Post-2015 Development Goals - International Development Committee Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

Post-2015 Development Goals: the process

1.  Even if the High-level Panel's secretariat had been appointed on time it would have had much less time and far fewer staff than the Commission for Africa secretariat. The High-level Panel's conclusions and recommendations are therefore less likely to have secured international political 'buy-in' before they are published. It is imperative to win international commitments to implement post-2015 development goals and we recommend that the UK retain its cross-Whitehall Committee of officials which has supported the Prime Minister in his role as co-Chair as well as trying to seek international agreement with the other co-Chairs to keep a UN secretariat in place until the UN General Assembly agrees the post-2015 development agenda. (Paragraph 15)

2.  We accept that the High-level Panel wishes to hold some of its meetings in private. However, it is regrettable that no notes of such meetings are available to the public. In an age where transparency is increasingly important, publishing a note of meetings would have helped to achieve public 'buy-in'. (Paragraph 18)

3.  We know that the High-level Panel's report will be followed by an intergovernmental process, but it is currently unclear what form this process will take or how the Panel and its secretariat will mobilise and lobby internationally to win political support for its proposals. To ensure that the current levels of momentum and public interest are not lost, we hope that this uncertainty can be resolved as soon as possible. We urge our Prime Minister, and the Panel, to set out clear proposals for an international campaign to secure support for the Panel's proposals during the intergovernmental process. (Paragraph 20)

4.   Following publication of the High-level Panel's report, the Prime Minister and his fellow panellists should focus on building international political support for its recommendations with a view to ensuring that they are incorporated in the post-2015 framework. To this end, it will be important to engage with heads of government from both donor countries and developing countries. (Paragraph 21)

5.  The UK Government, during its Presidency of the G8 in 2013, should encourage its fellow G8 members to make further, specific commitments to development. (Paragraph 22)

6.  It is vital that the post-2015 development framework reflects the needs of the poorest. We welcome the many consultation processes which have been launched: such processes will help the world's poor to contribute to the debate. We commend DFID for providing funding for the 'Participate' and 'My World' initiatives. As the post-2015 process continues to develop, during and beyond the lifetime of the High-level Panel, the outcomes of these consultations should be taken fully into account. We urge the Prime Minister and the High-level Panel's other members to remain engaged with the process after their report is published and to continue to mobilise public opinion and to press Heads of Government to support their post-2015 agenda. (Paragraph 28)

Post-2015 Development Goals: the purpose

7.  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 qualities. (Paragraph 33)

8.  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 goals. (Paragraph 38)

Post-2015 Development Goals: potential content

9.  We share the Prime Minister's belief that good governance is fundamental to development, and we believe that the issue must be included in the post-2015 framework. The Prime Minister has defined the 'Golden Thread' in a number of different ways. We recommend that the Prime Minster give a clear and consistent definition of what he means by the 'Golden Thread' in response to this report given its importance in his thinking on the post-2015 framework and goals. We also feel that the 'Golden Thread' would be strengthened by the inclusion of issues such as empowerment, fairness and collectivity. The Prime Minister should consider incorporating these issues. (Paragraph 44)

10.  There is a strong argument that post-2015 framework should include one overarching goal on health based on Universal Health Coverage, rather than the three health-related goals which feature in the original MDGs. This should be done is such a way that the current vital emphasis on maternal and child mortality is not lost. (Paragraph 47)

11.  Job creation is one of the most crucial of all development challenges. Whilst the issue of employment was included in the original MDG framework, it was insufficiently prominent and failed to capture the public imagination. In the post-2015 framework, the task will be to design an employment 'goal' which captures the imagination of people around the world. (Paragraph 50)

12.  Whilst primary education is important, this Committee has found in its work over several years in this Parliament and the last that secondary education is equally critical to development. Under the post-2015 framework education targets should cover primary enrolment, primary completion, secondary education and quality of education. (Paragraph 52)

13.   If poor countries are to build their capacity to grow their economies and provide public services, they will require more people with high quality technical and vocational qualifications and more graduates. Therefore, as the post-2015 framework is developed, the importance of tertiary education should be actively considered. (Paragraph 53)

Post-2015 Development Goals: potential structure

14.  We warmly welcome the Prime Minister's commitment to 'getting to zero' on extreme poverty. We firmly agree that this should be one of the new Goals. Whilst this is ambitious, for the first time in human history it is also achievable. (Paragraph 58)

15.  We believe that advancing the rights of women, especially with regards to education, health, land ownership, family planning and protection against early marriage, is central to development. These rights should be explicitly set out in quantitative detail in the post-2015 framework. (Paragraph 61)

16.  Given the incidence of disability, especially in poor developing countries, a high priority should be given both to the prevention of disabilities and to rights, including political empowerment, for people with disabilities. (Paragraph 62)

17.  There is room for improvement in the means by which progress is measured. Under the MDGs, the tendency to assess progress by means of national averages has allowed great disparities (such as those between women and men, or between particular regions of a country) to be hidden. Under the post-2015 framework, data should be broken down ('disaggregated') by gender and region, and by other variables as appropriate. (Paragraph 64)

18.  The development of robust targets and indicators will be a key determinant of the success of the new framework. We agree with the comments made by Michael Anderson, the Prime Minister's Special Envoy on the Development Goals: UK institutions such as the Overseas Development Institute and the Institute of Development Studies should seek to play an active part in developing these targets and indicators. (Paragraph 68)

19.  The post-2015 framework should make a very clear distinction between the ultimate 'ends' of development (which should be set out in the goals) and the means by which those ends might be achieved (which should be set out in the underlying targets and indicators). (Paragraph 71)

20.  We agree that the new goals should be global in scope whilst the underlying targets and indicators should be specific to individual countries' circumstances. Individual countries may, however, lack the capacity or political will to develop their own targets and indicators. Therefore, we would propose that various sets of targets and indicators be developed, and individual countries choose the set most appropriate to their circumstances. (Paragraph 74)

21.   The post-2015 agenda should set specific and measurable goals for all countries, including traditional donors and middle income countries, in key areas of international cooperation such as development aid, climate change, tax, trade, transparency, migration and intellectual property rights. (Paragraph 75)

22.  Due to inevitable time lags in data collection, it will not be possible to use 2015 as the baseline year for the post-2015 framework. Whilst it would be desirable for the baseline year to be as close to 2015 as possible, we recognize that—for reasons of practicality—it will have to be several years earlier. (Paragraph 77)

23.  Whatever the ultimate timescale for the post-2015 framework, it will be important to include some interim targets, perhaps every five years. This will help to ensure that policymakers' attention remains focused on the framework. (Paragraph 80)

24.  The simplicity and measurability of the MDG framework have been crucial factors in its success. We believe that the post-2015 framework must retain these strengths, and we are pleased that the Prime Minister shares this view. The number of goals should be no higher than 10, and all should have quantifiable targets. If the new framework is to be as successful as the MDGs, this simplicity will be fundamental. (Paragraph 84)

Annex 1 - current MDG targets and indicators
Goals and Targets
Indicators for monitoring progress
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Target 1.A: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day 1.1 Proportion of population below $1 (PPP) per day
1.2 Poverty gap ratio
1.3 Share of poorest quintile in national consumption
Target 1.B: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people 1.4 Growth rate of GDP per person employed
1.5 Employment-to-population ratio
1.6 Proportion of employed people living below $1 (PPP) per day
1.7 Proportion of own-account and contributing family workers in total employment
Target 1.C: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger 1.8 Prevalence of underweight children under-five years of age
1.9 Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Target 2.A: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling 2.1 Net enrolment ratio in primary education
2.2 Proportion of pupils starting grade 1 who reach last grade of primary
2.3 Literacy rate of 15-24 year-olds, women and men
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Target 3.A: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015 3.1 Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education
3.2 Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
3.3 Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Target 4.A: Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate 4.1 Under-five mortality rate
4.2 Infant mortality rate
4.3 Proportion of 1 year-old children immunised against measles
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Target 5.A: Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio 5.1 Maternal mortality ratio
5.2 Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel
Target 5.B: Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health 5.3 Contraceptive prevalence rate
5.4 Adolescent birth rate
5.5 Antenatal care coverage (at least one visit and at least four visits)
5.6 Unmet need for family planning
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Target 6.A: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS 6.1 HIV prevalence among population aged 15-24 years
6.2 Condom use at last high-risk sex
6.3 Proportion of population aged 15-24 years with comprehensive correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS
6.4 Ratio of school attendance of orphans to school attendance of non-orphans aged 10-14 years
Target 6.B: Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it 6.5 Proportion of population with advanced HIV infection with access to antiretroviral drugs
Target 6.C: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases 6.6 Incidence and death rates associated with malaria
6.7 Proportion of children under 5 sleeping under insecticide-treated bednets
6.8 Proportion of children under 5 with fever who are treated with appropriate anti-malarial drugs
6.9 Incidence, prevalence and death rates associated with tuberculosis
6.10 Proportion of tuberculosis cases detected and cured under directly observed treatment short course
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Target 7.A: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources 7.1 Proportion of land area covered by forest
7.2 CO2 emissions, total, per capita and per $1 GDP (PPP)
7.3 Consumption of ozone-depleting substances
7.4 Proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits
7.5 Proportion of total water resources used
Target 7.B: Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss 7.6 Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected
7.7 Proportion of species threatened with extinction
Target 7.C: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation 7.8 Proportion of population using an improved drinking water source
7.9 Proportion of population using an improved sanitation facility
Target 7.D: By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers 7.10 Proportion of urban population living in slums
Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development
Target 8.A: Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system

Includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction - both nationally and internationally

Target 8.B: Address the special needs of the least developed countries

Includes: tariff and quota free access for the least developed countries' exports; enhanced programme of debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) and cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous ODA for countries committed to poverty reduction

Target 8.C: Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and small island developing States (through the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and the outcome of the twenty-second special session of the General Assembly)

Target 8.D: Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term

Some of the indicators listed below are monitored separately for the least developed countries (LDCs), Africa, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States.

Official development assistance (ODA)
8.1 Net ODA, total and to the least developed countries, as percentage of OECD/DAC donors' gross national income
8.2 Proportion of total bilateral, sector-allocable ODA of OECD/DAC donors to basic social services (basic education, primary health care, nutrition, safe water and sanitation)
8.3 Proportion of bilateral official development assistance of OECD/DAC donors that is untied
8.4 ODA received in landlocked developing countries as a proportion of their gross national incomes
8.5 ODA received in small island developing States as a proportion of their gross national incomes

Market access
8.6 Proportion of total developed country imports (by value and excluding arms) from developing countries and least developed countries, admitted free of duty
8.7 Average tariffs imposed by developed countries on agricultural products and textiles and clothing from developing countries
8.8 Agricultural support estimate for OECD countries as a percentage of their gross domestic product
8.9 Proportion of ODA provided to help build trade capacity

Debt sustainability
8.10 Total number of countries that have reached their HIPC decision points and number that have reached their HIPC completion points (cumulative)
8.11 Debt relief committed under HIPC and MDRI Initiatives
8.12 Debt service as a percentage of exports of goods and services

Target 8.E: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries 8.13 Proportion of population with access to affordable essential drugs on a sustainable basis
Target 8.F: In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications 8.14 Fixed telephone lines per 100 inhabitants
8.15 Mobile cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants
8.16 Internet users per 100 inhabitants

Source: Official list of MDG indicators, effective 15 January 2008,

Annex 2 - membership of High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

H.E. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia

H.E. Ms. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia

H.E. Mr. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Fulbert Gero Amoussouga (Benin)

Vanessa Petrelli Corrêa (Brazil)

Yingfan Wang (China)

Maria Angela Holguin (Colombia)

Gisela Alonso (Cuba)

Jean-Michel Severino (France)

Horst Kohler (Germany)

Naoto Kan (Japan)

H.M. Queen Rania of Jordan (Jordan)

Betty Maina (Kenya)

Abhijit Banerjee (India)

Andris Piebalgs (Latvia)

Patricia Espinosa (Mexico)

Paul Polman (Netherlands)

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria)

Elvira Nabiullina (Russian Federation)

Graça Machel (South Africa)

Sung-Hwan Kim (Republic of Korea)

Gunilla Carlsson (Sweden)

Emilia Pires (Timor-Leste)

Kadir Topba (Turkey)

John Podesta (United States of America)

Tawakel Karman (Yemen)

Amina J. Mohammed (ex officio)

Source: UN Secretary-General Appoints High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda, United Nations, 31 July 2012,

Annex 3 - terms of reference for High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

1. The High-level Panel of Eminent Persons will be convened by the UN Secretary-General to advise him on a bold and at the same time practical development agenda beyond 2015.

2. The High-level Panel will consist of 26 Eminent Persons, including representatives of governments, the private sector, academia, civil society and youth, with the appropriate geographical and gender balance. Panelists are members in their personal capacity.

3. The panel should conduct its work on the basis of a rigorous analysis of credible shared evidence. The panel should engage and consult widely with relevant constituencies at national, regional and global levels.

4. The Special Advisor of the Secretary-General for Post-2015 will be an ex-officio member of the HLP and serve as link to the UN system.
5. The output of the Panel will be a report to the Secretary-General which will include:

a)  Recommendations regarding the vision and shape of a Post-2015 development agenda that will help respond to the global challenges of the 21st century, building on the MDGs and with a view to ending poverty.

b)  Key principles for reshaping the global partnership for development and strengthened accountability mechanisms;

c)  Recommendations on how to build and sustain broad political consensus on an ambitious yet achievable Post-2015 development agenda around the three dimensions of economic growth, social equality and environmental sustainability; taking into account the particular challenges of countries in conflict and post-conflict situations.

6. To this end, it would be essential for the work of the HLP and of the intergovernmental Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to inform each other in order to ensure both processes are mutually reinforcing. The HLP should advise the Secretary-General on how the SDGs relate to the broader Post-2015 development agenda. 

7. To prepare the report, the Panel will take into consideration:

a) The Millennium Declaration, The Outcome Document of Rio+20;

b) The findings of the Report of the Secretary-General's UN Task Team for the preparation of the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda; as well as lessons learned and best practices from the MDGs.

c) The findings of the various national and thematic consultations at regional and national levels which are coordinated by the UNDG  as part of the preparations for the Post-2015 Development Agenda;

d) The need to build momentum for a constructive dialogue on the parameters of the Post-2015  Development Agenda, and propose innovative ways for governments, parliaments, civil society organizations, the business sector, academia, local communities to engage continuously in such a dialogue;

e) The ongoing work of the UN Task Team, the Special Advisor to the SG on Post-2015, the report of the Global Sustainability Panel of the Secretary-General and the findings of the Global Sustainable Development Network Initiative; as well as

f) Any other relevant inputs it may deem appropriate.

8. The HLP will be supported by a dedicated and independent secretariat headed by a senior official (Lead Author of the HLP report). The secretariat will also be able to draw from the wealth of knowledge and expertise made available to it by the UN system.

9. The Deputy Secretary-General will oversee, on behalf of the Secretary-General, the Post-2015 process.  

10. The Panel will present its report to the Secretary-General in the second quarter of 2013. The report will serve as a key input to the Secretary-General's report to the special event to follow up on efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and to discuss the possible contours of the Post-2015 Development Agenda to be organized by the President of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly in September 2013.

Source: UN Secretary-General Appoints High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda, United Nations, 31 July 2012,

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Prepared 22 January 2013