From Global Programme (as in GPIV) to Global Framework (GPV?)

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I have been involved in discussions and meetings related to the design of the new Global Programme for the new BDP, a.k.a BPPS. The Executive Board has approved 60 million for the new GP (for the period 2014-2017) but now the bureau needs to prepare a proposal which presents WHAT  exactly are the areas of work it is planning to undertake. The new GP is expected to be approved by the ExB in January.

There is however a shift in the way we think about the GP, thanks in part to the foretold death of the practices.

For starters, it is not a programme any more but rather a framework.  This means that the new GF (not GP anymore!) needs to fit the new overall approach UNDP is taking and relate to regional programmes and be relevant to the work of Country Offices. It also needs to be forward looking and tackle emerging global issues that will have direct impact on developing countries. The new GP thus does not need to try and cover all issues or all the outcomes of the new new UNDP Strategic Plan but rather prioritize them, based on UNDP’s comparative advantages, and focus on a selected number  of them.   The link between position and funding is not one to one any more as advisors are expected to work together on collaborative fashion around priority issues while the focus is on issues and results not people.

BDP has been working in drafting  a new GP, a process that started before the focus area and structural changes were formally announced. Not surprisingly, the draft did not hit all of the core issues. ExO thus requested BDP to revise the draft based on the changes described above.

I was asked by DGG Directorate to draft some ideas in a couple of hours as deadlines were were tight. Below is what I submitted.

Methodological notes

  • Big ticket issues, a priority
  • Focus on the WHAT, specifically what is the value added of having a global framework
  • Do not try to cover everything we do. Prioritize
  • Global does not mean we only deal issues at the global level (so we are not stuck with outcome 7)
  • Global framework should influence regional and country work, perhaps even be a beacon
  • Global does not need to cover all countries
  • Collaboration and cross-pollination among areas is key

Value added of global framework

  • Inter-regional and global work for cross-pollination of experiences and comparative knowledge (knowledge brokers)
  • Knowledge creation, dissemination and consumption while promoting innovation and innovative solutions (innovation)
  • Links with regional hubs, ears on the ground
  • Production of key knowledge products to foster innovation at the CO level
  • Potential knowledge capacity to detect emerging trends, furnish real time analytics and state of the art policy advise to COs

Governance approach

  • We have well established areas (elections, parliaments, local governance, anti-corruption, etc.) which need to continue but also have to deal relatively new emerging issues such as citizen security, access to resources vis-a-vis institutional arrangements, access to basic services by the poorest of the poor, citizen security, governance innovations and open government. We could also include here extractive industries if we can argue that the governance of them are key. All these issues are in a sense cross-cutting and could include not only most of the governance outputs but also others.
  • In this light, we could suggest a few cross-cutting areas as follows:
  1. Basic services for the most vulnerable populations. The focus here from a global framework perspective could be on the role that democratic institutions and governance play in ensuring that basic services (as defined now by UNDP which include, social, economic and “governance” services) are effectively available to the poorest sector of the population (or close to 2 billion people around the globe). While there is already a bit of research on this, UNDP’s comparative advantage could be to focus on developing countries and bring to bear the experiences of those emerging economies that have addressed this with relative success.
  2. Urban environment, growing cities. Large cities, not only mega-cities, are becoming a staple in many developing countries. Cities can be seen as “small states” in themselves and are also a locus for most of the work we do in UNDP. This is the perfect environment to bring all of our governance arsenal to bear and more from other thematic areas. Smart cities, slum management, access to local resources, local innovations and innovators, local assemblies and election, are at work here. UNDP’s comparative advantage here is to bring an integrated approach to building sustainable, smarter cities where democratic governance can make a difference (this relates to point 1 above)
  3. Participation and accountability. The emerging middle classes in close to 40 developing countries (and counting) are starting to make new (and more) demands to local and national governments on a wide variety of governance and economic issues. Recent social movements in Turkey, Brazil, Colombia, etc. demonstrate that government responsiveness is not there yet or in the best case is delayed thus reducing the trust that people have on public institutions. People are also demanding both an increased role (participation) in key decision-making processes and greater accountability from government and the private sector -in addition to transparency. This also links to open government, etc.

Note that we can also suggest that these three cross-cutting priorities are closely related and need in fact to be linked to really be effective. And each of them demands the creation of multi-disciplinary advisors who can contribute in effective fashion to each of them. Silos are broken!

Cheers, Raúl

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