Empowering people and institutions

01 Sep 2008

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“The development community is recognizing that strengthening capacity – at the grassroot level, at the community level, and at the national level – is at the centre of the development challenge.

New Horizons - And this is why empowering people and institutions through capacity development is also at the centre of UNDP’s activities” says UNDP Administrator Kemal Derviş in the foreword of UNDP’s recently published 2008 annual report on “Capacity Development: Empowering People and Institutions”.

UNDP’s recently published 2008 annual report gives a particular emphasis on capacity development as a means for strengthening and maintaining individuals’, organizations’ and socities’ capabilities and to set and achieve their own development objectives and says “if human development is the what of the UNDP mandate, capacity development is the how”.

The report sets off by evaluating the progress achieved in the Millennium Development Goals for various countries in 2007 and the challenges developed and developing countries faced such as the financial sector-induced economic slowdown in the second half of 2007 and the threats that climate change poses.

The report provides a brief summary of how UNDP has expanded its range of partnerships especially with the private sector and how it has managed to strengthen national implementation capacities in the management of programmes, projects, procurement and human resources and UNDP’s role in the UN development system.

Capacity Development: Empowering People and Institutions stresses that the development community has come to realize that it is impossible to work on policies without at the same time working on the capacities of people, organizations and the larger community and says “without an enabling environment, efficient organization and a dynamic human resource base, countries lack the foundation to plan, implement and review their national and local development strategies”. UNDP therefore places priority on strategies that create opportunities to develop and sustain capacity at national and local levels and these include institutional reform incentives, scaling up leadership capacities, promoting education and enhancing accountability.

The report also presents examples of UNDP’s work in its four focus areas: poverty reduction and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, democratic governance, crisis prevention and recovery and finally environment and sustainable development, shares UNDP’s international experiences from several countries it works with and provides data on 2007 expenditures for each focus area.

Regarding poverty reduction efforts, the report stresses that while economic growth is essential to lifting people out of poverty, this alone is not enough and that “strengthening institutions to empower the citizens they serve is the bedrock of inclusive growth”. In this context UNDP takes the challenge of reducing poverty as an opportunity to innovate and build on models that have proven successful elsewhere while making creative use of existing local resources.

The report notes that UNDP allocates the biggest share of its resources, - 40% of its programme expenditure - to democratic governance. In this regard, UNDP aims to contribute to the building of effective states, supported and sustained by responsive institutions that make democracy deliver for the poor. In this context UNDP supports electoral processes, parliaments and decentralized local governance while promoting human rights, rule of law and access to justice.

In responding to natural disasters, UNDP works with national partners to strengthen early warning and early recovery systems. The report reminds that whether as a result of armed violence or natural disasters, crises affect women the most, exacerbating the discrimination that exists even under peaceful conditions.

Regarding its efforts to combat climate change, UNDP works to strengthen national capacity to manage the environment in a sustainable manner while ensuring adequate protection for the poor. It shares best practices and policy advice, coordinates adaptation and mitigation and champions innovative strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Capacity Development: Empowering People and Insititutions also emphasizes the importance UNDP gives to accountability, transparency, monitoring and results-based management in service delivery and finally explains UNDP resources including multilateral donors, local and regular resources and other resources. UNDP’s 2008 annual report is a solid presentation of UNDP’s all works including examples of different cases, partnerships and works conducted.

To read Capacity Development: Empowering People and Institutions, please click here.