A team of representatives from UNCDF’s Local Development Finance For Inclusive Growth practice area met with key government officials during a trip to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and the capital city, Port Moresby, in Papua New Guinea.
The meetings mark the initiation of UNCDF’s LoOKING project in the South Pacific country. The LoOKING diagnostic is a new innovative local development policy tool that is being introduced and tested in Papua New Guinea and other countries. UNCDF is partnering with various stakeholders to launch the project.
Mr. Paul Martin, Regional Technical Advisor for UNCDF LDFP, explains: “The innovative diagnostic tool LoOKING has been developed to assist creating improved links between citizens and local and national governments at policy and budget levels. The diagnostic will address key questions related to local economic development in Papua New Guinea including in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.”
LoOKING compliments the national public financial management roadmap of Papua New Guinea as well as the peace building efforts in Bougainville through economic development. To this end, LoOKING will work closely with the Department of Finance and the National Coordinating Office for Bougainville Affairs (NCOBA). UNCDF is pleased to be able to partner with Papua New Guinea actors contributing to governments’ efforts to mitigate economic shocks that are impacting on resource-based economies.
The overall objective of LoOKING is to promote sustainable and inclusive local development by providing a well-researched foundation for evidence leading towards informed policy and programmatic budget decisions by national actors and the development partners. The specific results areas of LoOKING include:
- New policy knowledge and incentives for local development are created.
- Existing and new evidence to better inform national and subnational decisions related to local development is mainstreamed into the national and sub national planning processes.
- National capacities to undertake research and utilize the results of research are strengthened in key line ministries and subnational administrations.
The project uses three lenses that are being specifically adjusted to meet the demands and needs of Papua New Guinea, examining important areas.
First, mapping of the distribution of public expenditure and of economic and social functions across the territory of a province or district. Second, providing an assessment of the local government’s own revenue potential and existing public financial management capacities through a systematic review of public expenditure management capacity. Third, a rapid assessment of the local economy, employment, growth patterns, and capital availability that focuses upon public and private infrastructure gaps as well as identifying opportunities for growth in particular sectors. The analysis will produce policy options for local governments for strategic investments that can assist in transforming of local economies and creating more employment and opportunities for men, women and young people. The analysis will factor in risk and encourage private investments in the local economy by freeing up domestic financial resources.
Mr. Roy Trivedy, UN Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of UNDP Papua New Guinea, said, “This is an exciting new programme that has the potential to make a big contribution to national and local development. I am extremely pleased that the UN system has made this new methodology available in Papua New Guinea.”
LoOKING is working closely with the Government of Papua New Guinea and aims to begin implementation in early 2016. The project team is coordinating closely with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Port Moresby and Bougainville to develop synergies between different interventions.