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Chr. Michelsen Institute United Nations Development Programme

Unleashing capacities to achieve the MDGs: a summary note

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) / Chr. Michelsen Institute

1-3 May 2005

This year's Bergen seminar, held 1-3 May 2005 and jointly organised by UNDP's Democratic Governance Group and the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Norway, brought together representatives from developing country governments, the donor community, research institutions, CSOs and the UN family to examine the question of developing capacities to achieve the MDGs. The seminar provides a forum both for identifying responses to key capacity constraints hindering effective delivery at the country level and for enriching solutions that countries and their development partners are elaborating to overcome constraints. Presentations, papers, and pictures are now available online at
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With the Millennium Declaration (2000) the world community established a global agenda for peace, security, poverty eradication, democratic governance and human rights. Derived from the Millennium Declaration the eight interconnected and mutually reinforcing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aim to tackle the various dimensions of poverty, disease and social exclusion. The deadline for achieving these goals is 2015. Not only will this require a massive increase in official development assistance (ODA) and domestic resources, but it will also demand a review of national strategies for the scaling up of capacity development initiatives. In an effort to inform the latter, UNDP and Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) co-hosted the seminar “Unleashing capacities to achieve the MDGs” 1-3 May 2005 in Bergen, Norway. The aim of the seminar was to examine capacity constraints in the work towards attaining the MDGs, and consider how they can be overcome.

This seminar report presents the key points emerging from the seminar deliberations. Section 2, outlines the relationship between capacity, governance and aid, based on presentations and background papers to the conference and the discussion they engendered at the seminar (Oslo Governance Centre). Section 3 identifies the main bottlenecks for capacity development, and reviews strategies to overcome them. These emerged from group work the participants undertook during the seminar. Section 4 indicates priority areas identified by participants for future focusing of capacity development efforts. Finally, section 5 offers concluding remarks.

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