A HUB FOR IDEAS, DEBATE AND RESOURCES ON HOW THE WORLD IS DOING ON INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT GOALS
The Millennium Development Goals: one last push
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been the biggest game in ‘development-town’ since 2000, helping to shape priorities for both international and national development. The result has been, on average, unprecedented progress and improvements in the quality of life across the developing world, with the MDGs providing both a motivation for progress and a yardstick for its measurement.
In the foreword to the official MDG Report 2013, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon calls the goals ‘the most successful global anti-poverty push in history’. Ambitious and wide-ranging achievements have included halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty since 1990, adding more than two billion people to those with improved access to drinking water, a 25% reduction in mortality rates from malaria, and a reduced debt burden for developing countries. More limited progress on other MDG targets now needs urgent attention, with progress lagging behind on environmental sustainability, child and maternal survival, sanitation, HIV prevention, universal primary education and gender equality. What’s more, there is a sense that there has been little or no progress on key areas that were not covered by the MDGs, including equity, employment, and governance.
With just over two years to go until the deadline for the goals, and with plans already well underway for the post-2015 framework, major efforts are being made to intensify progress on the MDGs. Next week’s UN General Assembly Special Event on the MDGs and its side events will focus on this last big push. Building on a report issued earlier this year, A Life of Dignity for All, the draft outcome document for this event highlights five areas that are crucial to accelerate progress:
1. targeting progress on the MDGs in areas that are most off-track
2. emphasising accessibility for the most vulnerable
3. sustaining momentum
4. creating approaches that have cross-cutting effects, particularly the empowerment of women and girls
5. strengthening global partnerships for development.
While the MDGs were originally framed as global targets, they have been applied intensively at the national level, to both drive and benchmark progress. Understanding where, how and why this progress has been achieved is vital to ensure that it is sustained and, if possible, accelerated. The Development Progress project at ODI aims to do just that: looking in detail at what works and why in particular countries, considering the barriers to further progress, and building a solid foundation of data and evidence to better inform policy. This is about looking at progress from the bottom up – focusing on the individual pieces in the jigsaw and constructing the global picture one piece at a time.
Many others are also thinking along these lines and our revitalised website aims to bring all of this thinking and debate together in one place. The site is a hub for ideas, debate and resources, highlighting how the world is doing on the MDGs as we make the shift to a post-2015 development framework.
Over the coming weeks, during and after the UN General Assembly discussions, development experts from around the globe will use our site to add their voices to the debate, providing blogs that aim to answer one key question:
What do you see as the single most important thing needed to accelerate progress toward the MDGs?
We’ll hear first from Charles Abugre Akelyira (UN Millennium Campaign, Nairobi), who will explore issues around MDG achievement in Africa. Our other confirmed bloggers are: Andrea Ordóñez (Grupo Faro, Quito); Shantanu Mukherjee (UNDP, New York); Gonzalo Pizarro (UNDP, Panama); Kevin Watkins (ODI, London), Renosi Mokate (independent, formerly World Bank, Johannesburg); and Debapriya Battacharya (Centre for Policy Dialogue, Dhaka). More have been invited, and we’d love you to be involved as well.
So, what do you think should happen in the final push for the MDGs? Is the UN focusing on the right areas? What action would produce the strongest results? How can recommendations be transformed into concrete action? Is accelerated progress even possible? And how can the lessons we have learned from the push for the MDGs inform what follows, post-2015?
Please do join the debate by proposing a blog in support of a particular focus or action, or by commenting on the proposals being made by others. Simply email your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the contributions to the blog series so far:
- Achieving the MDGs in Africa: should we accelerate? by Charles Abugre Akelyira
- Why long-term finance is so important for Latin America by Andrea Ordóñez
- The art of the possible: listening to the real experts by Gonzalo Pizarro
- Context is all: why ignoring politics is a risky game by Hania Sholkamy
- Influencing progress towards the Millennium Development Goals by Dr. Renosi Mokate