To accelerate the progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it is necessary to localize the MDGs - to translate the national goals into goals that are relevant, applicable and attainable at the local level. MDGs need to be meaningful for people living in these communities, so that they have ownership of their development plans, can hold their governments accountable and are involved in local action to achieve these goals.
Local governments need to lead MDG-based local planning and implementation involving their communities. National averages on MDGs often mask differences in living standards across regions and communities in a country, so localizing MDGs allows local governments to keep national governments informed of the specific needs of their regions or localities. In middle-income countries, MDG localization helps draw attention to pockets of poverty, so that basic services can be improved in the underdeveloped areas identified.
Working together with its partners - Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), UN-Habitat and United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), UNDP advocates for and raises awareness of MDGs at the community level. The aim of this work is to help local governments, civil society and other organizations better contribute to drawing up and implementing MDG-based local plans. UNDP focuses on promoting the voices of marginalized people while developing the capacities of local governments to formulate, implement and monitor MDG plans. This involves organizing consultations with different stakeholders to ensure that the MDG plans drawn up focus on the priorities communities themselves identify, like access to water, education and health.
In Niger, for example, as a result of a UNDP-SNV partnership project, communities now understand how MDGs translate to their everyday lives. Working together with mayors of districts Niamey-5, Damargaram-Takaya and Tahoua-1, they designed a new system for local revenue collection and rehabilitated a school and a hospital. In Brazil, UNDP is developing the capacities of government, civil society and the public to monitor social expenditures to ensure that local priorities are financed.
UNDP aims to support replication of successful local initiatives in other communities, expanding them to larger geographical areas within countries.