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MDG advocacy in elections

Jun 17, 2009

To inspire citizens for realising development goals, UN Millennium Campaign’s toolkit Campaigning for the MDGs: Making Votes and Voices Count in Elections outlines practical strategies for advocacy during the electoral process. It is designed to guide political parties and activists in carrying out an effective campaign.

Campaigning for the MDGs: Making Votes and Voices Count in Elections

Publisher: UN Millennium Campaign, 2009

In developing countries, the MDGs touch very directly on the lives of many voters. These goals are bread-and-butter issues that have mass appeal.

MDG campaign toolkit

Since the goals require governments and politicians to be accountable for service delivery and other actions, they can be viewed through a human rights lens, as the basic entitlements of all people.

The book is mainly intended, for what may be the first time, to draw together the different elements required to plan and carry out an MDG campaign during an election. Election campaigns can be crowded and competitive—with candidates and parties, with issues, and with the demands of voters. In the political to and fro, the MDGs offer a readymade platform to connect with constituents, and define concrete political and policy goals.

An overarching theme is that advocacy is most successful when it convinces people outside the campaign to take action—to vote, for example, or to support the passage of new legislation.

Candidates for local office, who are on the frontlines of delivering development in many countries, can use the goals to put pressure on national officials, including those in their own parties, and articulate citizens’ concerns from the ground up.

The MDGs can also be an avenue for reaching new constituents, including excluded groups, who tend to have the worst access to economic opportunity and basic services. The goals can serve as a platform for rallying the joint efforts of people already active on individual goals. They can help forge new political alliances by tapping into commonalities among youth and women’s groups, religious organizations, trade unions, the private sector, NGO activists, journalists and so on.

The book’s chapters are organized, approximately, around the before, during and after phases of a typical election.

Chapters I and II highlight pre-election advocacy planning and strategizing that some basic assessments of political trends and voting patterns before an MDG campaign kicks off, including.

Chapter III and IV move deeper into campaigning during the election itself, beginning with an elaboration of advocacy techniques and outreach to three major election players: political candidates and parties, voters and media.

Chapter V sketches ways to maintain advocacy momentum after the election is over. Chapter VI, primarily for political candidates and parties, discusses some of the benefits of including the MDGs in election campaigns. It features details on how to use the goals during the campaign and once in office.

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