This year’s report card on where the world, the regions, and the developing countries are with regard to attaining the various Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), shows quite a diverse picture. As the Global Monitoring Report 2013 points out, progress toward the MDGs has not been universal and there are many poor countries that are still very far away from the targets where we want them to be by 2015.
If we take a look at progress towards attainment of the MDGs, we can conclude that four out of 21 targets have been met by 2010, well ahead of the 2015 deadline. Note that even though there are 8 Goals, there are 21 targets and about 56 indicators through which the world tries to monitor their progress.
The last few months have been a busy time for inequality. And over the last few days the poor thing got busier still. Inequality is now dancing on two stages. It must be really quite dizzy.
We need an inequality goal. No we don’t. Yes we do
One of the two stages is the post-2015 development goals. At some point, someone seems to have decided that reducing inequality needs to be an explicit commitment in the post-2105 goals. The UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda wrote a report on inequality and argued that “addressing inequalities is in everyone’s best interest.” Another report by Claire Melamed of Britain’s Overseas Development Institute argued that “equity, or inequality, needs to be somehow integrated into any new framework.” Last week a group of 90 academics wrote an open letter to the High Level Panel on the Post 2015 Development Agenda demanding that inequality be put at the heart of any new framework.
In a recent blogpost I asked whether Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is old wine in a new bottle, and if so whether that’s so bad.
I argued that UHC is ultimately about making sure that “everyone – whether rich or poor – gets the care they need without suffering undue financial hardship as a result.” I suggested UHC embraces three important concepts:
• equity: linking care to need, not to ability pay;
• financial protection: making sure that people's use of needed care doesn't leave their family in poverty; and
• quality of care: making sure providers make the right diagnosis, and prescribe a treatment that's appropriate and affordable.
I am heartened by the discussions at the recently-concluded Global Thematic Consultation on Governance and the Post-2015 Development Framework, held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The meeting, facilitated by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and hosted by the Pan-African Parliament, brought together a wide range of stakeholders across regions and constituencies, including from government, grassroots to international civil society, national human rights institutions, youth groups, parliamentarians, and representatives of the media and the private sector, allowing them to share their views and concerns about the post-2015 agenda.
The exchanges at the two-day meeting have been thoughtful, articulate and yet passionate. And they have all pointed in the same direction: the need for a new and more effective framework that will improve the mixed outcomes achieved by the current MDGs. As Varun Gauri elegantly pointed out (MDGs that Nudge – Ask your mom or dad), we need a new MDG framework that “captures the attention and enthusiasm of non-experts (regular people)”. We also need a framework that can make a difference on the ground.
The story – rightly or wrongly – about the current MDGs is that they were cooked up in a back room somewhere in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) in Paris, and finally agreed in another back room in New York. While this may not be quite fair, it’s certainly true that there wasn’t much in the way of consultation or public conversation around the MDGs development or eventual agreement.
How different this time. It might just be possible to participate in a different consultation on the post-2015 process every day between now and 2015 (a Google search on ‘post 2015 consultations’ produces 7 million results). How to make sense of all this? Essentially there are three types of consultations going on, feeding into the political process in different ways.
I feel privileged to be appointed as the World Bank Group President’s Special Envoy for the MDGs. Nothing could be more important for achieving growth and shared prosperity than the MDGs, which are meant to provide people with the very basic capabilities they need to thrive – freedom from extreme poverty, education, health, clean water and sanitation. Nations can only succeed when people thrive.
In my new position, with regard to the MDGs I will focus on four objectives. The first is to ensure that we are doing all we can to get as close to achieving the MDGs as possible by the 2015 deadline. Progress on many targets is lagging, particularly in countries affected by weak governance, conflict, or large populations. Progress is significantly lagging on some indicators, such as maternal and child health. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim have recently committed to a process of in-depth country-level diagnostics to identify priority actions to accelerate progress towards achieving the MDGs. My hope is that these reviews will point not only to specific actions for governments and donors, but also serve as lessons for a broader range of countries.
What should replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when they expire in 2015?
Ask your mom or dad.
In a recent working paper, I argue that we need MDGs that nudge – MDGs that frame development issues in ways that capture the attention and enthusiasm of non-experts (regular people).
With 2015 fast approaching, many of us in the development community are paying close attention to how post-MDG plans are unfolding. At Bread for the World Institute, we are using the 2013 edition of our annual Hunger Report to share our thoughts about getting to 2015 and how we’d like to see the post-MDG agenda develop.
The 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach – Global Development Goals, calls for a strong push, starting right now, to meet the MDG targets by 2015.
As the world marks World Toilet Day today, with just three years to 2015, there is a need to consider why the MDG targets on access to sanitation have not been met.
In May 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) convened a consultation in Berlin, co-hosted by the German Government, to start a process of formulating proposals for the post-2015 goals, targets and corresponding indicators for water, sanitation and hygiene. The consultation reviewed the current global drinking-water and sanitation monitoring landscape, identified the strengths and weaknesses of the current MDG target and indicators, discussed the relevance of the principles underlying the human right to water and sanitation for consideration in future goals and targets, and reached agreement on a roadmap towards the formulation of a menu of options. Technical working groups were established to deal with drinking-water, sanitation, hygiene and a fourth area, cutting across these three, on equity and non-discrimination. All working groups were asked to: