Knowledge Management

Public Policies and Social Spending for Children

Children´s Rights

Child Friendly Municipalities Initiative

Information Systems and Statistics


Municipal Development Agendas

© UNICEF/DR/2004/Gonzalez

Strategic Plans or Municipal Development Agendas: Promoting a Culture of Participative Municipal Planning.

Since the early 1990s and in co-ordination with the Dominican Municipal League, UNICEF has been investing in local development, encouraging and supporting the country’s municipalities. This became more systematic in 1997, through the Child Friendly Municipalities Initiative, which has supported the institutional strengthening of local government with a view that children are subjects of their rights, and so that they put children and adolescents at the centre of the municipal agenda.

We, at UNICEF, are convinced that the achievement of sustainable Human Development is able to take place through decentralisation of public policies and through the local development of social policies that prioritise effective investment in guaranteeing children’s and adolescent´s rights.
One of the activities we have encouraged and supported in order to ensure this children’s rights-centred institutional strengthening has been the construction of a culture of municipal planning, through participative diagnostic exercises and the formulation of municipal plans. This way, people who take part in the process at local level are able to become leaders of their community’s development process.

This contribution has ranged from simple to complex, according to each municipality’s particular circumstances and the authorities’ political will. It started with the promotion and support for producing annual plans for children as a first step in the creation of this culture of planning, and for the issue of children to establish a foothold in the municipal government administration in a structured and systematic manner.

These basic plans consisted of planning a series of activities with a calendar and budget. These activities included: children’s rights training for officials, technicians, children and adolescents; training in municipal administration, in the role of the local Mayor; organising campaigns for late birth registration of boys and girls, setting up socio-cultural activity groups for children, constructing children’s playgrounds and pedestrian bridges, and more.

Several municipalities have successfully drawn up their Strategic Plans for Development or Municipal Development Agendas (each has named it their way), which provide longer-term planning, thinking between five and fifteen years ahead, and putting together with the participation of several social institutions, based on a participative local diagnostic exercise.

© UNICEF/DR/2006/Gonzalez
Local Authorities and community members discuss priorities for their Municipality’s Development Agenda

Between 1997-2001, twelve municipalities (Santiago, Villa Tapia, Samaná, Duvergé, Pedro Santana, Pedernales, Cristóbal and Mella (Duvergé), Yaguate, San Pedro de Macorís, Monte Plata and Bayaguana) formulated Strategic Plans for Development. As these Strategic Plans for Development defined the main development policies for the municipality, some municipalities also formulated a Social and Community Development Plan to complement the Strategic Plan.

During the last two years, several of the following nine municipalities (San Pedro de Macorís, Sabana de la Mar, Miches, Nagua, El Factor, Samaná, Jimaní, Pedernales and Villa Tapia) formulated their Municipal Development Agendas, while the rest drew up Strategic Plans, all with a rights, gender and lifecycle perspective. All these plans were based on participative municipal diagnostic exercises involving all sectors, as well as children and adolescents.

Some working instruments were designed as technical tools to help municipalities achieve this level of planning. Municipal Training Manual in the Social sphere and a Methodological Guide for Participative Diagnostic Exercises and Local Planning with a Rights, Gender and Lifecycle Perspective(Available in Spanish). Both documents are available for use by Friendly Municipalities that are interested in planning their future and have decided to contribute in attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

Publishing these materials, conducting these diagnostic exercises and drawing up Strategic Plans was made possible with funding from UNICEF’s Dominican Republic office, but the resources for implementing these plans are the responsibility of the municipalities and especially the municipal offices.






Steps towards formulating a Municipal Agenda for Children and Young People

1- Decide to draw up a local agenda with the participation of all local sectors and actors.

2- Define by consensus what the situation of children and adolescent´s rights.

3- Carry out an exercise to define priority issues.

4- Define mobilisation activities (win allies, identify leadership, mobilisation of local resources).

5- Identify resources and responsibilities.

6- Mobilise actors, opinions and willingness to participate.

7- Set up a local network with working groups.

8- Mobilise external resources.

9- Define and implement activities.

10- Conduct periodic evaluations and engage in a process of feedback.




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