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New UNDP Drive to Support Developing Country Efforts to Meet 2015 Millennium Development Goals

6 June, BALI, Indonesia— Prepared to follow-up on the commitments made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the United Nations Development Programme tonight unveiled a new initiative, a platform to help developing countries build their own capacities for sustainable development, and meet the Millennium Development Goals.

The new initiative, Capacity 2015, builds on the programme launched after the 1992 Earth Summit, Capacity 21, which has focused on implementing programmes and projects in communities throughout developing countries.

"Capacity building is the key to this process of sustainable development," according to UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown. Calling sustainable development something that has to happen at the local level, Malloch Brown said Capacity 2015 "takes our thinking a great big step forward." The new initiative, he said, is "a much profounder vision of what capacity building is," adding that, "it is not about imposing outside models of development."

With an emphasis on beefing up the ability of local communities to take charge of their own development, Malloch Brown said it was "enormously important" that the Millennium Development Goals-a set of eight targets that include a pledge by governments to reduce by half the number of people living in poverty by 2015-remain at the center of the new programme's objectives.

Malloch Brown said "real success" in the follow-up to Johannesburg lies in the partnership initiatives that can support the commitments made by governments in Johannesburg. There should not, however, be a rush to finalize a weak document. "It is better for those of us working is sustainable development that they get this right." With two important pieces in place-solid commitments and partnership-Malloch Brown said, "We can have a real architecture for sustainable development underpinned by the resources that were promised in Monterrey."

Countries have agreed, in the Bali negotiations on the implementation programme, "to significantly strengthen" support for UNDP's capacity building programmes in developing countries, "building on the experience gained from Capacity 21."

Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hassan Wirajuda said UNDP, through Capacity 2015, had strengthened its role in capacity development activities. "It is, I am convinced, only through such partnerships that the WSSD will be able to make a difference in ensuring the achievement of sustainable development objectives under Agenda 21 and the Millennium Development Goals."

According to Fevzi Aytekin, Minister of Environment for Turkey, UNDP's Capacity 21 had helped Turkey's own Local Agenda 21 programme, which has brought public institutions, local authorities and citizen groups together to address local problems.

"We believe the Capacity 2015 initiative will be a step forward," he said, " to strengthen local, national and global partnerships and synergies for achieving the goals of the 21st century."

Jordanian Princess Basma bint Talal applauded the new initiative, calling it an attempt to address the real challenges. "By launching this initiative, UNDP is taking the lead to find innovative approaches that will allow local communities to develop their own capacities."

In addition to meeting the Millennium Development Goals, UNDP expects Capacity 2015 to result in a review of national and local policies and legislation in order to eliminate bottlenecks and ensure proper incentives for local sustainable development. It hopes to support learning networks, civic engagement, and responsible local leadership, while also mobilizing resources to help communities compete successfully in a globalized world.

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24 August 2006