Strategic approach to foster growth in the world's poorest countries

Oct 4, 2010

UNCDF/UNDP First Global Forum on Local Development:

Strategic Approach to Local Development Needed to Foster Growth and Reduce Disparities in World’s Poorest Countries

David Morrison, UNCDF Executive Secretary
delivering his welcoming remarks at
the Opening session of the
Global Forum on Local Development
(Photo: UNDP)

Kampala, Uganda The world’s poorest countries can foster greater growth by tapping into significant yet unexploited potential across their territories. But these countries need to have a more strategic approach to local development if they are to effectively address their development challenges – an approach that would need to be better targeting of growing regional disparities and for more adequate addressing of local needs. 

This is what emerged during the opening day of the three day First Global Forum on Local Development, a high-level event convened by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Uganda, and supported by a wide range of partners.

The opening day was attended by 600 people representing 81 countries, including Heads of state and Government Ministers, as well as representatives of the donor community, international organizations, local governments, local government associations, academia, civil society and the private sector. The event, the first of its kind, seeks to explore areas in which local government might have untapped potential to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the concrete measures to unleash this potential.

The first day’s speakers focused on the importance of taking a regional – or even deeper – a district or commune level approach to local development in the world’s developing countries.  Panelists and presenters – including H.E. Mizengo Kayanza Peter Pinda, Prime Minister of the Republic of Tanzania; Mr. Tarayia Kores, President of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA); and Mr. Tegegnework Gettu, Assistant Secretary-General & Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) emphasized that  application of the local development approach requires that all key actors -– the government,  private sector, financial institutions,  civil society and development partners –- work together. It is important that such a multi-stakeholder approach could build on decentralization efforts in order to further strengthen local systems of governance and ensure that they are supported by the right policies and informed by data from the local level. Taken together, these essential ingredients can ensure that specific regional needs are identified and addressed.

Mr. David Morrison, UNCDF Executive Secretary, in his welcoming remarks spoke about the influence that local circumstances can have on the progress of achieving Millennium Development Goals. “A strong consensus is emerging that a new policy approach is needed, one that builds on local knowledge to tailor public policy to specific circumstances. This should allow for more effective provision of public goods that respond more appropriately to the needs of local communities,” said Mr. Morrison. He added that such an approach would help guide decision-makers to “harness local potential and exploit opportunities for economic diversification and development.” 

The first plenary session “Localizing the MDGs: The Global Context” showed that while development needs are locally specific, they are also often cross-sectoral. “A flexible, deliberate policy approach” is required to foster local development and accelerate world poorest countries’ progress towards the MDGs, speakers said.

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Contact Information

Government of Uganda: Mr. Patrick Mutabwire
Eng. Paul Kasule-Mukasa

UNCDF: Ms. Chiara Pace
+256 (0) 78 98 84 581

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