International Development - Minutes of EvidenceHC 657

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Oral Evidence

Taken before the International Development Committee

on Tuesday 23 October 2012

Members present:

Sir Malcolm Bruce (Chair)

Hugh Bayley

Richard Burden

Pauline Latham

Mr Michael McCann

Alison McGovern

Chris White


Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser of the Secretary General on Post-2015 Development Planning, UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and Paul Ladd, Head of Team on Post-2015, United Nations Development Programme, gave evidence.

Q1 Chair: Good morning to you both. Thank you very much for coming in to give evidence to us. As you know, we are looking at the post-2015 development goals, both the process and what we hope or think the outcome might be. Just for the record, could you introduce yourselves?

Amina Mohammed: Good morning. My name is Amina Mohammed, and I am the Special Adviser and the Assistant Secretary General to the SG of the United Nations on the post-2015 Development Planning. It is a bit of a mouthful.

Paul Ladd: My name is Paul Ladd. I work in the United Nations Development Programme, and I head up the UNDP team on post-2015.

Q2 Chair: As I say, thank you both. This is the first formal evidence session we have had. We have had a lot of written evidence submitted; obviously you have explored some of the issues informally. Just to put it in context, can you give us an indication of why you think the Panel was set up the way it has been, both in terms of the chairs and the membership, and particularly how the members were selected? Then perhaps we can go on to look at the secretariat as well.

Amina Mohammed: Thank you very much. We welcome the enquiry to clarify the different moving parts, as we call it, of the post-2015 process, because we have mandated parts to it. We welcome the opportunity to explain the High Level Panel’s role in all of this, but there are other parts to it. We are happy to present what the UN system is doing to support member states, and this does include the High Level Panel. Later we will perhaps talk about the relationship with the Open Working Group, because that is the other important part of it. Paul is here for the UN systems response to the whole process.

The Panel itself was a response of the Secretary General to his mandate in 2010 to present a report in September 2013 to the General Assembly, in which he would give a broad outline of what he thought the post-2015 agenda would look like. What he put in place at that time is the High Level Panel, with three co-chairs, as you know, 26 members and me as the ex-officio representative of the SG. The hope is to get a view from the Panel that gives a bold and ambitious report to take what has happened so far, remembering that we still have three years to go in finishing off the MDGs, and to present to the Secretary General what would be essentially the guts of his report in 2013. So it should be something that is realistic, that gives us a balance of where we are coming from on the poverty agenda, and recognises that there are many other issues that come into play from 2012; we are not in the same place as we were in 2000.

The selection of the members of the High Level Panel gives a representation of those interests and concerns that we have globally, so they are from business and civil society, and from member states.

Q3 Chair: Sorry, how were they selected? Was it by a process of consultation?

Amina Mohammed: There was a process of consultation with member states, with different constituencies, so from civil society and from business. There were terribly long lists, and one looked at the criteria, the expertise, and this led to the final list.

Q4 Chair: But the Secretary General then made the final decision.

Amina Mohammed: The Secretary General made the final decision, in consultation to the Deputy Secretary General, who just came on board. We came at the same time.

Q5 Chair: Has that been controversial, or do you think that the general mix of the Panel has been broadly accepted?

Amina Mohammed: There have been very high expectations; everyone wants to be involved. I think that we have had responses, if any, from civil society on the membership. This is not the only opportunity to engage with the High Level Panel, but by and large we succeeded in putting together a fairly representative panel. It is, again, the first time that we have had more women than men on this Panel, so in terms of the gender balance that was a welcome sign.

Q6 Chair: So just going on to the detail then: having selected a panel, Homi Kharas was selected as the lead author, and the secretariat is being established. So can you just briefly tell us how Homi Kharas was selected, and again, whether that has the broad acceptance, and what the state of the secretariat recruitment is at the moment?

Amina Mohammed: We had a number of recommendations for lead authors, and we went through their CVs, checked their backgrounds, and looked at the track records for being able to do this. Then the three co-chairs and their envoys sat in a technical group, and we went through criteria that selected Dr Homi Kharas as the best candidate. That happened over a period of about three months.

Q7 Chair: Do the usual political issues run through it?

Amina Mohammed: For the selection of Dr Homi Kharas, we did not have political issues; that really was a technical base. People really thought that it was important to get somebody who was going to pull together a document that reflected what the Panel and the co-chairs would be talking about. That was really what we underscored: who was going to be able to do this in the tight timeframe that we have. We have nine months to try to pull all of this together, and that really was the criterion. This was one time that politics was not in the room.

Q8 Chair: Just a final point on that: is the secretariat fully recruited yet, or is it still being recruited? Who is funding it?

Amina Mohammed: It is a work in progress. The Secretary General has written for support to member states for it, and we have had some indications of resources for it. It is not fully up and running. Dr Homi Kharas is in place, and he has two or three staff that have come on board, and we are recruiting as we speak now. The UNDP is helping with that process; they have been mandated to do that. The secretariat itself is independent, but it has three major parts to it: the research part that Dr Homi would be co-ordinating, the outreach, and then the operational side, for which we have the support of the UNDP and the one secretariat that we keep to co-ordinate all these moving parts.

Q9 Hugh Bayley: I am just interested in how you are going to engage the public with your research of the issues. Just while you were talking with the Chairman I remembered that, way back in the 1980s, when Gro Harlem Brundtland was doing her environment and development report she had a partnership with a television company I ran. We shared research and produced six or eight films to address issues of desertification, climate change and so on and so forth. Have you thought of how you are going to create a media strategy to take your findings and take the report beyond the rarefied world that officials like you and politicians like us live in?

Amina Mohammed: The Panel certainly will have that. In its independent nature one of the things they have made core to it is the outreach in the process of recruiting. In my office we have an outreach person, and we are giving a media strategy to that. There are a number of proposals for how that would happen. Paul explained to you what we are doing at the UN. At the High Level Panel, we can take the first meeting that will be happening in the UK, in London next week, as an example. The first of those outreaches would be bringing in people to speak to the panellists on key issues, and background papers being prepared by a number of constituencies from within and outside. Then there is the panel meeting, where we get to speak on a number of issues internally, and then we go out again to a whole day with civil society using social media. We will be using the opportunity for roundtables and framing questions; instead of questions and answers, it will be much more of a discussion and discourse. This is being developed. We have only just started, so we will certainly take advantage of what is available now.

Q10 Chair: I just wondered whether Mr Ladd wanted to add any comment.

Paul Ladd: I will add two things, very briefly, if I may. Clearly there will be an opportunity for outreach in the margins of each and every High Level Panel meeting, which is an important method of engagement. However, I think Mr Bayley’s question responds to how you get people really engaged and really interested. I wanted to quickly refer to two things. First of all we have invested in a standard web platform, which we hope that members of the public in all parts of the world will be able to use to find the current status of the debate, and upload not just documents but also pictures or other things that are coming out of the national consultations. The second thing is that we have invested with partners in an option survey called My World, which we are going to be explaining to members of the High Level Panel on 2 November, which we hope will be a way of engaging millions of people around the world and getting them to choose the priorities that they would wish to see in any future development framework. I can explain that in more detail later on, if you wish.

Q11 Mr McCann: Can I ask some questions, please, about how the High Level Panel process will interact with the sustainable development goals process? How will the membership of the post-Rio Open Working Group be chosen, and when do we expect the make-up of that to be announced?

Amina Mohammed: The selection of the 30 experts for the SDG process itself is a work in progress right now. The member, the permanent representative for Brazil, is coordinating that, under the guide of the PGA, and that still has not yet been decided. We understand that it should be fairly soon, and so one really cannot comment. However, for us right from the onset it is very clear we have these two processes. We hope to see co-ordination of the processes from the Secretary General’s office. We use the one secretariat to make sure that the inputs that go for both the High Level Panel and the support to the SDG working group will be given by the UN system. We believe that process in itself will come to what we hope will be a convergence of ideas and work towards September. For now it is probably pretty premature to see how that is going, because the terms of reference are not out, and the members are not known. But we are prepared at the UN to make sure that both these processes in fact will remain coherent. They are complex; this is the member states’ mandate coming out of Rio, for one, to get not just the SDGs but a financing framework too. But in a sense our focus for the High Level Panel is really to get the report out that informs the SG’s report in 2013.

Q12 Mr McCann: If I heard you correctly, there is the one single secretariat who will serve both the High Level Panel and the Open Working Group.

Amina Mohammed: Absolutely, yes. That is reinforced again, as I said, by the system itself. While the co-chairs of the UN Task Team that produced the first report are still co-ordinating the work that goes into this, there will be a subset of that group that specifically addresses the SDG Open Working Group.

Q13 Chris White: I have just a couple of questions. There is a great deal of debate about integrating the post-2015 process into the post-Rio process. How do you think this is going to be achieved?

Amina Mohammed: At the end of the day what we want is one development agenda. The good news is that with all discussions and outreach that we have had with the member states, this is one thing that there is consensus on-one development agenda. We have the next three years to get there. What is really important is how we are going to finish off the MDGs, and that is the unfinished business of the day. In learning from that and bringing through what the strengths have been, where the gaps are, the situation that we have today, there is a fairly good convergence between those that are talking about the SDGs. The SDGs have come out of Rio, and there is a perception that they are the environment goals, but there is also a great deal of effort to try to make sure that the poverty agenda also comes into that. A lot of this is going to be related to the outreach we have and the consultations with member states. We believe that the closer we come to September next year, the more we will have that convergence.

Q14 Chris White: Will the Panel’s findings be fed into the Open Working Group?

Amina Mohammed: We have a report. The SG’s report comes in September, and so the General Assembly will be a high-level event. There are a number of other reports that come out at that time, including the Gap Report and the Acceleration Report, and all of these will converge then.

Q15 Chris White: Thank you. Finally, will there be one specific goal on sustainability, or will sustainability be included as a component part of the other goals?

Amina Mohammed: If we had the answer to that now, we would not have this process. That is going to be part of the discussion that we have going forward. It is certainly a contention.

Q16 Chris White: Do you have view on the direction?

Amina Mohammed: Not currently, no.

Q17 Chair: You are having a joint secretariat, which I had not fully appreciated before. So there is a joint secretariat, or the same secretariat. Are you quite sure that the minority of people who are suggesting there should be two separate sets of goals will not prevail? Are you concerned that there will be some kind of divergence?

Amina Mohammed: We will work to ensure that they do not prevail. We have said that there has been a really good turnout of opinion around one development agenda. There will be many conversations politically and otherwise through the course of this. While we co-ordinate the one secretariat, certainly the three co-chairs have a strategy for outreach with the member states. This has started already; we have had informal sessions, and retreats in Indonesia and Liberia have helped. As we go back to New York after the High Level Panel meeting, these will continue in a broader and a deeper manner. So, yes, I am confident that those will be minority voices, although they must be taken on board.

Q18 Pauline Latham: The High Level Panel had its first meeting in September. Can you tell us what the main outcomes and achievements of that meeting were?

Amina Mohammed: Essentially that was the first meeting of the Panel as a whole. So really the three co-chairs were laying out what their hopes were for it, and then we heard from each one of the panellists how they thought they would engage with this and what they had to bring to the table. It was a very short meeting; 19 minutes is not a long time, so it was the introductory meeting.

They then agreed to how we were going to run the work-plan programme for the High Level Panel, which consists of five meetings. The first happened in New York. There will be one in each of the capitals; the first is in the UK, the second will be in Liberia, and the third in Indonesia. We will have a final meeting at the beginning of May in New York to wrap up the report, which will be handed over to the SG on 31 May.

There were a number of outreach sessions during that time, so it was not just the Panel report. We had a debrief for all the Panel members the day before, to bring them up to speed on where we were with the MDGs and the acceleration framework, and what the issues were coming out of Rio. Then we had another outreach with civil society, where civil society was very clear about their expectations of the Panel members and then the Panel members’ commitment to that open outreach.

Q19 Pauline Latham: Do you think the Panel members hope to maintain some continuity with the Millennium Development Goals, or do you think they would prefer a different approach?

Amina Mohammed: It is rather soon to see that. What came out of that was that they were all very concerned about the poverty agenda. They all recognise that there is a different set of circumstances today compared with 2000. There are issues of conflict, of environment, of the youth bulge; these are all things that have to be factored in now. But there was unison in everyone’s statement around that table that we had to finish off the MDGs. There was also the belief that they were a good thing; they did have gaps, but these were all things that could be taken into consideration moving forward, as we tried to be more ambitious with the next agenda.

Q20 Pauline Latham: There was no outcome document following the meeting. Do you know why that was?

Amina Mohammed: There is a read-out of the meeting and notes on the meeting that are internal to the Panel itself. This is an independent panel that will do as much as it can in terms of outreach. The background papers will be open, but as far as the work goes, until such time as it is concluded, I believe that will remain internal to the Panel.

Q21 Pauline Latham: So does that mean they will always meet in private?

Amina Mohammed: We have closed sessions of the Panel, yes.

Q22 Pauline Latham: Can you tell us what will be on the agenda for the remaining meetings of the Panel, and are you able to tell us which specific issues will be discussed at each meeting?

Amina Mohammed: We have not yet finished. As we go through all the meetings, no. At every meeting itself, the experts and envoys sit round to look at the issues that have come out and that the co-chairs would like to discuss. This is the first substantive meeting, so essentially we will be getting around the idea of the vision of the committee itself and the Panel itself, and the specific issues they would like to start talking about. Sustainable development will be at the core, and they will be speaking about the social elements, the economy and the environment. The focus on this will be a balance between the poverty and the environmental agenda.

Q23 Pauline Latham: You mentioned having a meeting in May 2013. When do you expect to see a first draft of the Panel’s report? Will it be before that date? When do you think it will be published?

Amina Mohammed: We expect the first draft around March, and then we will publish the report as soon as it is handed to the Secretary General, which will be at the end of May or the beginning of June. There is a short timeline between when that report will be received and it being fed into the Secretary General’s report that has to go to General Assembly, but it will be published independently.

Q24 Chair: I do not know whether you want to add anything, Mr Ladd? The process all sounds very smooth and comfortable-it is all going down the track. Clearly there are going to be arguments and rows and so forth. How do you think these will be resolved? To what extent do you think the timetable might slip? It is not unknown for timetables to slip at EU level, and when you are trying to get 200 countries to agree on something-

Amina Mohammed: Do you want to speak about the process itself? There have been a number of questions around how we do the outreach, and how that all feeds in with the different reports on time. The UN Task Team has a huge task to try to bring all of that in from 100 countries or so.

Paul Ladd: Where I would start is that we find ourselves in October 2012. There is a job to remain on the MDGs until the end of 2015, and we do not need any successor framework or agenda in place until January 2016. So we have a considerable amount of time between now and then to build a trustful multilateral process that could be more successful. In our experience, the way to generate a good multilateral agreement is by starting early on, by generating a common discourse and a common language, and then letting coalitions form, which eventually builds a momentum to a successful outcome. We believe that on the UN side we have invested early enough to provide the environment in which this could happen. So the High Level Panel is clearly one part of that, and your question is really, "Can anything be brokered by the members of that High Level Panel?" There will be arguments of course, but there will also be a report at the end of it, which will set the tone for the subsequent debate. We then will have the process of the Open Working Group, and a report of the Open Working Group, which we see as a limited intergovernmental process, which will then set the tone for the full intergovernmental process. Member states have not defined when it will start, but a likely guess would be September 2014 to run until the end of September 2015.

Q25 Chair: I suppose what I had in mind is the difficulties that the climate change agenda has presented every time we have tried to get international agreement, and whether or not bringing sustainable developments into the post-MDGs will bring with it the problems that go with that.

Paul Ladd: Clearly there are many issues. It is not just the environmental sustainability ones that certain member states find difficult to discuss and agree on. There are other parts of the development agenda that are contentious in a full intergovernmental setting, so this is a challenge across the board. Again, this is firmly in the domain of member states to agree, and they may decide ultimately that some things are not unimportant but better to take forward in other processes, through protocols, through other agreements, and through other tracks. But this will be in the domain of member states to decide.

From our perspective, we see very many occasions whereby progress on extreme poverty, which is what the MDGs were about, is now inseparable from many aspects of the natural environment, whether it is access to energy, access to water resources, or the use of ecosystems. Increasingly, it is becoming somewhat difficult to separate these issues for poor people living in poor countries.

Q26 Hugh Bayley: Looking at the High Level Panel and its work specifically, how many people are on the secretariat that will be organising the meetings, collecting papers, writing and researching for Mr Kharas?

Amina Mohammed: We are envisaging that he would probably have a core team of about seven or eight, but that there would be people who would come on and off with the external work; they would have short papers that would come in for three months or for four or five weeks, depending on the need. He is working that out right now. In fact, we do have a shortlist of about 11 background papers that are currently being produced.

Q27 Hugh Bayley: You have not got much time, have you?

Amina Mohammed: No.

Q28 Hugh Bayley: It is five months, and you are done. You will have noticed that in the back of the room is the head of the secretariat from Blair’s Commission for Africa. He has just reminded me that they had a secretariat of 42 people who worked for 18 months to produce the 2005 Commission for Africa report. "Quick and dirty" would be the wrong phrase, but in comparison this is going to be a much, much quicker and a much less considered process. Will it therefore provide the sort of cornerstone to the debate that the Commission for Africa report did before Gleneagles?

Amina Mohammed: Quite a lot of work has been done before this that is going to feed in to what the High Level Panel is going to do. They are not starting afresh on the work that has to be considered, and quite a bit of work did go into the UN Task Team report. There are also a number of reports that have come out of the system and without. There are many gaps that need to be addressed, and there is a short timeline to try to consider those. But as we go out on multiple tracks, the challenge will be the co-ordination of that, and bringing that into the group and being able to discuss it, and to get that report together, rather than the substance of it. There is really quite a bit of substance there already.

Q29 Hugh Bayley: This is my fault, not Paul’s fault, but I got a little bit lost with all the acronyms of the different follow-on groups that are going to build upon the High Level Panel’s findings. In constructing a process between now and the time when the new agreement on post-2015 is taken, such a short period has been given for the initial launch document, if I can call it that. Why has the High Level Panel decided to do a six-month piece of work rather than a one-year or an 18-month piece of work?

Amina Mohammed: It is actually a nine-month piece of work, and it is a component of the Secretary General’s report; it is not the Secretary General’s report. What it does is narrow down. The member states have asked us for a broad outline of what post-2015 is supposed to look like. They have not asked us to layer this, and to give them a set of goals, targets and metrics. They have said, "What should the shape of this look like by then?" That is what we want to put on the table, so that then begins the discussion for 2015 and 2016. We can then deepen that and end up with our development framework. So this is the skeleton of it, if you will.

Q30 Hugh Bayley: So the timetable set by the Secretary General is the timetable for the Secretary General’s report?

Amina Mohammed: The member states set that timetable. The Secretary General’s report-

Q31 Hugh Bayley: Yes, but that is why this is conceived as a short and concentrated piece of work. How confident are you that the recommendations from the High Level Panel will be taken forward in the post-2015 deal?

Amina Mohammed: I am fairly confident. I am co-ordinating it, and so I expect that this for me is one of the most important parts of the work that we have to do. As an exofficio member of that, I am very keen to see that come through. We really do see this being the equivalent of what Threats, Challenges and Change were to the In Larger Freedom report. The quality of this report will come from its outreach, from the research that we do, and from how well we communicate what the Panel and the co-chairs have. It is unusual that member states have given us the direction for this, but they are also co-chairing it. There is a great interest in making sure this works. It is the hope to give a balanced view of what should happen post-2015. This is one independent group of people, and certainly when you look around at the Panel members themselves, you will find that we will get what we need to in terms of its robustness and ambition.

Q32 Hugh Bayley: How difficult will it be to get agreement from member states?

Amina Mohammed: It will be really difficult; it will be a big challenge. But what we have been able to do is continuously reach out and keep them abreast of this-that there is not another agenda, that it is one about a global agenda. It is going to be an awful lot of outreach. That has begun with the Panel members: those that are member states, those in business, those in civil society. So I do not think that this is easy, but expectations are high. As I said, the good news in all of this is that people are working towards one development agenda and that some good work has come out of the MDGs that has focused a lot of momentum on the successes. It is also something that we drive towards, saying, "Foot on the accelerator; we have to finish." The settings are very complicated, but I think that this will happen.

Q33 Hugh Bayley: The G8 is, of course, different from the UN, but I clearly saw Blair as politically driving the process: picking up the telephone, speaking to other Heads of Government and Heads of State, asking for commitments, asking for briefings before Gleneagles itself. Who is the key driver who will be politically organising to get buy-in from member states right across the spectrum, from richest to poorest?

Amina Mohammed: The difference we find today is that in 2001 and thereafter, there was very much a global-north, global-south agenda. This is a global agenda today; this is about all three co-chairs being concerned about what we get globally. So all will be present, and will be picking up the phone, and will be political, and will have to be, because there is the climate change agenda, there is the poverty agenda, there are many issues around conflict financing. Every one of those three will pick up the phone. They already are, and we see the synergy of that happening.

Q34 Hugh Bayley: But in a sense it is more than just a highlevel panel, isn’t it? They are producing-I am not sure what to call it-a call to action, a strategy, something that goes into the Secretary General’s report. The political process will take us way beyond the publication of the High Level Panel’s Report. Who is going to lead that political process?

Amina Mohammed: The Secretary General, I hope, is going to lead that process.

Q35 Hugh Bayley: The Secretary General?

Amina Mohammed: Yes, with the member states.

Q36 Hugh Bayley: Politics is a process. It is a process of moving from where you are, winning support, generating interest, buying agreement, obtaining commitments. You need to timetable a series of steps in a staircase that will take you from where we are now, where there is a general view that something ought to happen after 2015, to a buyin that makes countries, from the richest to the poorest in the world, buy into this, and say: "We are committed; we are going to make the difference." How likely is that to happen, and what leverage does the Secretary General have over the President of the United States and the President of Mali, shall we say?

Amina Mohammed: The first thing is that the mandate has been given by the member states to have something done, and they are fairly serious about having it done. All the indications point to that. There has been an enormous amount of communication as to what we are doing and how we are doing it. There are a number of milestones that have been put in place, and we will work towards them. The outreach and the partnership that we need on this will go outside the UN to member states, to civil society, to business, and the way and manner in which we do that, and how we timetable it towards each one of those milestones to put the momentum up, will make that call to action happen.

The Secretary General has a fivepoint agenda, and part of that is the post2015. It also includes sustainable development, and all these will form part of what will make the case, and give us the political momentum that we need to make those changes happen, and to produce a development agenda that is ambitious, that is bold, but at the same time realistic-feet on the ground and head in the clouds. This is what we have to have. I do not think we can afford to say, "Will it happen, will it not happen?" It has to happen. When we look back to see what is happening on the MDGs in many of these countries, it does not give us the luxury of saying, "Will it happen? How can it happen?" We have to work towards that. I think there is enough, there will be enough, and we can bring those outliers into the process to make this happen.

Q37 Hugh Bayley: If we get the agreement, it will just be a platform-a starting point. Who will be tasked with developing the tasks, implementation, and the indicators on performance? Who will make sure it is not just a statement of grand ambitions but of policy changes in member states to achieve the goals or the priorities that are set?

Amina Mohammed: Ultimately it is member states. This is a development agenda that should be embraced by them, whether we negotiate it or we do not negotiate it. At the end of the day, if 193 member states sign on, it is up to them. It is not legally binding. This is one thing that we still credit to the MDGs. Certainly in our country we found different mechanisms, in Nigeria, to make the MDGs work. One of those was the debt relief that we got from the United Kingdom. That was used as leverage to better governance, to target expenditure, and to use domestic resources better. Ultimately it will be the member states.

They will, of course, be supported and encouraged by the UN system: hopefully the advocacy that will come from civil society to Parliaments to make those decisions and instruments like the recent resolution on the rule of law will play out to provide an anchor for a lot of this to happen. But ultimately it will be up to the member states. What we hope is that not only do you have a set of goals, but that this time the targeting itself is much more focused on results, and that you have a set of metrics that enables you to measure not just GDP for growth of an economy but how much impact that has had on inequality and on the lives of the poor. There will be much more work that will go into that.

But around what? This is what we need to have in place before September 2013. Before you can go deeper into those other issues of what should make this an actionable plan, what I hope to see is that we can craft something globally that we will be able to implement at the local level. My coming to the United Nations is after 30 years at the country level. I have every intention of trying to make something global work locally, because I intend to go back and have that played out on the ground in a real way, making a difference to people’s lives.

Q38 Hugh Bayley: One final question. Yes, of course, who is the key player in developing policy in Nigeria? It is the Government of Nigeria, of course. But around the Millennium Development Goals, a series of policies were made by multilateral agencies, such as UNDP, such as the World Bank, to change the way they work to ensure, in a loose sense, that there was conditionality. The World Bank, during that post2000 period, developed its poverty-reduction strategy process, and it was refined as time went on-more consultation was built in and so on. To what extent will UN agencies and the Bank amend their ways of working so as to maximise the opportunities for member states to change policy in the ways that the post2015 framework recommends? Where will the pressure come from, and the encouragement, and the support?

Paul Ladd: It is a little too early to say, but clearly we will be thinking ahead of time as to what the likely shape of this agreement will be, and how we need to change ourselves internally so as to meet the challenge of then implementing the goals. What I would say is that the PRSPs were more closely connected to the debt relief scheme, which was coming to fruition at the time, rather than the MDGs in and of themselves. All I would say to reinforce an earlier question is that the MDGs have been a tremendously powerful communications and implementation tool-a tool for progress. For the first few years, however, there was very little traction on them. There was very little traction on them because they did not have, if you like, the absolute buy-in of Governments who signed up to the Declaration-the Declaration did not include the full framework of the goals and targets and indicators. That came later, and took time to bed down.

This time we want to make sure that people are engaged in that debate on the goals, and then potentially targets and indicators, so that from day one there is an implementation agenda that is much stronger at the beginning. There were several member states who, as late as 2005, did not refer to the MDGs, did not see them as part of their domestic policy, and that has to change this time, because clearly we cannot lose a third of a 15year implementation schedule.

Q39 Chair: That is extremely helpful. Just perhaps as a final point, we have a major challenge. You will produce, as you put it, your framework-your set of work-but then the Goals, the final outcome, will be the second part of the process. Picking up a bit on Mr Bayley’s point about political leadership, do you envisage the three cochairs will simply hand on the job at the end of nine months and say, "We have done our work; here it is. Now you get on and turn it into however many goals you want to agree on"? Or do you think they ought to maintain some degree of political commitment? We could ask our own Prime Minister, for example, whether or not he thinks he wants to see what happens after he stops being a cochair in nine months’ time. Do you think that is a reasonable ask of the three cochairs, or not?

Amina Mohammed: I think so. They will continue to be involved in this to varying degrees, remembering that they are representing the member states of whom this has been asked. Currently, when we look to see the commitment that they have in engaging with member states in New York, I think this will continue. It will also go to the ownership of that report: I believe that the three of them are very serious about putting a good report in front of the Secretary General in May, and that will continue. In what form? We will wait until then, because for us, the Open Working Group will be in place, and we will see how far that has gone. The country consultations will also give us feedback, which will help to inform "What then?" after the Secretary General’s report is given to the General Assembly.

Q40 Chair: Thank you very much. We obviously wish you well. We recognise that, precisely as you say, the MDGs perhaps had a slow start and a mixed reception, but they have certainly had an impact in many practical ways. Although we obviously need to take a lot more evidence, there is a requirement to ensure that, whatever the succession is, they are bought into. You have individual countries taking part in the consultative process. It is a rather broad number, between 50 and 100, and that is not all of them. Can you just perhaps clarify that process, so that we can be sure at the end of it that what we have is a set-I do not know how many, but presumably not too many-of goals, which may be aspirational but also practical and that have the buyin, and how that process will bed these people in? What about the countries that are not taking part?

Paul Ladd: The architecture that we have tried to put in place for consultation is at three levels: nationallevel dialogues on post2015; thematic, slightly more expertoriented dialogues, of which there will be 11; and then a global outreach through the web platform that I mentioned earlier. The national dialogues, we think, are the cornerstone, and they are important for many reasons, but firstly we think it is the right thing to do. If you are going to have a development framework that seeks to change people’s lives for the better, then it is simply the right thing to do to ask them what people think should be in it.

But secondly, there is a political imperative to make sure that the work of not just the High Level Panel, but also the Open Working Group, which is this limited intergovernmental process, is informed by the perspectives of people living in different parts of the world. Also-more importantly, I believe, than this slightly extractive approach-national conversations around the sort of future that people want have the potential to influence the national political process, thereby informing national Government positions, which are then brought to the UN for the full intergovernmental process. This is an investment in getting conversations started in parts of the world where they would likely not start for a long time, and therefore redressing the balance of a conversation that is very well established in Europe, but not so well established in other parts of the world.

We started off with 50. It was a stratified sample of countries from different regions, of different income levels, facing different development challenges. We wanted to say, with that group of 50, that it was a broadly representative group of countries, and therefore was credible. Since then we have been pleased, but also surprised, that a number of other Governments have approached us and asked to initiate the same sort of national conversation, and we have sought to support them by mobilising additional resources and technical support from the UN system to make that happen. Currently there are 57 national processes under way, and should there be more interest, then we will also support anything up to a larger number, possibly 100.

Q41 Chair: So what about the countries that do not take part?

Paul Ladd: We have focused in the UN system on what we would call our UN Development Group programme countries, which are countries that are middleincome or lowerincome. We do not have a remit to help with, or start, or be engaged in conversations that will take place in Europe or North America, but we are very aware that those conversations have already started. We hear from Canada, for example, and Belgium, that they will be seeking to initiate something very similar to a national conversation on post2015, and that will be reflected then on the web platform as a place where views from all over the world are sought.

Now if I understand correctly, your question is about, "What if there is a particular country where this conversation does not take place?" They may have other priorities. There may be something more pressing than thinking of something that may be slightly esoteric and not really bite for another two to three years. Where there is interest, all we can commit to is to have this outreach and process, and we will be there to support it. Where it is not a priority for a country, we will not twist any arms.

Amina Mohammed: In addition to that, the Regional Economic Commissions within the UN system do have a strategy for outreach and are producing a report in the new year, which will reflect those regional concerns. In that we believe that their outreach on consultation will have reached all countries.

Q42 Chair: I understand your sensitivity, and I do not want to identify a country-that would be invidious-but you say they have other priorities. What greater priority is there than trying to ensure that they eliminate poverty in a sustainable way?

Paul Ladd: There may be countries that are recently out of crisis or a natural disaster, where the time of the Government, which is quite limited on some of these aspects, will be focused.

Q43 Chair: So it is about the resource to actually focus?

Paul Ladd: Yes, but our position is clear. For those countries that have the capacity and the willingness to engage, the UN is there to support them.

Q44 Chair: Thank you very much indeed. That has been an extremely helpful start. Is there anything you want to ask us, or leave with us? Obviously this is an inquiry that we will be conducting over the next few weeks, so if there are any comments or thoughts that occur to you that you feel you want to communicate with us after this, please do so. We very much welcome that, and you will be able to see on the web what is going on as we take further evidence. Thank you both very much indeed, and can I simply say from the chair, but on behalf of the Committee, we wish you well. It is a big challenge.

Amina Mohammed: The UK are very much a part of the challenge, so we will do it together.

Q45 Chair: We appreciate that; thank you very much.

Amina Mohammed: Thank you very much for giving us this opportunity.

Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Charles Abugre Akelyira, Africa Regional Director, United Nations Millennium Campaign, Professor Andrew Dorward, Professor of Development Economics, School of Oriental and African Studies, and John McArthur, Senior Fellow, UN Foundation, gave evidence.

Q46 Chair: Good morning, gentlemen; thank you very much indeed. You have obviously been here through the previous session, and perhaps just for the record, to begin with, you could introduce yourselves, then we can continue the discussion. Charles?

Charles Abugre: I am Charles Abugre; I am the Africa Regional Director of the UN Millennium Campaign, and I am based in Nairobi.

John McArthur: I am John McArthur. I am a Senior Fellow at the UN Foundation and nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, and I was previously Manager and Deputy Director of the UN Millennium Project, in the early days of the MDGs.

Professor Dorward: My name is Andrew Dorward; I am Professor of Development Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London, and representing a group across different colleges in the university with different disciplinary expertise.

Q47 Chair: Perhaps we can just pick up from where we left off, with where the High Level Panel process is going. You obviously come to it from an outside perspective. I suppose the first question is-and perhaps particularly the last part of the engagement we have just had was illustrative of this-do you think the Panel’s approach is sufficiently consultative, or is it likely to be perceived in the way that the MDGs were, certainly at the outset, as a sort of gift to the world from the political elite, rather than something that is organically created by the people it is supposed to impact on-namely, poor people, or people in need of development progress?

Charles Abugre: The process has kicked off quite a bit of a buzz, at least from where I come from. Already, independent of the High Level Panel process, there are various civil society groups organising, organisations for people with disabilities, women’s movements. There are a lot of poverty hearings and community hearings that have been planned, well ahead of the official, nationalled process. This buzz is useful by itself, and we have time then to extend it. We have also seen quite a bit of buzz already beginning at the regional level. I think that point was made by Paul earlier.

It is not just the national processes; there are also regional processes. In the case of Africa, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union, together with the African Development Bank, have already started a process of reviewing the MDGs, establishing the gaps, and they have a survey going on expectations post2015. This is complementary. The real task is how to pool all of this buzz together in a manner that makes sense-both feeding into the High Level Panel’s report, and ultimately the Secretary General’s report, but beyond that, keeping the conversations going up to the point of negotiations.

Q48 Chair: Are you confident that this buzz is around the same agenda, if you know what I mean? You hear people say, "We want this, we want this, we want this." You have a Panel, and then the process beyond the Panel needs to crunch all that down into something that is manageable. Do you feel the people engaged in all these dialogues are connecting that they need to turn it into something that fits? Indeed, if you take that approach, is that reasonable, or should they simply say, "We want to demand that it is done the way we want it"?

Charles Abugre: There will have to be both. It has to be pooled together in such a way that it is a meaningful feed in to a report, and into the UNled process. Those are some of the things that we are trying to do, for example. Civil society organisations are moving towards creating: they have created their own web platform; they are intending to create their own secretariat close to the cochair in Monrovia, so there is a singular feed in to it. They are working on a framework for synthesising their own input, so that it is meaningful and can be absorbed by the High Level Panel.

Q49 Chair: So we are in quite a different space than we were at the time that the MDGs were effectively hatched up in a room in New York, but perhaps other members of the panel would like to comment?

John McArthur: I give a slightly different view of the history of the MDGs, with full respect to the history from which they emerged. In a sense it is an extraordinary victory that we are even talking about the MDGs today, because it is a myth in many places that the targets were not set in 2000. They were set in 2000, very explicitly, but then they were drawn together in 2001, and it was really in 2002, at the Monterrey conference on financing for development, that they became real, in my view. In any sense of practice and broad reference, the MDGs really only started in March 2002. That, then, was a translation process that had many debates around it.

But we have to remember what it came from. It came from the late 1990s, where any debate around international development goals was strongly repudiated by many in civil society. It was dubbed propaganda by a famous civil society leader on behalf of the international financial institutions. There was strong distrust; there was the "Battle in Seattle" at the end of 1999. They could not even complete the WTO congress at the time. It was a very difficult time for international discussions. From that process, the multiple agreements of the 1990s that were drawn together in the Millennium Declaration set those targets, which then became an increasingly, I would say, resonant reference point, especially once they converged with the financial system processes.

The convergence of diplomacy and resources is essential to this whole question, whether it is domestic resources or global resources. Going back to some of the questions that came up earlier, it was only in 2005 that the translation from the global process to the country process was confirmed in the World Summit outcome, paragraph 22(a), which said that every country would have support to implement a national development strategy ambitious enough to achieve the MDGs by the end of 2006. That was a huge process of convergence, I would say, of many, many threads being woven together: many, many activists, many academics, many politicians and so forth.

I worked with Ambassador Wickstead when I was managing the UN Millennium Project. Just to clarify the history, it was not just the Commission for Africa; there was this extraordinary global process around the MDGs, with hundreds and hundreds of people involved. But even as it was implemented, I would say it was implemented imperfectly in many quarters. I am publicly on the record saying that I think the World Bank should have done better on this, because even the World Bank, with all its tremendous talent and leadership, to this day has not fully converged the goals with the processes. We have to understand that these goals are not an endpoint solution. They are a policy instrument, which has, imperfectly but very powerfully, been a common reference point for civil society, for policy, for developing countries and developed countries.

In one sense, yes, these conversations came out of a conference room in New York, but in another sense they came out of a global funnelling of conversations into one place, in time to become real. There is a real balancing act that the world faces today. I have had the privilege to work with Ms Mohammed for many years. We could not be more fortunate as a world than to have someone with her credibility and talent in that position, and we all owe her gratitude for taking on such responsibility, because as has been discussed, it is so difficult.

But as we move forward, we need to understand that there is a very tight balancing act between the finishing line of the next three years and the convergence that needs to happen, iteratively, towards the following generation. The success of the next three years will beget the success of the following generation. Not to go into it at too much length, but we really need to understand the multiple threads that are under way here, which come together. Ultimately, in my view, this is not just a government conversation today; it is a global conversation. We need to figure out how to make those, with the new technologies of the world, converge as well.

Q50 Chair: Mr Dorward?

Professor Dorward: I am not an expert on the High Level Panel processes, so I will not comment much on that, but I very much agree with Charles that there is a real buzz around civil society, which I observe from the sidelines. We would identify some particular challenges. One is that achieving real bottomup participation is very difficult. It is timeconsuming, and it requires people to step out of their comfort zones. I work particularly in agriculture, and it is very, very difficult to have poor farmers represented. You can find farmer organisations, but it is normally middlelevel farmers who are the leaders in it, who then have the most voice. I do not think that problem is going to be unique to agriculture. There is a real challenge there.

Another challenge is matching the bottomup and the topdown views and processes, and trying to make them meet, and particularly getting the views of middlelevel professionals, who will be the ones actually implementing these matters. One other question here that I think is challenging, and which I have not heard mentioned today, is the question of what the objectives of this process actually are. Is it to mobilise resources? Is it to get political buyin at global level? Is it to improve political buyin at national level? Is it to increase accountability at national level? What are the objectives? Is it all of the above? I would have thought that is a really big question.

There are chicken and egg problems: how do you deal with process objectives and content all at the same time, since they all depend on each other? Which comes first? I do not think that any of them come first, but they all have to be addressed. That relates to another issue, which is something that we have thought about a lot: the question of holism, and trying to have a holistic view that takes account of the interactions between the different goals. This was a weakness of the MDG process, and an understandable one. It is very challenging to try to achieve that holism; it is particularly challenging to try to achieve it in processes of consultation.

Q51 Chair: Thank you for that; those are three different but complementary views. Mr McArthur quite rightly took us through the process of how the MDGs got to where they are today, but to the extent that they are well acknowledged, I suppose, just to pick up your point about what it is for, is it not the case that they gave practical focus to actually delivering measurable improvements in people’s quality of life? Isn’t it about mobilising all the various players to try to deliver something that is concretely improving the lives of poor people? The question is how you mobilise all the right parts, and ensure that the people who are most affected by it have a say in how it is articulated and expressed. Is that fair?

Professor Dorward: I would just like to raise a question there, which is how far there was complete national ownership of the MDGs. It took time, and for example, how far are the MDGs part of China’s policies? That is a big question, because China has its own goals, and China is a very big global player. We have a very different global architecture from what we had in 2000 and in the years immediately following that. That has implications for asking what the goals of the MDG, or International Development Goal, process should be in the future. We also have, as we have heard this morning, a much greater set of issues around the environment. As you said, they have particular problems and difficulties: are they addressed through protocols, through targets, or through resource allocations? Those are quite big questions.

Q52 Mr McCann: My questions lead on from that, gentlemen. There has always been a debate about the aspirational nature of the MDGs, or the practicality of delivering them, and there is a train of thought now, which many people advocate, that the incorporation of human rights should be part of the post2015 framework. Do you buy that, each of you? Do you take on board that argument? Where do you think the balance lies? Do you think that human rights should be incorporated post2015?

Charles Abugre: In many ways, yes; in some ways, be careful. Yes, because if you look at the human rights framework holistically, both the civic and political rights issues and the socio-economic rights, you could say that by an extension of a lot of the current MDG goals, you would be addressing some of the socio-economic rights issues, such as universal access to healthcare and universal access to education, including secondary education, and so on and so forth. It is moving from the minimalist to something broader, ensuring that you do not undermine the basis for human rights principles, addressing issues of discrimination and inequalities, and finding a way to measure those very significant issues of human rights principles that also affect civic and political rights issues, part of which is reflected in the current conversations about what is doable in terms of targets or goals on governance and political freedoms. Some of those elements could meaningfully be reflected in the followup agenda as a bigger exchange.

I said "Be careful," because we could also lose the essence of a global agreement when we frame the issues in such a broad way that we are unable to achieve the issue of concreteness as well. If the principles can feed in to very specific goals and objectives, that will definitely take us forward, and there is that type of discussion. The final issue, of course, on human rights principles is the question of accountability. The accountability question is particularly important, especially when we evaluate MDG 8, for example. Other MDGs have a weak but clearer accountability framework. For MDG 8, or the International Partnership Framework, whatever the future goal is, accountability as a human rights principle would be useful, but again, what does that mean concretely?

Q53 Mr McCann: In a practical sense, does that mean you would differentiate, for example, in terms of human rights, that there should be a commitment in relation to women’s issues, but that it would be more difficult in the sense of the right to health regarding our commitments on HIV and AIDS?

Charles Abugre: It is easier in the right to health, in the sense that you extend it to universal healthcare. There is already a movement building on universal healthcare, seeking to extend the gains of the healthrelated MDGs, and universal education, but also quality and equitable education. On the issues of socio-economic rights, it is much easier to apply the human rights principles. On the civic and political rights agenda, the debate will be more difficult, but the entry point will be on the governance and accountability framework.

John McArthur: I would generally agree with what Charles said. I am of the view that the MDGs have been extremely beneficial to many core human rights, for example the progressive realisation of the right to health, a fundamental tenet of many in the human rights community. We have had dramatic breakthroughs in that area globally. There is another general tension to be navigated on all of these issues, which is goals around areas where we have clear agreement globally, versus goals around areas for which we might want to seek agreement. The example of climate change was raised before. It is somewhat analogous in the nature of the debates, with very different views among different constituencies.

The Millennium Declaration has very clear statements on human rights as preamble, if you will, to the Millennium Development Goals. It is there, but the notion of solving the political rights through a set of goals is quite different. It is also much more difficult around issues of measurement and tracking, which are so central to the Goals’ success. We have seen that where the measurement is tighter as a system, there is a much higher probability of success of the Goals. This also links to the broader discussions around governance, which is in my view one of the other central debates of this discussion: how can notions of accountability be pursued? How might that link to issues of transparency in fiscal matters, which is a common view around the world, even where there are political debates? This has to be managed very carefully, and there is a movement in some quarters to use the goal process to solve the political debates. My view is that we should use the goals to establish targets around areas where there is preexisting agreement, and then diffuse.

I would just add briefly that the MDGs, as we look at history, have what I would call direct effects and indirect effects. The indirect effects are much less appreciated. We have seen things like the fusion of the global MDG campaign and the global health campaign, originally through the AIDS treatment effort. Dr Jim Kim, when he was head of the HIV/AIDS effort, of course, at the World Health Organisation, introduced the "3 by 5" target. It is a great example. This was very controversial at the time in much of officialdom, and we have to remember that at the beginning of 2001, there was no international effort for any treatment. By the end of 2005, the target was 3 million people on treatment. By 2005, roughly 1.4 million were on treatment. They did not even get 50% of the way. However, this was very much of one with the notion of goalbased service delivery targets, and the introduction of that target changed mindsets around what was possible, because only four years previously there was no real effort to do anything. Now today, as at the end of 2011, we have more than 8 million people on treatment.

Even the "3 by 5" goal, which only went halfway there, if you will, was fundamental in changing the way the subsequent scaleup worked, with the Gleneagles agreement and the World Summit agreement for universal access to treatment by 2010. There were spillover effects that changed things, and I would argue even China had a doubling of the rate of decline of child mortality since 2000, which is conceivably linked to a broader global effort to scale up public health services. One cannot say that in a conclusive manner, but it is quite likely. We need to understand how these norms proliferate quite distinctly from the policy mechanisms that are very explicit.

Professor Dorward: I think both of those are very helpful. This is something that in our group we debated quite a lot. We came to the conclusion that we have to put aspirations on the table, and not shy away from difficult things. This, as was mentioned earlier, will be a process of negotiation, and one has to start negotiations putting as much on the table as possible, and then seeing what you can get out of it in the end. Different aspects of human rights should definitely be there, in our view, on the table at the beginning.

Q54 Mr McCann: John, perhaps I can put this directly to you. There is a danger that there is a massive contradiction here. Under the existing MDG framework, some of the targets are based on universal terms, and others are relative. For example, the target for income equality is to halve the number of people living below the poverty line, and by dint of that, we are condemning the other half not to be looked after during the period concerned. Does that not then impinge on the human rights of the other half?

John McArthur: I have two answers to that. One is that the MDGs are put in a nowin situation on this. Even if they help transform the outcomes for half, they will be criticised for the other half not being addressed. The world is quite different today, as many have said, from 2000, when poverty rates in Africa had been going up for a generation and child death rates had been going up throughout the 1990s, for example; there were many problems where the trends were quite terrible. Many of these goals have helped and been part of a deep process of changing the trends.

Keeping in mind the history, where these goals were extracted from the Millennium Declaration, which was a political process speaking largely to the antiglobalisation protests and, after the Asia crisis of 1997 and 1998, at a very profound time of anti-globalisation in many corners of the world, I do believe this was a best effort among diplomats and politicians to pull things together.

What we have now, which we did not have then, is the chance for a more rigorous process, a more consultative process. There were 700 million mobile phone accounts in 2000; of course now there are more than 6 billion. This is a very different global conversation opportunity. There are many imperfections in the way the goals were designed, like primary education but not secondary, which is clearly an imperfection. Over the next couple of years, through the High Level Panel, for which I think a political-visioning process would be my description of its best role, rather than an academic process, there is the opportunity to bring many of these constituencies on to a similar page. We could then see a very clear vision set that is universal.

Some colleagues and I have recommended a simple vision of getting to zero on extreme poverty as at least one central component of the overall agenda. That means minimum standards for humanity by 2030, with explicit targets for every community, subnational unit and country in the world. That would be a universal standard for human rights, and it would be a very interesting and historic achievement for humanity. What needs to go into that vision, and who needs to set their own mechanisms of accountability, inside and outside government, is a very important conversation. I believe there is a lot of scope for creativity around that, and many of us, whether we are in civil society, the research community, or the industry and business community, can start to set quite ambitious processes around this.

One of the other things that is different about the world is that, firstly, it is not strictly bifurcated between highincome and lowincome countries. We know the majority of the poorest people now live in middleincome countries. There is also a lot more, I would say, respect and support for ingenuity in the complements to Government. That is not to minimise the role of Government, which is profound, but to work alongside it. I think that is one of the more exciting threads of discussion that the High Level Panel cannot necessarily answer in the first instance but at least create processes around, and even norms around, where the three cochairs, for example, could convene leaders from all walks of life around the world to set their agenda for this over the next couple of years.

Q55 Mr McCann: A final question, Chair, and it is to all three gentlemen: how should women’s rights be addressed in the post2015 framework? Charles, give John a rest.

Charles Abugre: There are a lot of consultations on that, and we will begin to get that from the gender rights and women’s rights groups as we go along. What I am hearing from the discussions so far is both specific and crosscutting-crosscutting in the sense that, if we took the issues of inequities seriously, the targets set in each goal would include issues to deal with inequities, including gender inequities. If we take food and nutrition, it is not an average that we want. We know enough now about the implications of malnutrition in women, and the impact on children and the rest of their lives, to understand that we need to break that down.

If we address inequities, including gender inequities, in all of these goals, including the income goal, then we would see that, when it comes to certain targets, whether those targets are globally set or nationally set, our challenge would be statistical. How do we invest in the ability to generate the data to demonstrate such things? That is the crosscutting. On every issue of power and powerlessness, when you simply integrate, you lose.

There needs to be a focus on gender inequalities, maybe in an extension of the more political part of the MDGtype goals-the issues of participation in the economy, and the issues of participation in politics and decision-making. But again, it is a statistical thing that we need to invest in, in order to show it. The specific and the crosscutting allow us to address the issue of gender, but also various forms of differentiation that feed back into gender inequalities as well.

Q56 Mr Michael McCann: Andrew, go ahead.

Professor Dorward: Excellent. I agree.

John McArthur: I would too. Again, on this notion of minimum standards for humanity, if we take a notion of zero extreme poverty, broadly defined, it could include child mortality targets for boys and girls, and it could be gender disaggregated on each thing. It would mean thinking systematically about the groups, and it would apply also to many minority groups, which in many parts of the world are dramatically excluded from core services. It is a nice simple framework to tackle a lot of the inequality questions that have many angles of inequality, of which gender is one of the most profound.

We have a challenge coming out of the MDGs. I would call the gender equality target inadequate for tackling many of the challenges. This is ultimately a political conversation. There is no issue where active global debate is more merited, in my view. It is different from child mortality, which is a little more nuts-and-bolts technical; people die for certain reasons. This is more of an autonomy question, or an autonomous set of questions around identity, rights, self, and manifestation of pursuit of the things we all consider of value in a global society. We know that it should be better than past goals.

A big question is how this applies to other countries. It is certainly not just a question of lowincome or middleincome countries. It is equally, in many instances, a question of highincome countries, and of course that is a hot topic of debate in many parts of the world this week. Those are serious issues that merit very serious and intensive global discussion around not only how we pursue these things but how we measure progress against them.

Q57 Chair: A particular point you mentioned was the elimination of absolute poverty by 2030. This is something that the President of the World Bank has indicated he wants the World Bank to consider as a possible objective. That suggests a more common set of goals. Do you think the World Bank is more boughtin this time, or will be more boughtin than was the case before?

John McArthur: I have enormous admiration for Jim-Dr Kim-and I was delighted when I saw him making these comments publicly. Again, I have had the privilege to work with him for many years, in different capacities, and he is very serious about this. At the same time, I tweeted, "Remarkable that this even merits a headline," in response to the news that the World Bank is considering focusing on extreme poverty and ending extreme poverty. I think it was the Financial Times. That speaks, in my view, to a bit of drift in the governance of that institution, and this links back to points on accountability. One of the challenges around the Millennium Development Goals that my colleagues and I spent a couple of years on was the financing estimates-what it might cost to achieve these goals. We spent a couple of years on bottomup assessments of several countries, best guess. It was in the order of 0.54% of rich country GNP by 2015.

Of course we are nowhere near that, and also we know that the famous, historic Gleneagles commitments of 2005, as an aggregate, fell short by more than $10 billion. We know that the L’Aquila commitments of the G8 and G20 in 2009 have fallen short. That puts colleagues at the World Bank in a very difficult position as a financial institution. My own view is that, in looking at the Bank, this has to be a conversation at the staff level. It is important that their board is asking them for ideas. It is a management issue to help provide the leadership.

The management of the Bank has been quite politically committed to these goals, but also the boards, the members, and the shareholders have a real responsibility to drive the agenda as well, because there is a reporting relationship. Bank staff are ultimately operating within the financial constraints of their shareholders that are handed down to them. This is, in my view, underappreciated, because that often leads to a suppression of discussion of true need. It would be an enormous service to the world if we can have a more amplified discussion called for, even if it is a matter of saying, "How far could we get, if there were more support?" or, "What would it look like to release the bottlenecks to get this job done?"

I would just add that we have to keep in mind that the previous President of the United States did not say the words "Millennium Development Goals" publicly until September 2005, and his Ambassador to the UN tried to eliminate the Millennium Development Goals from the international system in August 2005. This was not a 100% conducive environment. But the Goals were so strong and so resonant, and then Prime Minister Blair and at the time Chancellor Brown, and so many others, provided tremendous leadership, with many others, to keep it on the agenda. We have to see this never as a predetermined set of processes, but as an iterative set of processes, where a partnership strategy of political leaders from different constituencies and different corners of the world can be extremely effective, if they approach it with a very persistent mindset.

Q58 Hugh Bayley: I was very impressed with the way Charles focused on the need to address inequalities. I am sure the Millennium Development Goals have, in catalysing change, done more good than harm, but it is undoubtedly the case that, if you set relativistic goals, you will increase inequality. There is no incentive to raise somebody from 50 cents per day to 90 cents a day, because you do not receive a tick in the MDG box. You concentrate on the people with 90 cents a day, and bringing them up to 100. This process has to look ruthlessly at the intended and unintended consequences of the MDGs. For instance, "3 by 5" was great for generating medication for people with HIV and AIDS, but it was pretty bad news for a whole-health-system approach.

If we are going to set targets for post2015 and do not address the issue of reducing inequality, it seems to me we will perpetuate some of the downside of the MDGs. It is easy to say, but it is very difficult to do, so perhaps I should start with the economist here. You obviously need, as Charles suggests, to focus on women, to focus on ethnic minorities, to focus on the very poor, lowcaste people, and so on. But how do you construct goals that will address inequality? Some universal goals will, but some may not have that effect.

Professor Dorward: I do not know that I have answers. What Charles said is that one sets goals that focus on those for whom they are most important, which will be those who are at the bottom. One does not necessarily set boundaries to cross, but one sets shifts to make in which everyone is included. Relative shifts, "reduce the proportion" and things like that, are not particularly helpful. Achieving particular standards is more useful than changing proportions.

Then one comes up with the huge practical problem that different countries have different resources, and different extents of problems. There is the well known problem of, if you like, not so much a moving of the goalposts but the African goalposts being set an awful lot further back than the goalposts of other countries on other continents. A very important principle here is disaggregation, and also subsidiarity, so that working towards particular targets, countries are able to set their own goals that reflect priorities between different sectors and different goals, and reflect also the availability of resources and the likelihood of being able to achieve things. More subsidiarity allows and encourages more local ownership, local buyin, and allows the possibility of a more equitable focus.

Q59 Hugh Bayley: I am encouraged by that approach, but I would not want to create a series of targets that allow countries-I am going to stereotype here-with autocratic Governments that are not particularly interested in poverty alleviation to say, "We are setting local targets." I am going to be very cynical here, but those will be targets that do not address rural poverty. Following Andrew’s comments, first of all, does it make sense within each target or goal to add a coda that says, "And in doing so, to reduce inequality in access to healthcare," or whatever? Does it make sense to put an inequality and equality framework around each area of work? That is the first question.

Secondly, following Andrew’s suggestion that you might have a different set of goals-he called it subsidiarity-in different parts of the world and different countries, it has long occurred to me that if you want to address absolute poverty in Mozambique, shall we say, you need donor countries to fund access to a basic universal healthcare system, and access to universal primary and perhaps secondary education; but in India, you do not need outsiders to do it. Somebody said that there are more poor people in middleincome countries than in poor countries, but the difference between Mozambique and India is that if there is a political will in India, the Government of India can redistribute from a middle class that is bigger than the whole of the population of the European Union to people who are poorer.

To what extent should you set funding responsibilities from the international community for the poorest countries as well as internal redistribution priorities to address inequality for middle-income and richer countries? I take that point as well.

Charles Abugre: On an earlier question, Andrew made the point about what the objective of all of this really is. Clearly there are multiple objectives, and he outlined them. One of the important things is that they offer one more opportunity and space for conversations between citizens and state, citizens and their Government. It does not resolve everything, it is not the only one, but it is an important space that feeds into a global space. Inequality is one of these issues that clearly require a political consensus to address it. It requires a coalition, politically, in any country to address it. It is more than simply targets.

The hope is that, as this issue becomes part of the discussion, we all realise, as more work is being done, that the inequalities affect us differently but similarly in many ways. It affects our ability to develop our economies, to keep ourselves in relative peace and harmony, and so many things that we now know from research. The way that I see it, for example, would be giving the political opportunity to discuss this. Target setting is actually national, in my view. Goal setting could be global, in my view, but if you can encourage goal setting, and maybe one layer of target setting that also addresses inequalities, then each country level discusses what that actually means in terms of the reality of their context.

If there is a broad goal on addressing inequalities, then we can have a shared understanding of what we mean by the inequalities and we can start to work on the data issues, which means that we are looking at a multiple approach to reporting on inequalities. Doing something about that in terms of resource allocation is then part of the political consensus. Now there is always a role for the international community in terms of international finance and development assistance, but as John was saying, we are in a different situation, where, increasingly, most countries can do a lot more than they are currently doing, or were able to do from 2005.

That is the political consensus. It is also the reason why, in my view, this ought to be truly global; addressing inequalities and differentiations remaining in our society is for all countries. Many developing countries will find encouragement in not only being told to address their inequalities but in seeing also that the richer countries have committed themselves to addressing their own differentiations as part of the global agenda. Then, I think, it is doable.

John McArthur: This is a very tricky issue, because even the word inequality has so many different connotations in different parts of the world. However, this is fast evolving. In the United States, where this would not have been a common conversation, you are seeing real public debates over inequality for maybe the first time in a generation or more. My general view is that the goals should go as far as the politics allows. At the same time, I would argue that this has often been misunderstood in the context of the MDGs. What we have seen in the MDGs in practice is much more emphasis on universal access and systems building.

I have a slightly different read, again, on the HIV debates, because what we saw is that the notion of needing to deliver pills drew extraordinary attention to the need for broader health systems, and in that process we have seen an apex model where there has been a fanning out of investments and prioritisation, to the extent that we now have a major global effort around community health workers and frontline health workers, as a low-cost delivery mechanism. Similarly, as the efforts for infectious disease and child mortality were making so much progress, the goal for maternal mortality stood out that much more for its stagnation, and then in 2008 we saw a big global push on maternal mortality, which of course hinges on health systems. Even the malaria control effort was based on universal access to long-lasting, insecticidetreated nets-universal access.

In practice I have seen very few instances of people going for the cheap, inequalityenhancing option. What I have more commonly seen is that often, semiparadoxically, it is cheaper to go for the easiest cases, like the expansion of immunisations, so that has been where people have gone first, because it is quite low cost to go after the very first level of service delivery in some instances. This has to be appreciated as more layered than often discussed. I would also agree with the notion of thinking through this in terms of building on the programmes of universal access, and then to the extent that the politics can handle the word "inequality", loaded as it might be, the world community is more ready for that conversation than it has been for quite some time. That is an important attribute of this.

Q60 Chris White: Thank you for that comprehensive answer. What do you think should be included in the post2015 framework? Do you think there is a danger of trying to include so much that the framework becomes overly complex?

Professor Dorward: That is the big question, isn’t it?

Chris White: Yes.

Professor Dorward: It should try to be as holistic as possible. I would favour having main themes. We as a group put together a proposal that had something like 12 main themes, but instead of having three on health, it had one on health. But we have to address other things, like climate change. We have to think about population stabilisation, water, communications; these are critical things that were not in the MDGs or were in the MDGs "light", if you like. These things need to be there, and I would suggest the simplification comes from having some overarching sets of goals. We have proposed something like wellbeing; stunting is another potentially very useful one, because so many things feed in to stunting. Underneath that you have these different areas, if you like, but there will be different priorities in different countries as to which of those areas they should focus on, depending on where they are furthest behind or most problematic.

Q61 Chris White: Do you think that a simplification, or your suggestion for simplification, could lead to a lack of focus?

Professor Dorward: It could do, yes. Another problem is that the MDGs have been politically successful because they are easy to grasp and communicate. If you have too many areas, then you lose that simplicity. But that also has led to gaps, and there is the old problem of whether, as the world moves on, you can put things out in order to bring other things in, or whether you just bring other things in. It is quite difficult to push out many, if any, of the things in the current MDGs, but we know there are some things that need to come in.

By dealing with an overarching goal or measure, like wellbeing or stunting, which is very good measurabilitywise and in its links to other things, and making that a focus, and then allowing this question of global goals and national targets, which I think is very helpful-and those national targets would be targets for how to work towards and contribute to the global goals-you address to some extent your problem of particular countries, in a sense, opting out.

Q62 Chris White: Do you think it will be more difficult to measure progress under these terms?

Professor Dorward: How do we measure progress at the moment? We have these particular goals and targets, and there are three or four targets for most of the goals. You are getting up to quite a large number of goals, and then we pick them out selectively: MDG 1 receives possibly the most attention; gender does not receive as much attention. We already have some selfselection coming in there. That is probably inevitable. The danger then is that you have a selfselection that is not appropriate to particular countries, which is where this country stuff is important.

Q63 Chris White: That is a fair comment. Just while we are on the theme of the framework, where would you see employment, or adequate levels of employment, being there?

Professor Dorward: I would put it in terms of livelihoods and people’s incomes. That links in with poverty levels in terms of incomes. It also links in with food, because food prices are so critical to people’s real incomes, and so I would see those things coming in there. I would bring a lot together under a livelihoods headline. If you were to quiz me on how we could have a livelihoods goal, I would have to say, "Let me go away and think for a few months."

Q64 Chris White: You have answered my question, thank you. Would you like to add to that?

John McArthur: I would just add that I have spent the past 10 years explaining the Millennium Development Goals to people, and by the time I get to Goal 5, the eyes glaze. We have to appreciate that there is a carrying capacity for advocacy. We have eight goals right now, some of which are highly specific and highly quantified in targets, some of which not. My view is that they all should be, and so that is a criterion for including anything. But there is a bit of a magic number issue in terms of how many we can have as goals. I agree that there should be a straightforward goal of basic health for all, with proper targets under that. There should be a basic goal of basic education for all, with proper targets under that. Whatever the outcome of this global political process is, it does truly, sincerely, seriously need to worry about how many items there are on the agenda. That will matter with enormous consequence. It is a dilution effect. I would not go to more than 10, for sure, but I would like to keep it close to eight if possible, because that will help.

At the same time, I want to come back to the notion of subsidiarity. The basic answer here is that it depends on how the global goals are framed. If the global goals are framed as some common standard, then by all means it makes total sense to have every country figure out their targets so that they are locally actionable. It is very important that they are actionable and monitorable at the local level. If the global vision is very vague, such as, "Incorporate the principles of sustainable development into national strategies," then we can predict how that will turn out. We need to make sure that there is, in my recommendation, a crisp vision with ample scope for the "how to". One of the reasons that the Millennium Goals were so effective is that they were agnostic on the "how to". It is often an underappreciated point, but we do need an extra layer, because the local discussion has to be specific on what it is going to do.

Charles Abugre: I just wanted to add, from the intergovernmental discussions I have been involved in in Africa, there is much less contention. We have to achieve all of the goals in the end, even the goal of addressing disparities and inequalities, politically, at that level, as distinct from national level. Then there are the socalled enablers-the question of "how to". The main critique of the MDGs by many African Governments, although they were also probably the ones who bought into them the most, is that somehow or other they have tended also to undermine their key enabler, or did not enforce them, which is structurally changing their economies.

This is a bigger thing than growth, for example. It is more like: "We want to get out of primary commodity dependence. We want to diversify our economies. We want to build bigger local capacity for business. We want our civil service to be more equipped and stronger, not reduced and weak." This enablerlevel discussion is probably the hottest issue to deal with. Whether they are appropriate for global-level agreement, I am not sure, because there is also buyin to the subsidiarity issue. The balance of goals, however, must be set such that they are not seen to undermine the building of more holistic societies, in a way that many would interpret some of the MDGs to have done, in the sense that they biased the way societies are built with the limited resources that they have, and things like that, and the planning process.

Q65 Richard Burden: You may have covered this already, so my apologies for not being here for the early part of the session. Listening to discussion so far, which seems to be crystallising around a comprehensive but nevertheless limited-it sounds like I am contradicting myself-number of goals but with regional or local or national differentiation around targets or semitargets below that, the question that was coming into my head, and has been done in some of the discussions on the High Level Panel and so on, is the question of governance: about where that appears, and whether it should appear, as a goal or a target, across the board or differentiated.

You may have answered this question already, but Human Rights Watch, for example, have said political participation and freedom of speech should be there in the framework and should be part of the process that answers the "how to" question you have been talking about. What are your thoughts on that?

John McArthur: Charles? We did talk about this a little bit, and Charles gave a good answer.

Charles Abugre: I have two things from what you said. On the issue of political participation, I do not know how this will eventually fan out. I am sure that if we go back to the Millennium Declaration, from which the MDGs are partially derived, it is the vision of a world in which development, peace, security and political participation are clearly spelled out. In a sense we are not starting afresh in that discussion. If you go back to the Millennium Declaration as the starting point, the question is whether this then translates into overarching shared principles, or specific goals. If they become shared principles, that is already there. We can scale it up; we can highlight it. If it is about goals, Andrew said he favours putting everything on the table so we can have a good debate, including political participation, political freedom, and civic and political rights, those issues. But we know that we would then have a tough negotiation. It is about treatment as opposed to whether or not the world has addressed them one way or another.

The only thing I also wanted to add is: at governmental level, where do you approach this, countrywide? In the consultation process, the difficulties we are seeing come from the absence of an interministerial approach to this. The absence of an interministerial approach means that it ends up being a planning activity, with the finance ministry being the closest partner. That means that everything to do with building the democratic framework for development becomes difficult to feed in to the nationallevel consultation in that sense.

Also, at the regional level, the particular set of political entities that tend to have the least support are the ministers of public services and the ministries of public services-the entities that support the civil service structure and deliver services. In terms of an implementation framework, I would say that we do need to think carefully about interministerial approaches on public services for the right to services. On the issue of political freedom, it already exists; the debate is whether we can frame them as specific goals that we can measure, or escalate them as overarching principles.

Q66 Chair: Mr McArthur, you said that you wanted no more than 10, and you thought they should be quantifiable. Some of the written evidence we have had, for example from CAFOD, says that we have already agreed the MDGs, although the current ones are slightly disparate and some are different in terms of their information from others. What they are saying is that nobody has said how you should achieve them. It will vary country to country, but do you think they should?

The particular example that is given is that you set an objective, and you have articulated an even stronger one, to eliminate or reduce absolute poverty. But it may not be a country’s fault, if they are afflicted by disaster, or crop failure, or climate change, that they do not achieve it. Should there be something in there that says what they should and should not have done, and indeed, if they cannot achieve it, whose responsibility it is?

John McArthur: These are great questions. My recommendation would be not to get into the weeds on how to do these things, for a couple of reasons. One, there are principles of sovereignty, and countries should have their scope to do things as they want, and there are enough differences in how the societies that are involved here are organised around the world that I think it is very reasonable for them to have their own approaches.

A second reason, very fundamentally, is technology. Technologies are changing dramatically in many areas that are relevant. There are many technologies today that are considered frontline and normal that 10 to 15 years ago were not even developed or certainly normal. That will probably continue to be the case in many areas that we have not thought through, and they will change how services are delivered. That is exciting, but also hard to predict.

My general view would be, firstly, to keep it to the fundamentals of what we are trying to achieve. This is ultimately a diplomatic process, not a scientific process at the global level. Secondly, this question of whom to hold responsible is a very deep one. Ultimately we live in a networked world, with systems of joint accountability, and it is very difficult to give attribution for success to any particular individual or organisation.

Q67 Chair: They have no difficulty in claiming it.

John McArthur: Exactly. Often, many deserve it, but there are also individual failures, and there are profound points here: if a child dies for lack of a pill, it is noone’s fault, but if a child dies for a bad pill, someone loses their job. We have an asymmetry in how the world deals with these things, which is a deep injustice. We need more accountability in the international system, where people have delivery targets for the organisations they run. We also need to understand-and in the UN Millennium Project we recommended-that the countrylevel strategy should be very explicit, where the local government would say, "Here is our part," the international system would say, "Here is our part," and the donor community, where that was pertinent, would say, "Here is our part," and be explicit about it. That is remarkably difficult to do-to put that basic logic of accountability into these structures.

That is why it was such a victory, as simple as it might seem, to say, "Let each country be empowered to craft its own strategy as the centrepiece to achieve these goals," in 2005, as imperfect as that has been. Who in the G8 should be held accountable for the Gleneagles shortcomings in 2010? That is a deep question. Who in the ministries of health of the countries that do not have the $10 billion should be held accountable for scenario planning around whether the donor community follows through or not? That is another very complicated question. I do not know whether they can be perfectly solved, but we can add many layers of transparency, with sunlight as disinfectant, so that we at least avoid the downward spiral blame games of people pointing their fingers at each other, saying, "It is everyone’s fault," which it often is not.

Q68 Chair: That is a very reasonable answer. What we and the Panel will be wrestling with over the next period of time is how you split the difference between very high aspirations and very practical delivery, and then the subdivision of what that means in practical policies. As a Committee, for example, when the Department for International Development produced in its Annual Report a series of traffic lights showing what the Millennium Development Goal performance was country by country, what they did not do initially, until we pressed them to do so, was explain how they thought the UK Government’s policies were affecting the colour of the traffic light. Otherwise they were not accepting the linkage. These are things that will be interesting to explore.

We very much appreciate the evidence you have submitted, both in writing and in coming here, and as I said to the other panellists, and always do say, this is a process that we are continuing with; if you have any reflections after this that you think would be helpful to us, comments or additional thoughts, please feel free to contribute them. We would be very happy to receive them. Obviously we hope that this interaction will help us produce something that is not just interesting to Parliament but useful to the process.

John McArthur: If I may just offer one very quick idea to be tabled for consideration: we have talked about these three cochairs, and the role they play. I believe this might be one of the first parliamentary discussions on these issues, and I congratulate the Committee for the leadership. It is extraordinary what this country is doing. At the same time, there is a need for balance between this country as a leader on the highincome side, Indonesia as a fastgrowing, emerging middleincome country, Liberia as a fragile state. It is a pretty remarkable crosssection of the issues that are coming up here. It might even be interesting to collaborate with your fellow parliamentarians in the different countries to discuss their perspectives on these issues. One of the things we tried to stimulate, and on which the Millennium Campaign has worked a lot, is translating discussions from the Administrations to the Parliaments, and a lot of great ideas might come out of that at the constituency level.

Hugh Bayley: May I answer this point? You are absolutely right, but it is also essential that the process engages in its outreach with parliamentarians, not as an afterthought but as one of the buildingblocks.

Q69 Chair: I would agree with that. All I was going to say was that, as far as this Committee is concerned, you are obviously speaking to the converted. We are parliamentarians, and we like to engage with parliamentarians wherever we can. I would also say that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the International Parliamentary Union are quite active in this area, and quite often organise some really quite useful meetings of parliamentarians. They often bring them here; people seem to like to come to London for seminars, and that gives us a chance to engage. It is a very good point.

We obviously do not have the capacity or the resources to travel around to all those places, but we can, in a variety of other ways, ensure that exchange. It is a very fair point, and it is one that we are very keen to try to explore. Maybe we should think about whether there is anything more we can do to encourage even online participation from other parliamentarians. Perhaps on the particular point you make, we should make a specific enquiry of the Parliaments of Liberia and Indonesia and invite them to submit something.

John McArthur: That is what I was suggesting, just to keep it manageable.

Chair: Thank you very much for that very useful suggestion. Thanks a lot.

Prepared 21st January 2013