participate and gain better ability to use MDGs for planning and for engaging in local development discourse. The idea here is to promote the environmental conditions and necessary engagement processes at local level that allow increased empowerment of local players to understand and start seeing MDGs as relevant to their livelihoods. Based on the work done so far the following are important lessons for the about to end e- discussions:

  • Up to now there is prove that at local level MDGs are still being seen as far-off technical goals that are for National and Global Players. Many of the non-government players particularly at local level do not quite understand MDGs and how they can get constructively engaged. Hence involvement must start from mapping genuine players as earlier suggested but also engaging in a series of MDG awareness sessions that allow such players understand what MDGs are and how to engage within the mandates of their organizations at one level and then collaboratively at another level
  • In promoting involvement of non-state players the processes used have to be sensitive to the fact that non-state players often do not have the necessary dialogue space for engagement. For example in some of the MDG work done there is not enough consideration on how feedback and dialogue processes can be strengthened and continued!
  • To bridge the above gap at local level promotion of involvement of non state players has to be done through a multi-stakeholder platform approach. Ones key stakeholders that is Local Government, elected leaders like Mayors/MPs, CSO Leaders are brought together MDGs can be used as a framework for bringing all players together within a common agenda. When such discussions are enabled new momentum begins to emerge which is necessary to bring about a broad based inclusiveness and ownership that also engages the communities. Within this kind of engagement the value added should be reinforced for example in a couple of countries Mayors and other elected local leaders are starting to use participation as a way of gaining popularity for re-elections.
  • There is also need for a common reference between non state players and the state to help this inclusiveness thrive for example In Uganda MDG awareness and training was used to enable local governments, CSOs and businesses come together to form MDG committees. The MDG committee’s capacity ware then organized to develop MDG based district progress reports. The MDG based district progress reports are now being used in the two districts as common framework of reference to discuss district needs. The Local Government has as a result re-prioritized and started to concentrate more on MDG 1 and 4 as the core investment areas. The CSOs are also using the results to approach national governments and donors.
  • Niger MDG awareness and interpretation to local context was used to bring about inclusiveness needed for MDG based local plans. For the first time Mayors, local councilors in four communes were able to sit together to discuss the problems of their areas using the MDGs as the benchmark with CSOs. Such discussions have lead to political leaders, Local Government Technocrats and CSO to jointly develop a local development plan and to prioritize MDGs while involving citizens. Mayors for the first time understood that when communities were involved they were more willing to pay taxes and invest in priorities they have been involved in developing. Through this initiative local revenues are starting to rise and the political leadership starting to see the value of investing in communities.
  • Finally going out as partners amplifies the reception and mobilization effect that is needed to draw in critical non state players like big local businesses, re-known local level leaders who have “voice”

Barbados and the OECS: Leisa Perch

Leisa Perch, Programme Manager - Poverty Reduction / Gender; UNDP Barbados and the OECS

Dear Colleagues,
I join others in noting the value and significance of this ongoing discussion on Democratic Governance and Leadership for Achieving the MDGs. This is very timely as we approach the second MDG milestone -2010 and is a point for some honest reflection on the progress thus far and what will be needed to achieve them by 2015.

Leadership is required across all levels for the MDGs to be achieved and for their achievement in an inclusive and participatory manner. We should not lose sight of the fact that it is possible to make significant strides and still leave many behind – often our targets are aggregates of the whole – and this can mask significant disparity and inequality. This requires enhanced and improved partnerships between government and CSOs and a moving away from the almost predictable tension which exists between these two sectors of society. It also clearly involves the private sector as well as a need to examine development from both an individual benefit i.e. micro perspective and a societal context i.e. macro level. In the Caribbean, there have been proven to be some effective mechanisms for sustaining existing progress. Barbados has effectively utilized a social partnership modality which facilitated dialogue, agreement and partnership between government, labour and private sector. This mechanism proved useful in managing price volatility and the impact on the cost of living to a certain extent (See an example – Protocol Four of the Social Partnership 2001 -2004 - of the Protocol which this partnership was able to develop addressing a number of issues).

The advance of many countries towards and past the global MDG targets will likely increase the numbers of countries which achieve Middle Income Status “MIC”. Such an achievement does not change the fact that these countries face an uphill battle in addressing “quality of life” issues including inequality and distribution of resources. The UN system has a critical role to play in ensuring that the MDGs remain relevant in this context and that we further assist these countries in identifying a clear space for continued development assistance. In the case of Small Island Developing States, in particular, much of this progress/development is rather fragile and can easily be at risk from social, economic or environmental threats.

There seems a clear role for Capacity Development in the issue of Leadership – both in terms of supporting current leaders and in supporting the emergence of new ones. Perhaps we assume that leaders are effective in all circumstances and in all areas? Every leader needs a support mechanism and probably a mentor. So perhaps part of our innovation should be to include mechanisms for support and mentoring to those who we ask to lead on some of these issues in particular the difficult ones. I say this in a context of the current response to HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean where one of our Prime Ministers has seemingly accepted a lead role in promoting dialogue around issues of sex work and homosexuality and potential decriminalization. As the Caribbean tends to be socially conservative…..this is a hot-button issue. He has taken some heat for this and continues to do so particularly from the Faith-based community. Interestingly, this weekend the International Conference on HIV/AIDS starts and that the UNAIDS 2008 highlights leadership as a key issue for advancing progress on HIV/AIDS. How do we as the UN support that lone ‘leader” who is taking a bold stand , perhaps with the silent support of other leaders, but at least publicly, does so alone?

How can we support leaders in creating a space for change? Sometimes this is difficult.
Some issues remain a challenge:

  • Inclusive development by definition will require leaders to work with people they don’t like, with whom they will disagree politically and with whom they may not share the same “values”. What mechanisms can support this difficult process? I find the recent US TV campaign on addressing climate change interesting….the ads where representatives from vastly opposing sides note their disagreements on everything…except that climate change needs action now….I think they are sponsored by an NGO. Those types of ads go a long way in transforming ideas of leadership.
  • What is often critical for leadership is a strong conceptual framework. I often wonder if we should so easily expect the Ministries of Finance (usually our national focal point Ministry), CSOs, to lead on the MDGs when the MDGs addresses issues which are very much outside of their usual operating environment and for which they have had little exposure. Particularly, when the real picture is often not clear due to the lack of data….effective leadership should be informed leadership. This is where I feel that our Leadership as the UN and as UNDP is critical. And that leadership is beyond the intellectual but must also be about the courage to say to our partners including member states….”we must do better” or “we should strive for more”.
  • We also often speak about the leadership of the CSO community. Such enabling activities and capacity development must be in sync with and complementary to public sector reform efforts i.e. two sides of the same programme. In the absence of such a dual approach, I feel we are addressing only part of the challenge.
  • What is the role of the media as a leader and in supporting effective leadership? The media has a leadership role, one often downplayed but one with implications for the broader MDG effort. It can often be about the things they do not do or the stand they did not take that can not only impact on how an issue is seen but impacts on the “public version” of the truth. If we fail to harness them in the support of other public leadership, we may still find that our efforts do not fulfill their true potential. The media has in some cases helped to politicize issues and neutralize the impact of leadership on sensitive topics.
  • Leadership on the MDGs should result in tangible change.

Undeniably, as the steward of public policy there is a clear role for government/the public sector in setting the stage for what is ‘fair’, ‘acceptable’ and ‘just’. The MDGs, at their core, are very much about these things.

Gowher and Monjur: Note from the Moderators

Dear participants and members,

We would like to congratulate our members for contributing their stimulating thoughts to the e-discussion and also offering fresh perspectives. This has been an excellent learning process as well. As part of our weekly review of your contributions, we would like to highlight couple of important issues raised by you. We are genuinely challenged by what Terry Kiragu posed in her submission: … with less than7 years left perhaps we need to also start to look at leadership from the point of view of our own organizations as champions for MDGs! What kind of innovation are we offering to the countries that we are working with, what kind of Champions are well. In essence a new kind of leadership from development organizations is required and more essentially to bridge the fragmented approaches! Beatriz Fernandez Carrillo lamented the fact that we totally forget about MDG8 which called for global Partnership for Development. It implies that social actors cannot be effective alone, be it the governments, UN agencies or others. We also forget one of the overarching themes of the Millennium Declaration: the continued and consistent political commitment of states to promote and protect human rights.

Key Challenges in Identifying Leaders and Innovators
Throughout the discussion, participants acknowledged the real challenges faced by all key stakeholders in identifying leaders and innovators particularly from the indigenous communities, the disadvantaged groups and the vulnerable and marginalised segments of the society. The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues recently alerted us by saying: ‘The Permanent Forum once again reiterates its concern that reports developed and presented by many States on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and poverty reduction strategy papers still do not adequately include and address indigenous peoples, nor do they include their participation, and it therefore calls on States to rectify this situation and on United Nations agencies to support their efforts’. Participants aptly reminded us that we should not lose sight of the fact that it is possible to make significant strides and still leave many behind – often our targets are aggregates of the whole – and this can mask significant disparity and inequality. This is particularly true when it comes to members of the disadvantaged groups who are somewhat invisible in the dominant development discourse.

Promoting Innovation, and Developing Leadership Capacity in Public Sector
The leadership to achieve the MDGs is primarily based on the state administration’s ability to mobilize the players, nationally as well as internationally, around national policies and strategies to achieve the MDGs and, to coordinate and implement corresponding action plans. Wanjiku Margaret shared some of the visible effects of similar public sector reforms as applied in several sub-Saharan African countries. Undoubtedly, these could also be applied elsewhere:

  • Managers in public service have more discretion in undertaking tasks but at the same time, they have greater responsibility for results. This makes them ideal champions for MDGs in their sectors. In this case performance is assessed against explicitly set targets, making the public service more results oriented rather than task oriented.
  • Resource allocation is pegged on results achieved and performance documented, and this becomes an incentive for greater achievement.
  • Innovative approaches and processes should be rewarded.
  • Departments and individual units have more autonomy and thus have more flexibility to prioritize needs based on local/community realities.
  • There is more engagement of the private sector and incorporation of elements of the private sector in public service delivery including the latent emphasis for value for money in the sense that costs are cut to achieve greater results with less inputs.

Sam Ibanda reinforced that no government in the world will attain MDGs without empowering its local governments. In fact, some of the local governments moved ahead of their respective national governments in this direction. Citing example of Kyrgyz Republic, Erkin Kasybekov maintained that while the national government is still discussing the next stage of the country development agenda, local self-governments are keen to include MDG priorities into their local development agendas.

Aminul Islam highlighted community empowerment through expanding choice of vulnerable people in accessing to natural resources and its management is instrumental to bring positive change toward achieving MDGs. Examples of effective local level leadership and innovations which are available all over the world needs to be captured, disseminated, and replicated with win-win objectives of reducing poverty and protecting biodiversity. However, all these require enhanced and improved partnerships between government and CSOs and a moving away from the almost predictable tension which exists between these two sectors of society. It also clearly involves the private sector as well as a need to examine development from both an individual benefit i.e. micro perspective and a societal context i.e. macro level. In this regard Leisa Perch backed-up her argument with an example from the Caribbean. Barbados has effectively utilized a social partnership modality which facilitated dialogue, agreement and partnership between government, labour and private sector. This mechanism proved useful in managing price volatility and the impact on the cost of living to a certain extent.

Leadership and Innovation of the Non-state Actors and the Youth
In promoting involvement of non-state players the processes used have to be sensitive to the fact that non-state players often do not have the necessary dialogue space for engagement. Terry Kiragu elaborated the situation by referring to the lack of adequate consideration on how feedback and dialogue processes can be strengthened and continued in MDG work. Rakesh Jani reminded us that the sustained projects and programmes based on MDGs have brought significant changes in knowledge and attitude of the people particularly a large section of educated youths in some of the countries. If opportunities are given to these Youth to be champions of MDGs, it would have a multiplying impact. He cited the example of Peer to Peer Education. In many countries UNDP, UNV and many UN agencies have piloted or implemented projects based on Peer-Peer education methodology to involve youth in the championing of the MDGs.

Jean Kabahizi stressed the need for bringing local leaders in the mainstream development discourse, In fact, UNDP supports community associations in developing activities of communal interest that involve vulnerable and marginalized groups, such as repatriates, indigents, widows and children heads of households, the batwa (marginalized ethnic group). Leisa Perch saw a clear role for Capacity Development in the issue of Leadership processes and methodologies – both in terms of supporting current leaders and in supporting the emergence of new ones. She mentioned the leadership role of the media, one often downplayed but one with implications for the broader MDG effort. It can often be about the things they do not do or the stand they did not take that can not only impact on how an issue is seen but impacts on the “public version” of the truth.

The e-discussion has shown the variety of contexts and conditions in which we work. Efforts are required to ensure that development practitioners on the ground have the appropriate knowledge and tools to be able to respond to all possible situations. Leadership development issues need to be addressed in a more systematic and sustainable manner. The discussion also underpinned that the governance of the society is no longer the sole prerogative of the government – the public purpose is today being advanced through the combined effort of all relevant sectors in society. And innovation is a key to the success of such efforts given our resource constraints in a number of areas. We will continue to share with you detailed insights based on your contributions. Please do not hesitate to add your comments to the e-discussion Wiki, your platform for dynamic knowledge sharing,
Kind regards.
Monjur and Gowher

Phase II Moderators
Professor Gowher Rizvi, The Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard University; and
A.H. Monjurul Kabir, Knowledge Management Specialist and Focal Point for Innovation and Leadership in Governance, DGG, Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP New York

Gowher and Monjur: Closing of E-discussion on Democratic Governance and Leadership for Achieving MDGs

Dear Colleagues,

As a final follow-up to our weekly review, we would like to express our deep appreciation to our members and participants who have taken their time to contribute to this dynamic exchange of knowledge and experiences on improving the way we work on achievement of MDGs with greater and stronger engagements of democratic governance, leadership and innovation. The e-discussion highlighted the critical role of leaders and innovators at local, provincial, national, and regional levels in making this happen. We are sure this productive exchange of thoughts will not end with the e-discussion only but provide further impetus for renewed efforts to support democratic governance and MDGs in the context of the UNDP Strategic Plan along with the efforts to improve UNCT collaboration for these purposes.

As interest increases in the role of governance in sector policies to achieve the MDGs and as most sector experts often emphasize governance issues as most constraining factors for equitable delivery, members and practitioners devoted this e-discussion to address those concerns. This e-discussion is an example of bottom of prioritization in development agenda setting process. Members of both the Democratic Governance Practice Network (DGP-Net) and the Millennium Development Goals Network (MDG-Net) selected “Democratic Governance and MDGs” as a priority cross-practice area for network deliberations in 2008. We are particularly glad that colleagues from different national and international coalitions and networks including those of the Millennium Campaign, an interagency initiative of the United Nations, and the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard University were able to join the e-discussion. We also express my appreciation to the Democratic Governance Group and the MDG Support Team for their support and collaboration. With your help, the panel of moderators from both the phases was able to navigate the discussion with ease keeping the focus on the key questions of the discussion.

Your contributions have reflected a strong commitment to increase intra and inter institutional synergies and collaboration. More than ever, strong partnerships are critical for ensuring coordinated, meaningful, and high-impact assistance to support national and local governments, civil society, media, and the private sector. Improving governance both at local and central level is a fundamental component in reaching the MDGs, through stronger efforts at all levels, and, was duly emphasised in the 2005 Millennium Summit review Outcome Document. The e-discussion also reinforced the need for greater participation of the members of the disadvantaged and the vulnerable groups in leading the MDG achievement process.
We look forward to strengthen our collaborative work in future in the same spirit of a wiki discussion like this which promotes collective knowledge creation and dissemination for common good. The Facilitation Teams of both the networks did an excellent job throughout the e-discussion. Following the Phase I practice, they will also release an interim Consolidated Reply for the phase II. We invite you to continue to add your comments/feedback to the e-discussion Wiki, your platform for dynamic knowledge sharing, You inputs would be critical for any potential knowledge product coming out of this engaging process.


THANK YOU.
Monjur and Gowher
Moderators


Phase II Moderators
Professor Gowher Rizvi, The Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard University; and
A.H. Monjurul Kabir, Knowledge Management Specialist and Focal Point for Innovation and Leadership in Governance, DGG, Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP.

Phase I Moderators
Ms. Noha El-Mikawy
, Policy Advisor for Governance and Poverty, Oslo Governance Center, Democratic Governance Group, Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP, and
Mr. Ernest Rwamucyo, Policy Adviser, Governance, MDGs Support Team, Poverty Group, Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP

Nigeria: Ashiru Mahroof

Contributors: Dr. Virgy Onyene (frontispieceresource@yahoo.com), Al-Mahroof Ashiru (sirmooree@yahoo.ca), Senator Annie Okonkwo (anniec_okonkwo@yahoo.com), Dr. Pat Mbah (pat_mba@yahoo.com), Prof. Aloy Ejiogu (aloy916@yahoo.com), Dr. Chineze Uche (nezenwam@yahoo.com), Mrs.Tuwere Nelly Utuama (nellyutuama@yahoo.com) and Hon. Emmanuel Adedeji (mdg-ng Roundtable).


E-Discussion Phase II: Promoting Inclusive Leadership and Innovation for MDGs: Positioning CBO/NGO Monitoring Links

With increasing challenges in the area of information explosion, economic reforms, micro-economic development, ICT renovation, unemployment, graduates unemployability, moral laxity, religious bigotry, the Nigerian nation is consistently confronted with the realities of, accountability through self/peer/community-based periodic reviews. There is also the need to generate data about her ever-growing population income levels, lifestyle and quality of life skills available to her populace.

The federal Government is constitutionally permitted to design, review and entrench programmes on basic needs (food, shelter and amenities), health, finance, education, demographic data base planning / plan implementation, oil, federal character, youth, women, children e.tc. NEEDS is a laudable economic development programme. However at state and local council levels, key actors had been government (state and council) through political leaders who were not completely attuned to the strategic goals of NEEDS. Thus NGO’s, CBO and CSO were completely not in control, so the common man and woman at the grassroots or domestic sphere was inadvertently neglected. This is also replicated along the levels and tiers of government and was counter socio-economic development. Through her institutions, parastatals and agencies, MDG –driven policies ought to be implemented to achieve national needs and at the same time meet global challenges. No society succeeds without a larger percentage of her citizenry who form the basic fabric called communities. Nigeria has 774 local council areas with replicate offices to drive down national programmes.

Communities basically ought to be rural but they are quickly transcending such domestication for somewhat better socio-economic reasons. When the need to be involved with all-round empowerment and development, Africans created social platform for relating with kits and kins, which have become today’s Community Based Organizations (CBOs). The basic goal of a CBO was social welfare, later economical, and today the garb political/leadership pressure seems to have overwhelming effect over the others. Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are distinct from CBOs not by service or programmes but by their accounting procedure for funds generated. NGOs as incorporated by state laws are accountable and at the same time mostly not for profit making. Both can jointly assume components of multi-link change agents when it comes to executing from top to bottom programmes of the government especially those that are aimed at social sustainability. In essence MDG goal attainment will be administratively fluid and effectively down-streamed to the grass root when there is cohesive link between NGOs and CBOS, with one as a high level administrator and the other both the confirming house and responsibility recycle machine.

The CBO-NGO Link or Framework for action
One does not intend to go into exploration of meanings but there is need to give this discussion clear direction through brief conceptualization. By so doing, we have reasoned that CBOs are crucial to MDG actualization and that there is need for NGO to be the watchdog for fiscal and accountability purposes. When donors sponsor projects, the NGO follows strict due process for implementation as given by the funding agent(s), but if government initiates sustainability actions around the MDG, CBOs are crucial platforms for down-streaming.

“Community based organizations are goal directed social entities that exist to serve the needs of people. They basically combine human efforts towards results.” Raw & Narayana 1998

Community based organizations emerged as a result of human desire for formalization of social interactions, exchange of ideas, working pattern definition, inter dependency, shared energy as well as in response to environmental dynamics. Specifically CBOs are local associations or unions made up of person with common heritage, interests and most often able to communicate with each other. They share tremendous willingness to contribute actions in the way Chris Argry refers to as social motivation or drive to belong and strive to accomplish (individually and collectively) a common purpose.

‘People’ are fundamental to Life, to organizing, to territorializing, to programming and project designing. Thus villages, towns and cities are referred to as ‘ghost …”when they no longer attract and, or hold people.

Population is central to societal factors of development. Nigeria as a country has on record 373 identifiable ethnic groupings (form Abayon in Rivers state to Zul Zulawa in Adamawa). It is a multicultural and pluralistic nation. Her population figure has been a rather sensitive and controversial issue due to its implications for shaping geopolitical, state and ethnic relations with the preponderances of power control and balancing. Although population figures may not be of concern to many Nigerians, numerical and percentage distribution by states and zones are of crucial precedence to her citizenry because this determines group claims to national facilities. Furthermore, with 774 local councils Nigeria will be talking about over 2 million towns (local communities above village cohorts), which requires strong administrative monitoring that cannot be done effectively by government MDAs alone but with credible NGOs.

Given the fact that CBOS are formed by Persons whose off springs could have become mature and literate enough to undertake jobs requiring accurate data base, the relevant agencies need graded statistical digests for rural / urban decision making, projections and estimates.

Families or hamlets and villages feed CBOs. CBOs therefore form the major focal platforms for service delivery in government programmes like the EPI, UBE, Nomadic /women Education, HIV/AIDS awareness, Micro credit, NAPEP, Bank Recapitalization as a financial Regime, Due process, Deregulation, Resource control, Political party formation, Federal character issues, Insurance schemes, Rural Health projects, Immigration, Trade Regimes etc.

NGO-CBO link will be a network where few NGOs are linked up with many CBOs to monitor government programmes in order to ensure functional continuity and implicit review from time to time. NGO will evaluate using technical devices, which was originally designed alongside specific programmes or project; will inspect in the instant statutory duty of persons, committees or mini agencies and yet visit regularly in order to ensure that rules are dully followed.
This does not preclude CBO internal monitoring in order to facilitate a programme, a policy, and relevant action plan to nurture such to fruition. The National population commission (2006), attested to the viability of CBOs in providing evaluative devices aimed at generating positive awareness at the grassroots- exerting influences similar to ‘parenting’ or baby – sitting’ posture of communities for smooth conduct of elections. CBOs are also given a pride of place for providing logistic, support services and baseline demographic information.

The monitoring roles of NGO-CBO Link therefore encapsulates provision of impartial support in form of information dissemination, observatory role (inspection) as well use of network of interpersonal relationships the sharing, guiding and guarding every qualitative arrangement put in place for this grand project.

To take proper charge of responsibilities in these dimensions the government has well over forty commissions, councils, panels and Bureaus through which policies and programmes are initiated and implemented. One makes bold to insist that like the National population commission each of these other councils and commissions requires the participation of Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Non-governmental agencies (NGOs), relevant institutions, and experts in order to ensure that the citizen understands her job content, assimilates the service/values being rendered as well as to proudly to network with such agency. In effect, the wide gap between the role of say ‘code of conduct Bureau; National Defense Council, Independent National Electoral Commission, the Federal character commission, the Police service, the Judicial service to F.C.T, Revenue etc and the masses will in due course really close.

CBOS are crucial in ensuring that corresponding programme implementation is achieved in the face of enormous human mechanized efforts, personnel, Time, money, and material investment.

Census 2006 would have gulped a huge chunk of sophisticated arrangements in form of scientific/strategic planning, technical arrangements, huge resources that cumulatively calls for unswerving commitment and dedication from not just facilitators in the formal National population hierarchy but fragments of inputs from those who would consume every profit and, or loss from this exercise. While international communities are interested in inspecting enumeration exercise, the Nigerian community expectedly is to make sacrifices that would actually ensure a bold break with our past population figure speculations. The web like organ that could this is the CBOs. Thus, the question of whether or not Nigeria was in able to handle her census conduct affairs in 1991 would have been answered this time around.

DG & MDGs mdgng.jpg 

Figure 1 explains the dynamics of CBOs with emphasis on their local qualities and their cosmopolitan outlooks. The urbanization seems to be moving culture-tied CBOs towards cosmopolitan constituents. Implicitly, CBOs by nature, operational styles, outcomes and attributes are responsive to Nigeria’s present political or leadership paradigm shift, evident in the fact that allegiance to customs and traditions is rapidly giving to constituted authority (use of town union constitutions and bye-laws). It therefore follows that cosmopolitan CBOs have replaced culture-tied forms.

Modern day CBO are more complex, open, dynamic, aims at enlarged operational scope, decentralized (Bodija Progressive Union, Lagos, Abuja, Enugu Branches etc make up Bodija progressive Union Federated. This is a town union which was locally situated but must not respond to the challenges of modernization urban migration, pursuit of new type of trade, sophisticated life style, access to amenities power; desire to belong and in search of opportunities. Other examples include, Association of Anambra Women IN Lagos (ASWAL), which is organization with above 600 women members represent different towns in Anambra State town unions in Lagos.

In answer to the crucial question ‘why do people always seek to formalize their togetherness’, Anyanwu (1987): Nkom (1984): Egenti (2005) seem to jointly have responded, “to improve their lots, to provide and share basic amenities and give assistance to the needy members of community, and not merely the realization of rapid socio-economic growth…” Furthermore, (2001) study around community based organizations inputs in the provision and management of education in Anambra state, recorded that CBOS including Town Unions, cooperative organizations, village unions, Age grade, church-based women/men organization, committee of friends, Home/Abroad congresses, political Associations, Health welfare organizations, student unions, social clubs Football supporters, Traditional rulers exist as vehicles to information dissemination.

Promoting CBO as Non State Actors in Implementing MDGs Poverty Reduction and Dividend of Democracy in Nigeria.
It is hereby proposed that for a CBO to perform effective nurturance role toward government programmes the following attributes must be in place:
• Transformational leadership
• Adequate administrative skills
• Right language/communication network
• Mature and capable leadership
• Forward – looking strategies that must be rooted in old traditions and customs so that dominant life patterns are not severed to bring about alienation. E.g. use of literate personnel in positions of authority, re-structuring tendencies and constant education of members through seminars / workshops/survey analysis of institutional factors are necessary
• Harnessing technical skills
• Job creation tendency
• Human/Public Relations
• Networking using local integrative device
• Use of investigative/problem solving mechanisms in matters of social security, distribution of wealth/amenities and responsibilities.
• Entrenchment of youth competitive skills as a social skill necessary for better performance/increased achievement drive and self-fulfillment.
• Use of committee system e.g. community-government Interactive groups, which involves persons who must have studied government intentions, decisions and policies in order to decipher their relevance and implications for community development. Some communities formed Fuel Procurement Distribution Groups, to combat scarcity/hoarding and access to petroleum products. Others are Dispute/conflict Resolution committee; Land/works committee is in charge ownership, sales, use and management of land; while student-teachers committee evolved from student unions to take care of young children who must be at school if they are within government school age. They also organize programmes like and holiday classes. Youth Leagues, age grades and social clubs often use this committee system to achieve result.
• Statutory boards such as Rural Health/Insurance, Board Scholarship/education trust fund Board, Vocational technical trainings, parents/student forum/public lecture are also into such associational ties. It was found that CBO went into a state of flux as changes in the larger society influenced their aims and objectives.

Conclusion
In response to identifying change agents and innovators for the achieving MDG, this submission has directly and indirectly has identified the local, domestic, and or grassroots –based economically active Nigerians as the most vulnerable groups often marginalized from benefiting from the dividend of democracy rooted in inclusive leadership and innovative resource distribution. It also dwelt on exploring intra-ethnic relations that would harmonize Nigeria’s multi ethnic and multi-cultural composition with their need for equal access to sustainable resources as provided by government projects and global initiatives. Against this backdrop, we articulated that CBO- NGO link is an easy inclusive and transformative model for rediscovering empowerment networks, sharing and cross-cultural development process promotion.

Contributors

Djibril Ly, Jean Kabahizi, Monjurul Kabir, Sylvie, Sylvie Babadjide, Terry Kiragu, taimur khilji