Global Resources

National MDG implementation: lessons for the SDG era

Author: Moizza Binat Sarwar
Publisher: Overseas Development Institute
Publication Date: Nov 2015

How well did countries around the world do in realising the ambitions of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and what lessons can be learned as we transition into the post-2015 era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? This working paper discusses the implementation of the MDGs in Nigeria as one of a number of case studies, the others being Mexico, Indonesia, Liberia, and Turkey. The key messages are that some countries suffered due to the late adoption of the initiative domestically, but when they did engage, it was institution building, national plans, and international leadership that enabled progress. This is what needs to happen again, but earlier in the process.

The working paper notes that in Nigeria it wasn’t until around 2010 that serious commitments toward achieving the MDGs began to be realised, and that this was supported by the significant debt relief the country negotiated with the group of creditor countries known as the Paris Group. It was only in 2012 however that a cross-government committee began meeting each quarter to discuss progress, and inadequate data collection and inefficient use of investment meant that Nigeria recorded a gross-underachievement of the MDGs. Although progress has been made in some areas, notably in improving gender disparities in educational enrolment, it remains unclear how much advance would have occurred anyway, without the MDG process.