At his August 2012 inauguration, Dominican Republic president Danilo Medina announced ambitious plans to increase economic growth and raise living standards—in particular by making health care more readily available, boosting literacy, and extending the school day for more than a million children. But in a country with a history of weak follow-through on policy promises and poor coordination among government institutions, fulfilling those commitments required firm political will and direction from the presidency. Medina and his chief of staff, Gustavo Montalvo, decided to use a management system created by the United Nations Development Programme’s Systems for Managing Governance (SIGOB) initiative in order to track progress on more than a hundred commitments developed in consultation with civil society groups during the campaign and transition. The SIGOB system helped ministries and agencies focus on the president’s priorities, kept the president informed on progress, and facilitated problem solving. At the end of Medina’s first term as president, the government had achieved some important successes, such as the implementation of a 911 emergency response system and expanded classroom time for most of the nation’s schoolchildren. A handful of the president’s commitments, however, had fallen behind schedule.
Blair Cameron drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in January and February 2016. Case published June 2016.