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02/05/2013

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Natalia Adler

Hi Matt,

These types of global goal-setting initiatives are rarely able to inspire or mobilize concerted action for change, particularly in everyday actions in public management at the country level (never heard government officials saying they have to change course because of the MDGs...). But the problem is not necessarily related to whether these indicators are globally or nationally agreed upon. I think the same logic applies to national goals as well... The problem is that it's just difficult to translate these outcome-level indicators into a series of operational interventions that will eventually contribute to their achievement.

As you know, Mozambique is/was developing a national planning system aimed at bringing synergies among all these plans/goals in hopes of making them more strategic, coherent and linked to the budgeting process. But making even well-designed plans and their goals operational is hard work. Plus, politics and power relations influence the extent to which these plans yield concrete results. In addition, the goal-setting agenda carries the assumption of a ‘clean slate’ often neglecting existing arrangements and commitments (to other goals), which cannot be easily brushed aside to give place to new plans/goals, whether they are agreed nationally or globally.

I personally don't have a problem with the post-2015 discussion identifying a set of 'global' indicators (e.g. child mortality being one of them). What should change are the targets, which, I agree, should be country specific/defined and focused on existing implementation issues and a realist understanding of the pace of development efforts.

I agree with you. The focus on solving problems can trigger change better than goal-setting exercises..

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