Empowering the Poor - Local Governance for Poverty Reduction
by: UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
In order to better meet its own mandate to reduce poverty, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has, since 1995, come through intense and far-reaching changes. Today, it is specialized in two areas: support to decentralized public investments (through local governance) and support to small-scale private investments (through microfinance). The focus on these two areas allows UNCDF to ensure the best possible impact on poverty reduction and on building capacity of national and local stakeholders.
In local governance, UNCDF investments are meant to foster a people-centred approach, promote good governance at the national and local levels, reinforce human and institutional capacities, reduce vulnerability, and protect the environment. UNCDF activities are also geared to mobilize additional financial resources. In supporting decentralized
public investments, UNCDF pursues the global objective of poverty reduction. The main concern is to ensure better access of the poor to essential infrastructure and socio-economic services in the sectors of health and education, road transport, markets, water supply and the management of natural resources. In addition, UNCDF recognizes the need to promote participation at the local level, in order to allow local populations to identify solutions that address the local context. It is necessary to ensure the effective participation of women in the decision- making processes, decisions that will affect their daily lives and the future of their children and families. It is also important to ensure the participation of civil society as a whole and to build the capacities of local governments and local officials, so that public investments are managed in the common interest.