National Planning in the Global South

Analysing New National Planning for Sustainable Development

On 25 September 2015 all 193 UN Member States committed to a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Unlike the Millennium Development Goals, which were largely top-down in planning and reflected the priorities of donor countries, the Sustainable Development Goals were created to be implemented through locally driven plans that take into account global complexity and uncertainty and yet reflect the priorities and contexts of individual UN Member States.

From previous experience of the Millennium Development Goals there is a concern that many DAC-List aid recipient countries will struggle to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals unless they develop credible and fundable plans for growing their economies that are inclusive and environmentally responsible. It is our assertion that many low-income countries across the Global South, including former heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC’s), are seeking to manage the forces of globalisation and to guide their own development through a set of processes, policies and practices that can be termed ‘New National Development Planning’.

Little is known about the processes countries have followed to produce these plans and currently there is minimal research interest. There has been insufficient systematic mapping of regional patterns and as a consequence there is little understanding of the processes leading to the New National Development Planning at either a national or global level. There is however growing evidence these plans have substantial implications for how countries respond to the global changes confronting them.  Crucial questions are emerging relating to whether new national planning produces better national ownership, accountability and ultimately better development outcomes than the previous generations of planning.

This multi-disciplinary Strategic Network on New National Planning seeks to better understand how developing country governments  have revived national development objectives while remaining embedded in a globalising economy. A cross-disciplinary network of scholars, practitioners and policy makers has been established to analyse and gain an improved understanding of this re-emergence of National Development Planning in the Global South. The network will analyse development plans and create an analytical framework for comparing plans, a comprehensive database of the new generation of plans, detailed case studies and a comparative analysis of National Planning in the 21st Century. The network aims to make a significant contribution to reshaping the discourse on planning with the results relevant to defining and characterising key features of the new national planning.

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