Every developing country with extreme poverty should adopt and implement a national development strategy that is ambitious enough to achieve the Goals, adapting Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers wherever they exist. Serious implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and their timelines implies a major shift in development practice. Low-income countries and their development partners now plan around modest incremental expansions of social services and infrastructure. The Millennium Project recommends instead a bold, 10-year investment framework aimed at achieving the quantitative targets set out in the Goals. Rather than strategies to “accelerate progress toward the Goals,” strategies to “achieve the Goals” are needed. The Project recommends a four-step approach:
- First, each country should map the key dimensions of extreme poverty— by region, locality, and gender—as best as possible with available data.
- Second, consistent with the poverty maps, each country should undertake a needs assessment to identify the specific public investments necessary to achieve the Goals.
- Third, each country should convert the needs assessment into a 10-year framework for action, including public investment, public management, and financing.
- Fourth, each country should elaborate a 3- to 5-year Goals-based poverty reduction strategy within the context of the 10-year framework.
Crucially, the 10-year framework and 3-to-5 year poverty reduction strategy should include a public sector management strategy—with a key focus on transparency, accountability, human rights, and results-based management. If countries already have a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, it should be revised so that it is ambitious enough to achieve the Goals. Where the Goals are already within reach and greater progress is sought, we suggest that countries adopt a “Goals-plus” strategy, with targets more ambitious than the Millennium Development Goals.
This framework should also include a clear strategy for decentralizing target-setting, decision-making, budgeting and implementation responsibilities at the level of local governments. Further, there should be a clear private sector strategy to promote economic growth and have countries “graduate” from donor assistance in the longer term.
In line with the 2002 Monterrey Consensus, the Millennium Project affirms that poverty reduction is the primary responsibility of developing countries themselves. Therefore, the Project's recommendations call for all low-income countries to increase their own resource mobilization for the Goals by devoting budget revenues to priority investments. Where domestic resources are not sufficient, donors are called on to follow through on their long-standing commitments to increase aid significantly.