Establish the main structures associated with the production of the HDR. These include management structures, the core national or regional report team (the HDR team) and internal partnership and consultative mechanisms (table 1). Though the names of the specific entities may vary, these types of structures have been used in most HDR processes. It will be up to the lead institution, the HDR team, the steering committee, or some other entity that has been assigned executive authority to determine the precise mechanisms that are the most appropriate in a given context.
Table 1: Organogram of the HDR Team and Related Structures
Core national or regional report team
Internal partnership and consultative mechanisms
a. After deliberation with national and regional counterparts and other key constituencies, establish management structures.
Draw up terms of reference for each of the entities that are to be created.
Regional HDRs are usually compiled based on research and analysis conducted by UNDP and external experts. As in the case of national HDRs, background papers may be published separately, but experience suggests that the text of the reports should be crafted by or through internal regional teams to ensure consistency with the objectives of the Regional Bureaux or Regional Centre.
The identity of the lead institution in a national HDR process will depend on the demands imposed by the country context. Three types of arrangements are described below. The principle of local ownership assumes that national actors must be key drivers in the HDR process. Thus, no matter which solution is adopted, it is important that local actors be assured a voice at every step.
A mixed arrangement may prove effective in certain situations. Thus, in the case of Youth in Turkey, the 2008 HDR in Turkey, the Government was not particularly involved initially, though it was kept informed, but did eventually become an active participant in the follow-up thanks to a powerful media campaign.
The success of the HDR product depends to a large extent on the participants in the HDR process and, especially, the capacity of the core HDR team to interpret local conditions in terms of human development concepts and principles and to recognize the link between issues in human development and social and economic progress.
For this reason and because participation is a key to establishing collective ownership of the HDR process, the HDR community should be wide-ranging and inclusive. The goal should be to provide a platform to engage with the diverse perspectives and concerns of all stakeholders and with practical alternatives to solving development problems and to push the frontiers of thinking on development at the national or regional level. Dialogue is essential in this process. An HDR should reflect a healthy exchange of outlooks and promote constructive debate.
It is therefore important to ensure that the members of the core HDR team and the participants in the related structures share a commitment to the open-minded, in-depth discussion of various perspectives that may be starkly different and may sometimes be held in opposition to prevailing or majority opinion. While an HDR may reflect a consensus among stakeholders on many issues, a report should not necessarily be a consensus document in which all the stakeholders have been obliged to align their various positions. Balanced analysis that is sound, solution oriented and based on good, current data is the best argument against critics, including those who fear innovation.
An HDR achieves national or regional ownership because it is country or region based, because it draws on local development actors and capabilities and because it is the culmination of inclusive consultations among stakeholders of all stripes. National or regional ownership and wide participation help ensure that an HDR responds to local needs and expectations. It implies a commitment to broaden dialogue encompassing diverse perspectives. A report rooted in national perspectives inspires trust in the HDR as a source of policies focused on development alternatives.
Whether one is undertaking consultations on the theme of the report, constituting a group of technical advisors, reviewers, or readers, inviting contributions in drafting the report, seeking financing, or surveying the opinions of focus groups or the public at large, every effort should be made to represent diverse interests and viewpoints and a large swath of sectoral and institutional affiliations, including elements of the target audience of the report. Participation should also be characterized by gender balance and balance across population groups and geographical areas within the national or regional community.
For these reasons, participation, understood broadly, should be considered an ongoing focus across all phases of an HDR process, including in reviewing particular aspects of the report or completed drafts. Regular training exercises, public meetings and consultations, workshops, retreats, round tables, brainstorming sessions, participatory information-gathering initiatives, the establishment of social media outlets and networks, and the publication of regular newsletters to update partners and stakeholders on the state of the HDR process are among the many schemes that may help promote broad-based participation and engagement in the report and the process. Such initiatives support naturally the effective media and communications strategy that should be part of the HDR process. Indeed, participation and advocacy go hand in hand and appear as elements in each of the modules and from beginning to end of the HDR process.
Likewise, the feedback provided by stakeholders through such forums is essential in defining the focus and messages of the report. The HDR must be for and of the people of the country or region. The effectiveness of an HDR is reduced if it is seen as an internal UNDP document setting out internal positions or if it is driven by a donor agenda or a group agenda external to the needs of the country or region. UNDP and the government should be considered crucial partners, but the HDR process should be impartial. Impartiality also has the advantage of allowing stakeholders the freedom to nuance their endorsement of key messages, thus additionally promoting committed debate. Because a major feature of any advocacy strategy should be meaningful engagement with as wide an external audience as possible, especially people who are able to influence policies, credibility and technical soundness should be a main goal.
Many core HDR teams have undertaken innovative initiatives to ensure broad participation and national ownership. A few relevant examples include the effort of the Kosovo team for the 2002 national HDR to include representation from various ethnic communities. Human Development Report 2005: Chhattisgarh, a subnational HDR in India, demonstrates how to use a participatory methodology as a foundation for the entire HDR process. Depending on the resources available and the size of the stakeholder population, participation might involve only a few workshops with key experts and representatives of relevant groups, or it might involve extensive consultations with dozens of governmental and non-governmental organizations and thousands of people. A national HDR in Colombia provides an example of the latter approach.
The terms of reference for the steering committee should define milestones for the committee’s work. These milestones might cover the following:
(i) the periodicity of committee meetings and the circumstances under which the committee might hold special meetings (dispute resolution, unexpected process bottlenecks, issues with the appropriateness of the consultation process, and so on);
(ii) the responsibilities of the committee in approving or determining the selection of the HDR team, the outline of the report, the overall timeline and work plan, and the consultation process;
(iii) the committee’s responsibilities in the review of the initial findings of the report and the first draft;
(iv) the authority of the committee over decisions on additional work;
(v) the responsibilities of the committee in approving the final draft; and
(vi) the responsibilities of the committee in defining the distribution strategy and the advocacy strategy.
b. In cooperation with the steering committee, establish the core national or regional HDR team to be responsible for drafting the report.
The HDR team will include some or all of the following:
c. After deliberation with national and regional counterparts and other key constituencies, as well as the internal management structures, establish internal partnership and consultative mechanisms.
Draw up terms of reference for each of the entities that are to be created. These mechanisms may include some or all of the following: