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Development Account Projects

Strengthening regional knowledge networks to promote the effective implementation of the United Nations Development Agenda and to assess progress

Background:

The Annual Ministerial Review launched in 2007 by the Economic and Social Council has proven to be a success, as demonstrated by the increasing number of countries volunteering for review. The General Assembly in its resolution 61/16 requested the Council to urge the United Nations regional commissions, in collaboration with other regional and subregional organizations and processes, as appropriate, to contribute, within their mandates, to the reviews of progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields and to provide input to the discussions of the Council in accordance with its rules and procedure. Since 2007, the regional commissions have been collaborating with the DESAto organize regional consultations in preparation of the Annual Ministerial Review. Starting in 2008, in order to help Member States best engage with the Council, the DESAhas organized workshops and developed a website to enable countries to exchange information on effective practices at the national level. While national workshops have enabled countries to strengthen preparations for national reviews, it is necessary to examine progress and enable Member States to share lessons learned and exchange information among each other at the regional level.

The project will address this need by supporting the establishment of regional knowledge networks, developing capacity through a portal for Member States and establishing stronger links among countries at the regional level, including National Voluntary Presentation countries. The proposed project will build on the efforts to integrate the development agenda into national strategies and to build the capacity to assess national progress towards the internationally agreed development goals. Jointly with the regional commissions, it will augment the knowledge, expertise and lessons learned so far at the regional level in the review and assessment of national development strategies. The project will build on existing regional networks and projects, such as the ECA peer learning review/knowledge network on national development strategies. Moreover, this project will contribute towards the preparation of national voluntary presentations and the continued engagement of Member States with the Economic and Social Council. In particular, it will enable a mutual review of policies and projects facilitating scaling-up and possible regional collaboration. The project will tap into the expertise of national experts who have already been engaged in National Voluntary Presentations and use the website "Development Strategies that Work", developed under the sixth tranche of the Development Account.

Objective:

To strengthen national and regional expertise for the review and assessment of effective national development strategies, and support the sharing of such expertise and assessments at the regional and global levels, including the preparation of national voluntary presentations and engagement with the Economic and Social Council.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Establishment of regional knowledge networks to share regional expertise in the review and assessment of national development strategies and in the preparation of national voluntary presentations
  • Building national and regional capacity on policies that work

Implementation status:

1. ECLAC launched a new thematic portal in November 2012. The portal aims to disseminate knowledge on social protection as a key development strategy to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The Commission also published reports on social protection systems in Latin American and Caribbean countries. These reports aim to disseminate knowledge and to foster discussions on the main challenges of social protection systems in terms of achieving key development goals, such as combating poverty and hunger. An international workshop on "Food security, rural poverty and social protection in Latin America and the Caribbean" was organized in collaboration with FAO. In addition, the “Online Poverty, Decent Work, Hunger and Malnutrition” database which serves the purpose of monitoring progress towards the first Millennium Development Goal was updated with new information.

2. ECA recruited a network coordinator to manage a web portal, e-discussions and the creation of a dedicated ECA data depository. These online tools will help guide policy formulation processes in a concrete and dynamic manner. ECA also convened a workshop in Mombasa, Kenya, bringing together development planning experts from across the continent in order to formulate a Network of Development Planners. The workshop was attended by some 40 experts from governments, development agencies and independent policy analysts. A Community of Practice (CoP) of African Planners was one of the outcomes of the meeting. The proposed CoP, will be part of the larger, institutional platform managed by ECA. The effectiveness of this initial workshop was apparent when participants commended the idea of an online community of experts, as lack of information sharing was identified as a major capacity gap in development planning in the region. It was therefore recommended that the CoP be launched as soon as possible so that participants may begin to share information immediately. This activity was complimented by a presentation of a commissioned paper on the recent Istanbul Programme of Action for African LDCs 2011-2021 and the formulation of the post 2015 international development agenda and their integration and impact on development planning.

3. ESCWA and ESCAP initiated the implementation of the project activities during the third quarter of 2012. This included the preparation of terms of reference for consultants to carry out studies related to the activities in the project.

4. DESA/OESC, in collaboration with DESA/DPADM, started preparations to develop on-line training modules and tools for data collection and analysis to carry out MDGs/IADGs-based reviews and assessments of National Development Strategies. The modules will be promoted and distributed through the regional knowledge networks. Through these activities, UNDESA will help raise awareness of the AMR analytical work relevant to the NDS at the regional level and increase regional knowledge and expertise to integrate more effectively the UNDA into national development plans, as well as support countries by building capacity to assess progress towards its implementation.