On August 23 SITE, together with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, hosted Development Day 2013, on the Post 2015 Development Agenda. Material from the event is now available.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) established in year 2000 has been an essential concept for global and national efforts to promote economic, social and human development. Highlighting income poverty, health, education, gender equality and environmental sustainability the targets have focused the efforts on a set of quantifiable and comparable measures of progress. Some commendable success has also been realized; already in 2010 the worldwide goal to reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than US$ 1.25 a day was achieved. However, much less progress has been seen in some other areas and there are countries for which none of the goals are expected to be achieved in 2015. Nevertheless, to use quantifiable, comparable and time-bound targets to create awareness and direct political resources is generally regarded as a success. The question for the development community as 2015 quickly approaches is thus how to build a successful post 2015 development agenda that builds on what has worked but also incorporates new lessons learned.
For that purpose the UN Secretary-General has launched several initiatives including task teams, special advisors and consultations, but also a High-level Panel of Eminent Persons co-chaired by the presidents of Indonesia and Liberia, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and including as its member Gunilla Carlsson, Minister for Development Cooperation at the time. The panel was tasked to submit a report to the General-secretary on May 31. The starting point of Development Day 2013 was a presentation of said report by its lead author, Homi Kharas, followed by commentary from Gunilla Carlsson.
The process to establish a new agenda of course raises many questions and reveals some of the trade-offs involved. There are important challenges not directly mentioned in the original 8 such as political conflict, rising inequality and youth unemployment. Many have argued that environmental sustainability, though included, may deserve a more prominent role. It is also important to get a sense of what is realistic to aim for, and what responsibility to ascribe to the already developed world. To discuss challenging questions such as these, the rest of the day featured a very distinguished and experienced group of policy oriented scholars and practitioners from both governments, IFIs, the business community and NGOs.
A summary of the discussion during the day can be found in the latest FREE Policy Brief, by Anders Olofsgård and Roman Bobilev.
Below are links to the UN report and presentations discussed during the day.
A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies Through Sustainable Development, presented by Homi Kharas
How Long will it Take to Lift One Billion People Out of Poverty, presented by Martin Ravallion
A Unified SDG Framework for Human Prosperity within Planetary Boundaries, presented by Johan Rockström