International Development CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Professor Lawrence Haddad, Director, Institute of Development Studies

1. Lessons learned from the adoption of the International Development Targets and the Millennium Development Goals: in particular how effective has the MDG process been to date?

The current MDG framework has provided a basis around which a broad international consensus has been built and that has concentrated global attention and resources on addressing some of the most pressing development outcomes, outcomes that if dealt with will save and improve people’s lives. The MDG process is thought to have had the following effects on donors and recipient countries:

It has strengthened the view that if support for aid is to be sustained, measurable progress must be shown in areas that the public in donor countries view as desirable. Recognition of the MDG framework within traditional donor countries has been highly variable. It has been good in the Nordic countries, yet much less visible elsewhere.

It is thought to have (a) increased Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) and (b) directed a greater share of it to Sub Saharan Africa.

There has been more of an impact on the aid discourse than on resource allocation and there is little evidence of the impact on national policies in developing countries.

2. The coverage of future goals: should they be for developing countries only or should progress be monitored in all countries?

All countries should be bound by at least some of the goals. A new framework needs to recognise the changes that have taken place in the world since the inception of the existing MDGs in 2000. Notions of “developed” and “developing” nations are now outmoded and aid is no longer the main source of development finance. Remittances, taxes, foreign direct investment (FDI) and private foundations all play an increasingly significant role. A more integrated approach to development is required, with more cross cutting policy responses and improved cooperation across all development actors.

Some of the goals would not make sense in the richer countries (eg $1.25 or $2 a day poverty rates) and some would be very difficult politically (eg halving of relative poverty or a target for declines in income inequality). However there need to be some around climate, resource use and energy efficiency that are applied to all. When the goals apply to all countries, there should be a compensation mechanism or differentiated target for the poorer countries who are signing up to reduce global “bads” such as pollution, global warming, unfair trade, unregulated financial flows, unregulated arms and drug trade.

3. Targets: was the MDG “target-based” approach a success? Should it be retained? How should progress be measured?

The “target-based” approach should be retained within a new framework as without targets the goals are devalued. A new framework should include some indicators and targets on inputs such as spending, policies and charters as well as outcomes. This would strengthen the accountability framework. It is difficult to hold governments solely accountable for outcomes that can have multiple and international causes. It will be easier to hold them to account to commitments on spending, policy reform and signing up to charters and rights (for one example, see the IDS work on the hunger reduction commitment index at www.hrcindex.org)

4. Timescale: what period should the new framework cover? Was the 15-year timescale for the MDGs right?

The timescale for the existing MDGs of 15 years, with measurements on 25 years, was probably too short. It took at least two to three years to build awareness of the MDGs and discussions around what succeeds the MDGs have been underway since 2010. This has left less time to focus attention on accelerating progress towards meeting the existing goals. Bearing this in mind, a new framework should adopt a longer timescale of 20–25 years.

5. The content of future goals: what would be a good set of global goals? What continuity should there be with the MDGs, and how should the unfulfilled MDGs be taken forward?

A balance between continuity, learning and the changing world needs to be struck in a new post 2015 framework. A new framework needs to be underpinned by a theory of change—see figure below for a rough example. It should set out the human well being outcomes the framework is seeking to achieve ie freedom from hunger, good health, peace and security. The values of freedom, dignity, equality, solidarity, tolerance and respect for nature described in the original Millennium Declaration could serve as a good starting point. It should outline the enablers necessary to realise these values ie secure employment, education; the connectors such as access to energy, water, sanitation, infrastructure, ICTs and the sustainers including resource intensity and pollution targets. The commitments to these elements should be tracked and the gender dimensions monitored. Any model should be have a small number of goals but be more expansive on indicators.

The breadth of policies that drive a focused set of goals should be broadened to go beyond aid. A focused set of goals does not mean a limited set of policies. A more integrated approach and set of policy responses is required that incorporates climate, energy, trade, security, immigration, finance and intellectual property.

October 2012

Prepared 21st January 2013