Comments on draft outline of lit review on democratic governance & MDG achievement

OCG is working on a few papers for both Rio+20 and post-2015. One of them is this one (ODI-Outline-Democratic-Governance-and-MDGs-23-May-2012 which has been commissioned to ODI.

Here are my comments.

1. Methodology: I am not sure I did  understand the proposed methodology, In the opening paragraph it argues for evidence based contributions but it is not clear to me where are we doing this. Section IV seems to be the place where we will find be able to find this stuff but it it not entirely clear how or what are the tools we will be using to do this.

2. I am not sure why the concept of participation is not part of the study. While we openly mention human rights, transparency and accountability we seem to have left participation out of the equation. In my view, participation in the overall MDG process by stakeholders is key for the achievement of the targets. Giving voice to people and stakeholders in decision making processes AND the implementation of policies and programmes is one way that can ensure more effectiveness in delivery as well as more transparency and accountability. Actually, one of the key hypothesis we could check/text here is if participation of non-state actors has a positive effect on MDG achievement. Seems to me also that we are using the work “democracy” as a proxy for participation

3. If we focus on participation then we must also include the “soft” part of “service delivery”, that is the role of voice and communications in the MDG process. Here access to information, new technologies and the institutional mechanisms that need to be developed to capture voice of stakeholders, etc. need to be tackled to have a comprehensive approach.

4. We also need to probably highlight not only “service delivery” but “pro-poor” service delivery (poor here understood in the socio-economic and political sense). In the end, governments must not only deliver services but specifically focus on providing the most vulnerable populations with the basic services and information and make them part of the overall process. Most government however do not take such approach (ie, pro-poor) and rather work on the the principle of trickle down implementation (that is, the services will eventually reach the poor -but then never really do). We have done some work on pro-poor service delivery in the past in collaboration with India. I can share some of the stuff we have if you think it will help. We of course include here the use of ICTs in the delivery of services following the example of India, Brazil and other emerging economies that are successfully doing pro-poor service delivery. ICTs are not JUST tools. They can indeed CHANGE how  services are delivered..

5. I think we should think about having some sort of framework for section 2. It is now called reflections but we should probably make this a bit stronger, be a bit more ambitious  and try to come up with an analytical framework.

6. I am surprised that we do not have MDG 1 in the analysis. Given the relevance UNDP is giving to inclusive growth and inequality I thinks this is a  must. On the other hand, we as UNDP  do little to nothing on MDG 2.

7. If we are doing political economy analysis for some of the stuff then I also suggest we include political economy analysis for communication. There are several book and cases studies on this.

All for now.

Cheers, Raúl

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