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Ownership, leadership and transformation: can we do better for capacity development?

Carlos Lopes and Thomas Theisohn


Executive summary


This executive summary has been posted with the permission of Thomas Theisohn at the UNDP's New York office.
The book can be ordered from Earthscan Publications, London.
[Download executive summary - 167Kb ~ 1 min (30 pages)]     [ Share with a friend  ]


As this book goes to press, we have about 12 years to reach or miss the targets set in the Millennium Declaration and the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These targets represent promises that every country in the world have already pledged to keep. The Monterrey Consensus shows how those promises can be kept: through a new partnership that imposes mutual obligations on developed and developing countries.

The overall success or failure of this new global partnership will hinge on the commitments of rich countries to help poorer counterparts who are undertaking good faith economic, political and social reforms. The success of the MDGs also depends on their being translated into nationally owned priorities and targets, and adapted to the particular local conditions. National ownership means that a country needs to decide for itself the difficult questions of how to allocate scarce resources – choosing, for instance, whether girls’ education should be a bigger budget priority than clean water. If we want to succeed, this new global partnership needs to be an honest compact to empower people, to build and sustain institutions with a solid level of performance, and to create space for vibrant civic engagement and societies to shape and pursue their own destiny.

For that reason, this research project has focused on the question of capacity development. This volume, the third book in the series, explores the operational implications, from the standpoint of capacity development, for dealing with longstanding development dilemmas. It aims to provide additional impetus to the current drive for harmonization of donor practices as convergence around country priorities, processes and systems. It also addresses head on some of the most problematic issues related to incentives, such as compensation schemes, project implementation units, brain drain and corruption. I am hopeful that this book will prove useful to decision makers and development practitioners alike, in particular in developing countries, and inspire new ways to care for the fertile ground on which local ownership and capacity grow.

Mark Malloch Brown
United Nations Development Programme

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