Participatory Local Development

 Participatory Local Development photo
Photo: Harrie va de Westelaken

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can only happen through action at the local level - in villages and towns, provinces and regions. Local actors - community leaders, local government officials, civil society activists, farmers and entrepreneurs - know best what does and does not work within their communities and they should have the voice and support they need to work their way towards a better quality of life. At the same time, local development should be embedded in the national development process.

In supporting MDG localization - translating national MDGs so that they are relevant, applicable and attainable at the local level - UNDP recognizes the key role of subnational and local governments in putting plans into action and keeping national governments in touch with people's needs, progress made and challenges ahead. As such, the organization helps develop the capacities of local governments to formulate, plan, monitor and implement participatory local development plans, working together with civil society and other local organizations. UNDP also promotes efforts to include marginalized groups and communities whose voices are too often unheard.

UNDP also works with national governments to prepare reliable statistics on poverty and MDGs disaggregated by region and to provide policy advice on, for example, how to develop and implement fiscal transfer schemes and socio-economic policies that would benefit the poorest regions.

Within many countries, some regions lag far behind others for reasons such as their geography, social exclusion, conflict or natural disaster. For these regions, blanket national economic and social policies to promote development are not enough. This is why UNDP works within specific areas with the local governments supporting programmes that provide small businesses with skills training and access to microcredit and farmers with agricultural extension services, connecting smaller farmers with large exporters.

UNDP partners with various organizations like United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), UN-Habitat, Netherlands Development Organisation SNV and Action Aid to implement various pilot projects at the local level.