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Strengthening capacity of local governments in Latin America to address critical issues arising from internationally agreed development goals


The strong centralization and the lack of widespread information regarding the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s), is one of the factors that hamper the fulfillment of MDG's in Latin America and the Caribbean. According to available sources, countries with greater indices of poverty are those that encounter more difficulties to fulfill these goals, largely since they lack the necessary resources, knowledge or institutional capacities to achieve these development goals. This situation is even more serious when analyzing the situation at local and/or territorial levels in each country, considering the greater social, economic, and technical disparities.

In many of MDGs, the majority of benefits and/or public policies concentrate only on high-density areas or highly industrialized zones. It often implies that only the bigger cities receive such benefits. Thus, smaller urban areas, towns and/or remote cities or areas remain unprotected and may be left behind from development initiatives aimed at making progress in the fulfillment of the MDGs.

This indicates that it is necessary to build and strengthen technical capacities at subnational and local levels and to attain greater level of decentralization in the design and implementation of policies in order to achieve the MDGs, especially if they target territories that require urgent attention to fulfill them. Besides, the production of information at subnational and local levels is fundamental in order to allow the classification of different territories by the extent of functioning and the amount of progress that they have achieved in the fulfillment of the MDGs.

The amount of progress in the fulfillment of the MDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean has been very heterogeneous and asymmetrical, and such feature is much deeper in local territories. Thus, it should be of great relevance to design policy responses that could give preferential attention to territories, characterized with greater backwardness in the attainment of these objectives and to generate greater knowledge of the MDGs at local level as well as the capacities to assess the related needs, to monitor progress and to design activities in this respect.


To strengthen local governments’ capacity to identify, quantify, assess and achieve internationally agreed development goals, including Millennium Development Goals at local and sub-national levels.

Expected Accomplishments:

  • Greater awareness and exchange of experience regarding the Millennium Development Goals at the local and subnational levels

  • Strengthened technical capacity of staff of subnational governments to incorporate the Millennium Development Goals in local and subnational development plans.
  • Strengthened capacity of governments at the local and subnational levels to measure, value and budget and assess the Millennium Development Goals

Implementation Status:

During its second year of implementation, the project has finalized the methodology providing a diagnosis on the state of situation of MDGs at municipal level. The coverage of the methodology was significantly broadened as it now covers the Latin American and Central America regions and incorporated more variables than initially planned. Moreover, the main findings and breakthroughs of this methodology have been formally incorporated in the curriculum of four ECLAC/ILPES training courses that took place in 2009 and 2010, which has strengthened the capacities of 116 local level participants from 20 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to monitor and measure MDGs at the local level. Finally, two country studies on Chile and Uruguay were developed and finalized in 2010. They enabled to generate new knowledge through the provision of an extensive review of the quality, availability and levels of transparency of existing sub-national capacities and instruments related to MDGs. They also provided the basis for the delivery of local training courses and workshops to technical staff to be carried out in 6 countries (Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru) during 2011.

Unexpected outcomes: The UNDP team responsible for elaborating the El Salvador Human Development Report expressed strong interest in including the MDGs diagnosis methodology from the project in its next publication. Moreover, the Institute for Applied Economic Research of Brazil (IPEA) has requested the possibility to use the methodology in their work (particularly, with respect to MDGs).

E-learning courses link http://www.eclac.cl/cgi-bin/getProd.asp?xml=/ilpes/noticias/noticias/9/42929/P42929.xml&xsl=/ilpes/tpl/p1f.xsl&base=/ilpes/tpl/top-bottom.xsl