The outcome document of the 2005 United Nations World Summit called on countries to prepare national development strategies, taking into account the international development goals agreed in the various United Nations Summits and Conferences of the past two decades. In order to assist countries in this task, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) commissioned six notes for policy-makers and policy-shapers both in the government and civil society, in major and interconnected areas relevant to the formulation of national development strategies: macroeconomic and growth policy, trade policy, investment and technology policy, financing development, social policy and state-owned enterprise reform. The preparation of the notes received generous funding in part from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Colleagues from UNDP also provided helpful suggestions for and comments on the notes.
The policy notes, authored by experts in these fields, draw on the experience and dialogues of the United Nations in the economic and social areas, complemented by outside knowledge. The notes have been reviewed by Professor Joseph Stiglitz and other distinguished academics as well as by development specialists from United Nations entities. The notes provide concrete suggestions on the means to achieve at the national level, the internationally-agreed development goals synthesized in the United Nations Development Agenda. The policy notes are intended to provide those at the country level who shape and set policies, with a range of possible alternatives to the standard policy solutions that have prevailed over the past two decades, rather than to prescribe any single course of action. The notes serve to help countries take advantage of and expand their policy space - their effective room for maneuver in formulating and integrating national economic, social, and environmental policies.
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An online discussion forum containing available translations of the notes is also available.