Synthesis Report: Findings and Recommendations from a Seven Country Study of UN Engagement in Poverty Reduction and National Development Strategies

01 Mar 2008

Document Summary

This Synthesis Report (2008) reviews the role of the United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs) in Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper  (PRSP) processes and, more broadly, in National Development Strategies (NDS). The central focus is on PRSPs. The paper draws on a set of seven country papers that were at the centre of the study – Azerbaijan, Honduras, Laos, Malawi, Mongolia, Uganda and Zambia. The paper is designed to examine how UN agencies can reposition themselves to maximize their comparative advantage to assist effectively and strategically the national development process. In addition to the seven country studies, the paper is based on a literature review and meetings or conversations with UN regional staff and Headquarter staff in Geneva, Rome and New York, including the UN Development Groups (UNDG) Working Group on MD/MDGs which commissioned the research.


The first section of this paper gives a contextual account of PRSPs – the global development perspective – and then addresses some important critiques of the PRSP process itself. It is necessary to acknowledge these critiques for their local analysis may often be relevant to understanding how the UNCT engages most effectively in PRSP processes. They suggest a clear role for the UN family to engage not simply as another partner but to actively support governments in strengthening the content and processes of PRSPS. Part 2 contextualizes the study in the UN reform agenda and the wider aid reform agenda. Part 3 develops the findings and recommendations through examination of a model of engagement for the UN in PRSP processes. 

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