The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN’s global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life, as envisaged by 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We are on the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, working with governments and people on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. In line with the UN Secretary General's reform agenda and the guidance of Member States, the UNDP's new Strategic Plan (2018-2021) sets out new ways of working to deliver on UNDP's vision by helping countries to eradicate extreme poverty, supporting them to quickly modernize key sectors to work better for sustainable development, and enabling them to prevent crisis and recover faster.
The UNDP ART Initiative is a UNDP’s global project geared at harnessing the potential of territorial partnerships through a variety of modalities, such as Decentralized Cooperation, South-South and triangular cooperation. ART is therefore an entry point for international cooperation actors interested in harmonizing their respective actions in support of national and sub-national policies for sustainable and local human development. ART aims at strengthening and expanding the existing alliance between UNDP and Decentralized Cooperation partners in support of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local level. ART also seeks to strengthen the potential and role of Local and Regional Governments (LRGs) as development partners and to promote the principles of development cooperation effectiveness and in support of the localization of the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs.
Since the adoption of the 2030 agenda, UNDP has been actively supporting its implementation, in coordination with the UN system. To this end, a series of actions aimed at assisting governments in designing their efforts to achieve the SDGs have been carried out, such as MAPS missions, advocacy and capacity building actions, the strengthening of national statistical systems and the development of quality tools for integrated policy analysis. Furthermore, UNDP, through ART, has been promoting and supporting the localization of the SDGs, ensuring that the richness of partnerships and experiences effectively contributes to UNDP’s overall corporate commitment on supporting the implementation of the SDGs. For this purpose, UNDP ART has been partnering with diverse actors, including LRGs and their associations and other UN agencies to support their efforts in achieving sustainable local governance and local development
As confirmed by the UNDP, effective local governance refers to “subnational institutions, systems, and processes that provide services to citizens and through which citizens articulate their interests and needs, mediate their differences, and exercise their rights and obligations.” It is key in reducing inequalities, in enhancing relations between people and institutions, and in promoting peace in rural and urban settings. Exchanges in our societies and interaction with people, groups, companies, ideas and values are often occurring at the local level based on territorial needs and samples of how to address development challenges. In this context, local authorities have a growing framework for action that may help prevent and transform conflicts and, at the same time, enhance citizen participation.
The current COVID-19 crisis has brought us significant lessons as to the potential of digital tools to ensure business continuity, deliver services to populations, engaging with individuals and organisations and ensuring that the debates and solutions to the current challenges can be discussed and implemented effectively. COVID-19 has also raised the importance of the implementation of the Agenda 2030 from a multiparty and disciplinary approach based on local needs and civic engagement to build back better and recover.
In light of the above, UNDP ART initiative has recently hired the services of a company to expand the free software known as CONSUL (https://github.com/consul/consul ) (hereinafter referred to as ‘SDG version’) with the aim of supporting digital civic engagement for regions and cities around the 2030 Agenda and the localization of the SDGs. CONSUL is one of the most complete citizen participation tools for an open, transparent and democratic government which can be used by any person or entity. It is an open software platform released in 2014 by Madrid city council and applied later by several institutions in different countries. Cities such as Quito, Lima, New York, Praia and Paris have used the software to promote civic consultations and engagement around key issues in their urban areas. UNDP ART initiative supported its replication in Praia, Montevideo and Sucre. The software has also been recognized in 2017 with the United Nations Public Service Award (https://publicadministration.un.org/unpsa/database/Home/Winners/2018-winners/Citizen-participation-project ). The SDG version of the software serves to align digital participatory processes that can be promoted by the users (LRGs and/or individuals/organisations) to the Agenda 2030 as well as to launch or continue (as relevant) the process of localizing the SDGs in a given territory by ensuring social innovation and stakeholder and multilevel articulation.
Considering the above elements, UNDP is launching a call to select an individual consultant with the aim of supporting the application of the SDG version of the free software CONSUL by developing a user guide.