During 2024, UNDP launched four working groups to identify concrete tools that can help local governments achieve the 2030 Agenda at local level.

Each working group will tackle critical challenges of our time, such how to innovate local public policies with limited resources, how to create better jobs and income to take people out of poverty, how to finance innovation, how to visualize it and communicate to citizens and how to make it possible through procurement.

Innovating local public policy – how to do it?

Let´s start with the most complicated question of all: how can we really innovate local policy-making?

We know that this is not a universal question, and each local context is different. Resistance to change is embedded in public administration, and most innovation fails because of it. But we are not to be discouraged and, together with other dedicated public servants, we can identify the questions that we need to ask as well as some answers that can help us to make innovation possible, effective, and sustainable at the local level.

The working groups

1. Cities creating livelihoods

A lot of innovation is happening around the role of municipalities or regional governments, to correct market inefficiencies and provide services that can take people out of poverty. Cities care about the most vulnerable, and this group wants to bring concrete examples of how local governments can generate not only employment, but also jobs that can make people afford the increasing cost of living.

2. Financing innovation, opening doors

We cannot talk about innovation without considering how to pay for it. Including counting with the minimum human capital needed to start even thinking about it. The group will be facilitated by FMDV, the Global Fund for the development of cities, and the final output will be a toolbox containing resources to access funding to facilitate SDG local action.

3. Visualizing innovation in cities

Explaining innovation to citizens is a very difficult thing to do, but it is essential to reach out when this innovation has a direct effect on service delivery in the city. Many cities are designing data platforms to help citizens get involved in the design of public services. Involving users in running public services is a trend that no city can ignore, but many are finding difficulties in making the right choices about how to visualize data, that is key to communicate what the city is doing and recreating trust. This group will present some of the work that UNDP is doing with partners and offer some sensible solutions that can apply to challenging contests when local governments do not have a lot of resources or capacities but a will to keep innovating city management.

4. Innovating procurement for public services: procurement as an instrument for inclusion, sustainability and efficiency

Finally, we need to look at the “backbone” of all public action: procurement. UNDP has accumulated 50 years of experience in providing local governments with services, human resources, construction, goods and advice about how to make choices that are sustainable in time and effective even in very fragile or conflict situations. Many public administrations operate services through contracts with external providers. Choosing the best one is never easy, and failing service provision always takes its toll. Mayors can lose an election for failing to procure proposed innovations. But procurement also has an enormous potential to change the way things are, address inequalities, listen to the users and introduce other principles beyond the “value for money”. Through collaborative endeavors and knowledge exchange, UNDP aims to empower local governments globally to embrace innovation and expedite progress towards the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda.

Participation in the working groups is by invitation only. If you are interested in contributing, please contact UNDP Local Action via email at info @