3.5 Implementing Long-Term Follow-up

Follow-up represents a continuation of the advocacy effort, impact monitoring and influence assessment over the long term (table 5). The goal is to maintain the focus on development and to provide a solid foundation for relevant policies and practical programmes and projects in the months and years ahead.

Elements in long-term follow-up
Shape and implement a follow-up strategy by enlisting institutions involved in the HDR Maintain the communities of practice and knowledge networks on the dedicated website Institutionalize the collection of data on the issues raised in the HDR Be alert to join with the government and stakeholders in initiatives addressing the issues Produce new reports at regular intervals; include updates on past HDRs Regularly report on impact monitoring and follow-up to UNDP to nourish the feedback loop
  1. In shaping and implementing a follow-up strategy, enlist the institutions that have contributed to the content of the HDR.
    The Philippines represents a successful approach based on a human development network.
  2. Maintain the communities of practice and the knowledge networks on the dedicated website so as to stay up to date on the theme and issues, including technical issues, and to manage new knowledge.
  3. Collaborate with statistical users and producers to identify methods and approaches to institutionalize the collection of data on the sorts of indicators and levels of disaggregation that will be needed to monitor progress in the country in the various areas of human development, including development disparities across population groups.
    Human Development Report 2005: Chhattisgarh, in India, provides a good example.
    By monitoring and regularly publishing data on indicators to gauge the impact of policies and track progress in socio-economic development, the HDRs help focus attention on the achievement of national and international development targets such as the Millennium Development Goals.
    The UNDP Country Office, Regional Bureau, or Regional Centre and other stakeholders should therefore systematically review the impact of all a country’s or region’s reports, as well as the global HDRs, on policy and the national or regional development agenda and the contributions of these reports to progress towards global development targets, including the Millennium Development Goals. Convene 6- and 12-month meetings of the steering committee and other stakeholders to review impacts and progress in addressing the report themes and related issues.
  4. Remain alert to join with the government, non-governmental actors and other stakeholders whenever opportunities arise to implement the report recommendations or to affect other initiatives related to the report themes and issues.
  5. Asia and the Pacific, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Latvia, Mongolia and Thailand offer good examples of follow-up strategies that have led to engagement with governments and other actors in significant efforts to implement HDR recommendations or undertake other relevant responses.
  6. Placing all aspects of human development at the centre of national policy debates requires a high-quality product produced at regular intervals after an adequate period of preparation./>
    A cycle of one or two years should become the norm for the production of HDRs. Include updates on progress in realizing the recommendations of past HDRs. The contribution of the HDRs to government policy in Chile has been possible especially because of the regularity of the reports. Guatemala represents an example of the cumulative impact of the regular publication of reports. India has been prolific in producing subnational HDRs.
  7. Regularly report all results of impact monitoring, influence assessment and long-term follow-up to UNDP.
    UNDP can thus ensure that these results resonate in subsequent consultations with national and regional stakeholders locally and elsewhere, as well as in UNDP country programmes of cooperation. Regular reporting to UNDP thereby helps nourish the HDR-UNDP feedback loop (box 1).

The national and regional HDRs are central elements in global UNDP policy dialogue and advocacy. Thus, especially through the Human Development Report Office, UNDP analyses national and regional HDRs for innovations, good practices and initiatives that might be replicated and then feeds the results of these analyses back into various UNDP policy and advocacy initiatives, including subsequent HDR processes.

UNDP Country Offices, Regional Bureaux and Regional Centres should therefore share their experiences in the HDR process through regional discussions, UNDP and partner conferences, the global UNDP network, staff secondment or any other reasonable, useful means. In this way, the initiatives of other UNDP Country Offices, Regional Bureaux, Regional Centres and national, regional and international partners may benefit from the accumulation of examples of good practice and lessons learned, and contributors to subsequent HDRs may be offered a more solid foundation for impact monitoring across options, strategies and interventions.

The HDRs are likewise core components of the profiles of UNDP Country Offices, Regional Bureaux and Regional Centres. Indeed, they are used as evidence in the Assessments of Development Results, which are independent country-level evaluations produced by the UNDP Evaluation Office to assess the relevance and strategic positioning of UNDP’s support to a country’s development. The purpose of these evaluations is to advance organizational accountability and learning and strengthen the effectiveness of UNDP plans and programmes.

They also frequently figure prominently in initiatives on impact monitoring, UNDP programme and financing plans, the results-based management framework, resource mobilization campaigns and so on.

At all stages of HDR preparation, beginning with the identification of the theme, UNDP actively consults with the United Nations system on the specific contributions the reports can make to the common purposes defined in the Millennium Declaration, the Common Country Assessments, the country-specific United Nations Development Assistance Framework and the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers.

Although the national and regional HDRs are not specifically designed to guide United Nations cooperation programmes, they are instruments in the establishment of strategic partnerships. In particular, there are two key mutually reinforcing links among these HDRs, the Common Country Assessments and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, as follows:

  • The national and regional HDR analyses and the indicators used in the reports provide critical inputs for the preparation of the Common Country Assessments and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework.
  • The priorities set out in the Common Country Assessments and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework provide the contributors to subsequent national and regional HDRs with a solid foundation for impact monitoring across options, strategies and interventions.

UNDP also uses the national, regional and global HDRs as tools in its relations with non-governmental organizations and civil society, particularly in its role in building analytical and advocacy capacity and as a partner in strategic analysis that responds to the development needs of countries. The Arab Knowledge Report process is an example.

For these reasons, the participatory nature of the HDR process represents a major opportunity for HDR contributors to influence planning and project implementation across the United Nations system. The analysis and policy recommendations provided in the national and regional HDRs can contribute to the analytical underpinnings of the operational programmes of UNDP and other development partners.

Country Offices should therefore draw fully on national HDR data and analysis in preparing their results-oriented annual reports and in contributing to Common Country Assessments and the country-specific United Nations Development Assistance Framework.

To ensure appropriate synergy between the national and regional HDRs and the planning and project processes of UNDP and other United Nations organizations, the members of the HDR teams and other participants in national and regional human development networks should be associated in a consultative capacity with UNDP and other United Nations organizations. Such coordination might be explored, for example, through national or regional programmes benefiting from international cooperation. In return, these programmes could provide substantive support to national and regional HDR processes by participating in human development initiatives, statistical assessments and policy analysis.

Clearly, the UNDP feedback loop initiated by the publication of a national or regional HDR leads back, ultimately, also to the UNDP input for the preparation of new HDRs.