CGD Policy Blogs
With the Sustainable Development Goals Working Group busy in New York trying to whittle down its areas of interest into a plausible list of targets, two issues of ‘goal ownership’ have come to the fore. First, everyone seems very keen the goals should be universal but ‘country-owned’ — this is the excuse for all of the Xs in the High Level Panel Report (“Cover X% of people who are poor and vulnerable with social protection systems,” for example). Such Xs should be decided at the country level, they suggest.
When the post-2015 process kicked off, I was regularly asked what the new MDGs should include. My response almost always raised eyebrows. I’d say “whatever ordinary people want them to be” and that decision makers should ask them (not people like me). Not highly choreographed ‘consultations’ with interest groups and stakeholder representatives. No, that’s far too old school and distortionary. Instead, those coming up with new global goals should just ask ordinary people about their priorities through open-ended, representative surveys.
This week (September 25th), the UN General Assembly will hold a Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Alongside exhortations regarding the last two years of the current set of goals, the draft outcome document of the event calls for “a single framework and set of Goals” for the post-2015 development agenda.
I admit, I didn’t think things would look so good right now. This summer of post-2015 reports has been as unexpectedly pleasant as comparatively decent August weather in DC. Surprised by the depth and reach of the High Level Panel report on the post-2015 development agenda, then taken off guard by the healthy overlap between the Sustainable Development Solutions Network report and the High Level Panel’s recommendations, now I’ve been mildly shocked—in a good way—by the first interim report of the Sustainable Development Goals Working Group.
Recent thinking around the post-2015 development agenda has focused on the goals and targets of a follow-on set of Millennium Development Goals for the period 2010–2030. These are important discussions that have clarified potential areas for goals and the plausibility of particular targets. But another approach to the post-2015 agenda is to think about what would replace the Millennium Declaration itself.
CGD has just posted a policy paper by Sarah Dykstra and me on Millennium Development Goal 8 (that would be the one on a “global partnership for development”) and lessons for post-2015. It is an updated version of a paper we submitted to the High-Level Panel on post-2015 (available here) focused on what we thought should go into their Goal 12 (“Create a Global Enabling Environment and Catalyze Long-Term Finance”). It won’t take more than a cursory comparison of our paper and the HLP report to see we were less than completely persuasive!
Last week, the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda released its final report setting out goals for poverty eradication and sustainable development. Most of the instant-reaction commentary was broadly positive (mine included)—some complaints about missing goals (especially inequality) and concerns about the ambition gap between goals for progress and goals for partnership, but mostly pleasant surprise that such an august group could manage to produce such a coherent and expansive framework.
The UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda has delivered its report, setting out an overarching aim of the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030, and a proposed set of goals, targets and indicators to get there. Overall, the report looks like it will provide a valuable stepping stone to an eventual framework.