1 Introduction |
1. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were
launched by the UN General Assembly in 2001 and cover such areas
as extreme poverty (i.e. living on less than US$1.25 per day),
primary education, child and maternal mortality, and HIV/AIDS.
They have had great influence with policy makers in both developed
and developing countries, as well as with civil society.
The MDGs will expire in 2015; what will replace them
to be of fundamental importance.
The Millennium Development Goals
2. The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
were launched in 2001.
Each MDG is supported by underlying targets and indicators: in
most cases, the target date is 2015. The MDGs, together with some
of the most prominent targets, are listed in Box 1; for a full
list of the underlying targets and indicators, see Annex 1.
|The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
- MDG 1 - Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (targets include halving, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day)
- MDG 2 - Achieve universal primary education
- MDG 3 - Promote gender equality and empower women
- MDG 4 - Reduce child mortality
- MDG 5 - Improve maternal health (targets include reducing by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio)
- MDG 6 - Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- MDG 7 - Ensure environmental sustainability (targets include halving, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation)
- MDG 8 - Develop a global partnership for development
list of MDG indicators, effective 15 January 2008, www.un.org.
3. The MDGs were themselves derived from the
Millennium Declaration, a broad-based document adopted by the
General Assembly of the United Nations on 8 September 2000.
The key components of the Millennium Declaration are shown in
|Key components of the Millennium Declaration
- A declaration of fundamental values, including freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature, and shared responsibility.
- Sections on the following topics:
- Peace, security and disarmament;
- Development and poverty eradication;
- Protecting our common environment;
- Human rights, democracy and good governance;
- Protecting the vulnerable;
- Meeting the special needs of Africa;
- Strengthening the United Nations.
from United Nations Millennium Declaration, Resolution adopted
by the General Assembly, 18 September 2000, www.un.org
The UN High-level Panel
4. In May 2012, the UN Secretary-General announced
his intention to establish a High-level Panel of Eminent Persons
on the Post-2015 Development Agenda to be co-chaired by Prime
Minister David Cameron, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia,
and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia.
The Prime Minister is supported in his role as co-Chair by a cross-Whitehall
Committee of officials, including representatives from DFID, DEFRA,
DECC, FCO and the Cabinet Office.
5. Subsequently the Panel was established, and
its full membership announced, in July 2012. The role of the High-level
Panel is to present a report making recommendations on the nature
of the post-2015 development frameworkin other words, the
successor to the MDGs.
The formal Terms of Reference for the Panel are set out in Annex
'Sustainable Development Goals'
6. The importance of sustainable development
has long been recognised. In 1992, eight years before the MDGs
were launched, the United Nations held a major conference on the
subject in Rio de Janeiro.
In June 2012, on the twentieth anniversary of that conference,
the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio
+20) took place. At this conference, separately from the post-2015
process outlined above, it was agreed to establish 'Sustainable
Development Goals' (SDGs). The Rio+20 'outcome document' stated
that an Open Working Group of thirty geographically representative
members (nominated by UN Member States via the five UN Regional
Groups) would be created with a view to drawing up SDGs.
7. This process, which is being overseen by the
UN Permanent Representative of Brazil,
has encountered significant delays. The Open Working Group was
due to be set up in September 2012,
yet its membership was not announced until December 2012.
8. The task of the Open Working Group will be
to draw up the SDGs, and to report back to the UN General Assembly
during its 68th session (between September 2013 and
Amina Mohammed, the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on
Post-2015 Development Planning, stated in her evidence to us that:
'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.'
9. This inquiry represents a departure from our
usual work: rather than holding DFID to account for its existing
work, we are seeking to contribute to a broader debate around
future priorities. As a Committee, we regard the post-2015 debate
as being of fundamental importance to the future of international
development. This, together with the presence of the British Prime
Minister in such a prominent role, was the key reason behind our
decision to undertake this inquiry.
10. Following this inquiry, we intend to remain
engaged with the post-2015 development process. In the coming
months, we will be publishing relevant reports on violence against
women and girls and on DFID's programme in Pakistan, with a major
focus on education. During the remainder of this Parliament, we
will be conducting a longer-term inquiry into the future of UK
11. Our report begins (Chapter 2) with a more
detailed exploration of the processes by which the post-2015 development
goals are being developed and the consultations which are being
undertaken. In Chapter 3, we consider what the overarching purpose
of the new goals should be, including consideration of the extent
to which development should be integrated with issues of environmental
sustainability. In Chapter 4, we assess the potential content
of the post-2015 framework. In doing so, our intention is not
to be prescriptive, but to set out some broad issues to be borne
in mind when the framework is being developed. Finally, in Chapter
5, we assess the potential structure of the new framework, including
a consideration of the role of targets and indicators.
12. We received 82 pieces of written evidence
from a wide range of individuals and organisations. Some submissions
addressed the issues very broadly; others focused on particular
areas of expertise (Action for Global Health UK, for example,
focused on health issues).
We also held three oral evidence sessions. Witnesses at the oral
sessions included Amina Mohammed, the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General
on Post-2015 Development Planning; Rt Hon Justine Greening MP,
the Secretary of State for International Development; Michael
Anderson, the Special Envoy to the Prime Minister on the Development
Goals; and leading academics and non-governmental organisations
(NGOs). Finally, we are grateful to Claire Melamed, of the Overseas
Development Institute, for serving as our Specialist Adviser to
this inquiry, and for providing us with invaluable guidance.
1 Q 49 Back
Official list of MDG indicators, effective 15 January 2008, www.un.org.
A small number of the underlying targets have target dates other
than 2015: see Chapter 5. Back
Road map towards the implementation of the United Nations Millennium
Declaration, Report of the Secretary-General, 6 September 2001,
United Nations Millennium Declaration, Resolution adopted by the
General Assembly, 18 September 2000, www.un.org Back
Secretary-General's briefing at Informal Meeting of the General
Assembly, United Nations, 9 May 2012, www.un.org Back
Q 103 Back
UN Secretary-General Appoints High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development
Agenda, United Nations, 31 July 2012, www.un.org. Back
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED),
Earth Summit, United Nations: Sustainable Development Knowledge
Platform, www.un.org Back
The Future We Want, UN Resolution A/RES/66/288, 27 July 2012,
Q 11 Back
Q 109 Back
Open Working Group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development
Goals: draft decision submitted by the President of the General
Assembly, 20 December 2012, www.post2015.org Back
The Future We Want, UN Resolution A/RES/66/288, 27 July 2012,
Q 11 Back
Ev w5-9 Back