3 Post-2015 Development Goals: the
29. There is widespread agreement that the MDGs
have been, broadly speaking, a success. At the same time, progress
on some of the Goals has been limited, and there is a need to
address additional areas which the MDGs neglected. This chapter
addresses these issues in more detail.
Building on the MDGs
30. It is generally accepted that the MDGs since
their launch have provided a useful focal point for development
a) In his written evidence, Lawrence Haddad argues
that the MDGs have led to an increase in levels of Official Development
Assistance (ODA), and an increase in the proportion of ODA which
is directed towards sub-Saharan Africa.
b) He also argues that some donor countriesparticularly
Scandinavian countrieshave placed great emphasis on the
c) Moreover, the simplicity and measurability
of the MDGs has enabled them to resonate with people and governments
across the world (see Chapter 5).
d) In her oral evidence, Eveline Herfkens, former
Minister of Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, told us
It has been so important for the goals that they
were signed on to by every head of state and head of government
in every country in the world. The empowerment of civil society
in developing countries comes from the fact that their own government,
at the highest level, has signed on to it.
31. The MDG targets to halve the proportion of
people living in extreme poverty and to halve the proportion of
people without safe drinking water have been achieved already;
there has also been significant progress towards the targets for
completion of primary education; and gender equality in primary
and secondary education. It should be noted, however, that targets
are global in scope, rather than relating to specific countries.
As such, progress against MDG targets can mask significant inequalities
between countries. Broadly speaking, progress has been strong
in East Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean; less
strong in South Asia; and weakest of all in Sub-Saharan Africa.
32. Moreover, progress towards some other MDGs
is significantly off-track. In particular, progress towards the
targets for infant mortality, maternal mortality and sanitation
is lagging. In these
areas, there will be considerable 'unfinished business' to address
33. One of the key purposes
of the post-2015 framework must be to build on the successes of
the MDGs and where necessary to 'finish the job'. The successes
of the MDG framework derived primarily from the fact that the
MDGs had great resonance around the world: with governments, with
civil society organisations and with ordinary people. If the post-2015
framework is to achieve similar success, it must retain these
Interaction with 'Sustainable
Development Goals' process
34. There is much discussion about the extent
to which the new goals should differ from the MDGs. This debate
has implications for the content of the new framework (see Chapter
4), but it also has broader implications. More specifically, there
is a debate as to whether the post-2015 'development' agenda should
be merged with the 'sustainability' agenda. This, in effect, would
entail merging the post-2015 framework with the 'Sustainable Development
Goals' (see Introduction).
35. The Gates Foundation argues that the new
framework should 'have extreme poverty as its core focus.'
It has been reported that some organisations are reluctant to
see the agendas merged, for fear that this core focus might be
lost. CAFOD, in spite of its own support for a merged framework,
acknowledges that 'A lack of trust in the international system,
coupled with successive disappointments at international summits,
has left key governments with little confidence that an integrated
process will deliver their priorities.'
Additionally, the Brazilian and Egyptian representatives at the
UN have argued that there should in fact be two separate sets
36. However, the majority view is that the end
result should be one combined set of global goals, covering both
post-2015 and sustainability agendas.
Paul Ladd, Head of Team on Post-2015 at the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP), argued that:
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.
Furthermore, in his evidence to us Lawrence Haddad,
Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), argued
we now [...] recognise that there are trade-offs
between generations and we somehow have to deal with the inequality
within generations, at the same time as we are dealing with it
across generations. If you have two ways of reducing poverty
that are equally effective and one uses less resources than the
other one, you need to know which one is using less resources
and do it.
37. Integration of the two agendas need not necessarily
mean having a specific 'sustainability' goal within the post-2015
framework. Instead, it might mean including sustainability as
a component part of all the post-2015 goals. Lawrence Haddad,
of the Institute of Development Studies, suggested that resource
use and emissions should be factored into each individual goal.
Others have suggested the concept of 'planetary boundaries'i.e.
'the environmental limits which human activities should stay within.'
In its written evidence, the ESRC Social, Technological and Environmental
Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre argues that 'Planetary
boundaries can be understood as defining a 'safe operating space'
for humanity within which development goals must assist societies
to steer.' The Planetary
Boundaries Initiative, in its written evidence, suggests a number
of possible goals based on this concept, such as the following:
the goal could be an adequate supply of safe drinking
water for all, achieved within the local and regional boundary
for freshwater appropriation for each area. According to the recent
'GEO5' report (p97) the planetary boundary for human consumptive
blue water usehen used groundwater and surface water is
not made available for reuse in the same basinis estimated
to be 4 000 km3 per year, with current consumptive
blue water use estimated at approximately 2 600 km3
38. We recommend that issues
of sustainability be incorporated into the post-2015 framework.
Poverty reduction and environmental sustainability are intimately
connected: the task of the present generation is to meet development
challenges without compromising the interests of future generations.
As such, we believe that the arguments for merging the two agendas
are stronger than the arguments for having two separate sets of
goals. One option would be to include one specific goal on sustainability
issues in the post-2015 framework. Ideally, however, sustainability
should be included as a component part of a number of the post-2015
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