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HARBINGERS OF CHANGE
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International financial institutions should put the millennium development goals at the centre of their analytical, advisory and financing efforts for every developing country. For each poverty reduction strategy paper, joint assessments by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank should indicate whether the proposed strategy is likely to achieve the goals — and if not, what changes are needed to do so.

The PRSPs would then provide an occasion for these institutions to consider not only the domestic policy reforms needed to strengthen institutions, improve economic governance and increase government support, but also the steps needed from the international community: increased donor assistance (including more extensive debt relief), better access to foreign markets for the country’s exports, greater technology transfers and related actions pursued in partnership with the country...

Regional development banks also have a major role in putting the goals at the centre of their country strategies and in streamlining their lending operations and technical cooperation efforts. They are in a unique position to finance regional public goods and encourage regional integration and cooperation...

Because most donors have agreed, in principle, to align their programmes with PRSPs, it is even more important that these documents highlight the support needed to achieve the goals — the additional donor resources and debt relief, the increased access to markets and technology, and so on.

All rich countries should set targets for their repeated commitments to improving aid, trade and debt relief for poor countries. They should also be encouraged to prepare their own world poverty reduction assessments and strategies, setting bold targets in line with these commitments.

United Nations agencies have a vital role in helping countries meet the millennium development goals, especially through expert assistance in designing and implementing development programmes...The UN system also has a global role to play. It is mobilizing to: monitor progress globally, track progress nationally, identify key obstacles to the goals and solutions, engage broad segments of society around the world through the millennium campaign...One significant area of progress over the past decade has been the growing influence of local, national and global civil society organizations and networks in driving policy change, as with debt relief. Non-governmental organizations, community organizations, professional associations and other civil society groups are regularly called on to help design and implement poverty reduction strategies...

These new approaches reflect the three roles of civil society: as participants in the design of strategies, as service providers through community organizations and national NGOs and as watchdogs to ensure government fulfilment of commitments. But in many countries these roles are taking root only gradually, with governments continuing to dominate decision making and implementation. By insisting on transparent processes to develop national strategies for the millennium development goals, bilateral and multilateral institutions can help civil society gain a stronger foothold in policy making and implementation...

The millennium development compact recommends the creation of several international forums for technological innovation. Some such forums already exist, but they must be supported with greater resources — and others must be created. These forums will help set priorities for research and development to meet the technological needs of poor countries...

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