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Thematic Reviews

Millennium Development Goals (2011, extract out of Seventh Progress Report)

13. Fifth tranche projects defined their strategic focus in relation to the programme priorities of their executing entities, as approved in their logical frameworks, reflecting the internationally agreed development goals, and particularly the Millennium Development Goals. Out of the 30 projects reviewed:

(a) Eight projects addressed all the Millennium Development Goals;
(b) Twenty-two projects addressed specific Millennium Development Goals as listed below (projects may address more than one goal):


Millennium Development Goal

Addressed by

Goal 1: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

15 projects

Goal 3: promote gender equality and empower women

  5 projects

Goal 4: reduce child mortality rates

  2 projects

Goal 5: improve maternal health

  1 project

Goal 7: ensure environmental sustainability

  7 projects

Goal 8: develop a global partnership for development

  8 projects


14. Most projects, even when they were formulated to address specific development issues, aimed at the broadest possible impact: in addition to the 8 projects that addressed all of the Millennium Development Goals, 14 projects targeted the overarching goal of poverty reduction. To assess how this orientation is evolving, the concept notes of the most recently approved projects — the seventh tranche projects — were examined. The intention to aim at the broadest possible impact is confirmed: out of 28 projects, half are aimed at either all, or at least five, of the Millennium Development Goals. Among the other projects, 10 are aimed at the goal of poverty reduction. Millennium Development Goal 2 (achieve universal primary education) and Millennium Development Goal 6 (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases), which are more relevant to entities other than those that administer the Account, were not among those addressed, which indicates that the entities of the Account formulated projects that were closely related to their substantive expertise and capacities.

15. Almost half of the projects reviewed were striving to deliver outputs, such as methodologies and data gathering tools, aimed at strengthening countries’ capacities for policy development. Methodologies were either adapted or developed by local experts to suit national contexts. This effort involved raising the awareness of policymakers and institutions participating in national policy dialogue of the usefulness of the new methodologies and data available. Projects covered such issues as: the more effective design of macroeconomic and social protection policies; the design of science, technology and innovation policies; the capacities to support environmental policy; or the strengthening of data to improve formulation of policy towards gender equality. Among the 14 projects, 8 were related to building statistical capacity to help countries measure achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. A number of projects are reporting adoption by policymakers and relevant institutions of the new approaches and methodologies they promoted. In many cases, projects were dealing with institutional capacity-building as a first step, and the end result — the strengthening of policies or adoption of new ones — needs to be pursued beyond the four year cycle of the projects. For several projects, among those aimed at the broadest scope of contribution to achieving all the Millennium Development Goals or the broadest geographical coverage by including Governments in all regions, it is too early to assess the longer-term impact, and more time would be needed to evaluate the results achieved.

16. Nine projects — about a third of those reviewed — were geared towards strengthening the performance of countries in one sector with expected results in poverty reduction and global partnership for development. These are broad Millennium Development Goals, but the projects focused mainly on the implementation of specific programmes. Their main output was frequently in the form of assistance to the development of systems, such as in the areas of trade information flow, e-commerce and e-business; updating existing manuals used by national law enforcement facilities; and researching best practices to be used by projects beneficiaries. The sectors were very specifically defined: trade facilitation, modernization of agriculture, information and communications technology, drugs and crime, road safety, energy, and the protection of women. The purpose of these projects was to provide specific support to national programmes and, in general, contribute to economic growth. Where they have been successful, which in this case can be assessed only in relation to immediate results, and when they were designed to promote replication elsewhere, they offer an opportunity to directly address the goal of poverty reduction.

17. The importance of knowledge management was underscored in the overall theme for fifth tranche projects. It should be noted that six projects were designed exclusively to establish mechanisms for the sharing and dissemination of information among groups of countries or institutions, or at the grass-roots level. It must be said that they were all successful in advancing discussions and agreements on issues of interest to the participants.