Piecing together the MDG puzzle: domestic policy, government spending and performance

Working and discussion papers
November 2015
Paula Lucci, Amina Khan and Chris Hoy
With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) now agreed, and attention turning to their implementation, this paper assesses the influence and role played by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in setting policy priorities at a domestic level.

Policy-makers in most of the developing countries surveyed report that the MDGs were influential in setting priorities domestically. Analysis of the education and health sectors suggests these statements are not merely tokenistic as countries reporting high influence saw increases in budget allocations.

However while many countries experienced increases in government spending in social sectors over the MDG period, the majority still spend less than the recommended international benchmarks. Significant increases in government allocations will therefore be required to match the ambition of the SDGs.

Recommendations for the SDG period include ensuring better data on domestic use of targets, government spending and performance are available to better assess their influence over the next 15 years and ensure the 'leave no one behind' agenda will be fulfilled.