International Development CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by ONE

1. ONE is a global grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization committed to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Cofounded by Bono and other campaigners, and backed by 3 million members, ONE is nonpartisan and works closely with African activists and policy makers.

2. With the rapidly approaching deadline for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), discussions on the post-2015 international development agenda have commenced. However in submitting to this enquiry ONE is keen to stress that discussion on the post-2015 framework should not distract from the need for focus on continued and renewed efforts to achieve the existing globally agreed goals over the next three years. This is important to ensure that we consolidate achievements and lay the ground work for a transition to a post-2015 agenda.

3. In determining the post-2015 framework ONE is advocating an open, inclusive, evidence based process which puts the views of the poorest at the centre. As such ONE is advocating for the following:

(a)A What the World Wants Poll for quantitative data responses from every income strata including the very poorest and marginalized.

(b)The inclusion of existing methodologically-robust household survey results, analysed by independent parties, as the basis for the UN consultations.

(c)An independent selection of in-country representatives for the UN-led consultations, which will seek to ensure that ordinary citizens’ priorities and views are solicited and heard.

(d)Better use of the technological breakthroughs and increased global connectivity to enable a much more inclusive approach to designing the post 2015 framework than was possible in 2000. The UN process must benefit from this—enabling a higher quality set of goals and targets to be agreed, as well as helping build a bigger constituency to validate and support the agreed goals.

(e)Investment in open data systems. The original goals have suffered from not having good baseline data and then on-going up to date available transparent data on progress with which citizens and policymakers can monitor developments and assess what is working and what is not.

4. The following submission, in line with the enquiry questions, expands upon ONE’s position drawing on ONE’s research of existing survey data as presented in the report: What Does the World Really Want From The Next Development Goals—Ensuring the World Poor Define the Post-2015 Framework.

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

5. The MDGs have provided both a purpose to the process of development, as well as a basis for measuring how far we have come and how far we still have to go. The adoption of the MDGs have served as a rallying point to mobilize resources, providing focus and energizing practitioners and beyond.

6. While occasionally criticised for it, it is actually the simplicity, clarity, and measurability of these goals that were the important qualities that have buttressed the popularity of the MDGs in the aid community and with governments. It is because of this clear agenda that remarkable results have been achieved.

7. The MDGs purpose has resulted in an improvement of social conditions in the world’s poorest countries. Consequently, today more than 6 million Africans are receiving antiretroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS, where only 50,000 received them a decade ago.i Malaria deaths have been reduced by a third over this period.ii And over 5.5 million lives have been saved because of vaccines.iii An additional 50.7 million children were enrolled in primary schools across Africa between 1999 and 2010.iv Substantial health and education gains over the last decade are indicative of the direction the MDGs have presented. This is our shared achievement and together we must consolidate it by sprinting to the 2015 finish line.

8. However, in spite of these encouraging advances, there remains a lot of work to be done. Success remains uneven both across and within nations. As seen in ONE’s report “What Does the World Really Want From The Next Development Goals” a substantial share of African households still raise health- and education-related issues as their second or third most important concerns; thereby illustrating that the impressive progress to date remains either fragile or incomplete. By further accelerating progress in these areas, including enhancements to educational and health service access and quality, millions of additional people will gain the tools needed to thrive in the 21st century.

9. The original goals have suffered from not having good baseline data and then on-going up to date available transparent data on progress with which citizens and policymakers can monitor developments and assess what is working and what is not. Thus impeding the ability of groups to learn from, and respond effectively to, success and failures in efforts to achieve the MDGs.

10. While the focus on measurable deliverables has driven MDG success, there has not been a commensurate focus on structural issues related to poverty such as the provision of infrastructure services, governance and economic management or conflict and security. Indeed ONE’s report1 finds that these structural issues are actually key priorities for the poorest. Responses show that: in African citizens prioritize access to infrastructure services; in Latin America security & crime concerns are ominously high; in East Asia economic management & governance issues are main concerns; and in all regions access to jobs and higher incomes is the overarching priority.

11. The MDGs also failed to emphasize the importance of a built in sustainability approach as it relates to for instance: access to productive employment opportunities, economic management and governance, political instability and security, and other areas that impact availability of resources which is key to sustained poverty reduction efforts. While the quantifiable measurement of the sustainability of practices and actions is recognised as complex, ONE believes that a new development agenda for addressing the concerns of the world’s poorest must recognize that poverty and sustainability concerns cannot be discordant.

12. In creating possible new goals and metrics, recognition of these failings in the existing goals must be taken into consideration and wherever possible addressed.

How should the “Sustainable Development Goals” be established following Rio +20 relate to the “Development Goals” being considered by the High-Level Panel?

13. Following the Rio+20 decision to set up a process to establish Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is imperative to investigate the interaction with the “Development Goals” being considered by the High-Level Panel appointed by the Secretary General of the UN. ONE calls for an integrated and coordinated approach to tackle the problems afflicting the world’s poor. Subsequently, it is critical to avoid the emergence of two separate and potentially irreconcilable development objectives. Rather, keeping in mind the environmental limitations and importance of fostering global action, the post-2015 agenda has to emphasize the priorities of the poor as well as the responsibilities of the rich.

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

14. Given the increasing interconnectedness of people around the planet, development goals and their impacts reverberate throughout the global community. As demonstrated by the recent worldwide economic downturn, isolation is a phenomenon of the past. An important takeaway is that in times of such turmoil the rich and developed countries are not immune to setbacks and the poor all over the world suffer. Therefore, goals informed and shaped by global interdependence have to constitute the post-2015 development framework.

15. In light of this, progress has to be monitored throughout the world regardless of the level of development of a given country.

The process: are the right voices being heard? What are the opportunities for and constraints to global consensus?

16. For all their success the MDGs failed to include the voices of the world’s poorest and marginalised in their design, the primary group the MDGs were meant to help. Addressing this is of utmost importance for the development of a future framework. The UN led consultation process for the post-2015 agenda is unprecedented in its breadth and depth. That said, more can be done. The key to unlocking the transformational impact of a new global development agenda is to ensure that those who are designed to benefit from the new agenda have a central role in its design.

17. Thus, ONE and like-minded groups are pushing for a radical, yet simple, idea of a What the World Wants Poll, a standardized set of questions that would be answered globally, repeated on a regular basis, covering both developing and developed countries. The objective is that the resulting data would influence the new development framework to be reflective of the daily realities of the principal targets. By providing the world’s poor with a stage, as well as listening intently to their responses, a truly inclusive, bottom driven, and credible process can be cultivated. Consequently, this addresses the critique of a top-down approach aimed at the existing MDGs. More importantly, the trap of prescribing a one-size fits all policy will be circumvented.

18. DFID and other groups have expressed interest in a bottom up guidance of the post-2015 agenda. It is crucial that this interest is turned into a clear commitment to carry out initiatives that drive transparent inclusion of the poorest.

19. In developing the post-2015 framework in order to ensure legitimacy and broad based buy in which will be crucial for success, popular mobilisation and social media tools should play a critical role in the framework development. On the one hand, media can be used to encourage the involvement and call on the contribution of people through a global poll. Conversely, it can be used to make information on development financing available and accessible. In turn, broad-based participation creates a sense of ownership and (equally important) establishes room for accountability.

20. A powerful implication of a quantifiable global poll, which is repeated at regular intervals throughout the post-2015 timeline, is that it will ensure continued relevance of the goals and allow for revisions from lessons learned. Building a mechanism that gauges the concerns of the poor and marginalized will also encourage decentralized targets and prescriptions within overarching goal contexts.

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

21. The target based approach of the MDGs was a crucial component to its success. Targets are able to focus limited resources where needed and provide a basis for measuring success. There are valid concerns about what those targets should be post-2015 but efforts should be made to ensure that targets align with holistic objectives that take into consideration measurable quantitative as well as qualitative considerations. In the post-2015 agenda well-defined and straightforward recording and monitoring procedures need to be established. A mechanism that encourages a quantitative as well as qualitative build into the framework the voices of the poorest will ensure an evidence based approach for evaluation of interventions and improvements of effectiveness.

22. Additionally, the post-2015 agenda has to promote transparency and accountability through the incorporation of stand-alone goals and/or “openness” indicators across all of the new global development goals. Providing open and transparent information on progress will allow for critical analysis and public pressure, to ensure leaders, and those responsible in implementing the post-2015 agenda and framework, are held to account in achieving the global goals. To improve the effectiveness with which citizens and policymakers can monitor and respond to progress it is crucial that there is on-going, and timely measuring of all new targets or goals. The UK government and DFID should work closely with other leaders the UN and the multilateral organisations to ensure this is a key component of the post 2015 framework.

Financing global goals: are new mechanisms needed?

23. Since the launching of the MDGs, the world has seen a plethora of financing mechanisms align behind the MDG objectives. Global initiatives such as the multilateral Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and former United States President George W. Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have recorded tremendous success. Regional efforts such as the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa have been set in motion. Official Development Assistance has increased dramatically, more than doubling from $50 billion to $130 billion since the inception of the MDGs in 2000.v It is clear that having both the goals and political will to achieve them has helped mobilise the needed resources.

24. However many of these some goals remain underfunded. The UN Special Envoy for Education, Gordon Brown, has noted the chronic underfunding of the education sector where special attention to quality issues is critical to continued progress. In a sector not currently included in the current MDG frameworks, infrastructure in Africa—recognised as critical to poverty alleviation—is estimated to require an additional $30 billion a year in investments in Africa to address the current While education is captured in the current MDGs with many pledges of support from the international community counted, there remains a problem with the translation of commitments to actual resources for addressing these problems. In sectors like infrastructure, there will need to be a concerted effort to ensure new resources can be mobilized to address the huge deficits. Donors must be held to account for the promises they have made and all efforts must be made to translate these commitments into resources. The UK’s commitment to 0.7 is thus greatly welcomed and should be supported as too should a fully funded €51 billion EU aid budget (2014–20) for the world’s poorest.

25. In determining how to ensure sufficient funding within the post-2015 framework it is also important to be mindful of the evolution of development financing that is underway. Namely, the development context in which the original MDGs were designed, emphasized donor finance investment in the provision of public goods to the millions of the world’s poor. However, improvements in financial and economic management systems have resulted in the growth of domestic government finances and corporate investment in developing countries is also growing. In 2010, for the 20 most resource-intensive African countries, government revenues from oil, gas and minerals totalled roughly $78 billion, this was approximately five times more than received in aid flows in that year ($15.9 billion). Since 2000 total domestic government revenue from taxes and other resources have increased from $60 billion to nearly $300 billion. The new development agenda must maintain a focus on the translation of donor commitment to resources for development while also encouraging the best use of the growing funding sources, ensuring they are spent effectively.

26. Attention should be placed on encouraging the transparent and accountable use of these growing financial sources to limit corruption and promote effective use of resources. As the hosts of the Open Government Partnership in 2013, the UK should promote transparent and accountable practice in order to ensure public scrutiny of government resources for increased effectiveness.

27. Further, transparency in the extractives sector is an important area for consideration in ensuring effective use of existing resources. Pushing for a strong EU extractives transparency legislation that requires companies to publish both country and project level payments to governments as currently being negotiated as part of the EU Accounting and Transparency Directive will be essential for this. The UK must promote the adoption of this EU legislation and then work with other countries to multilateralise it.

The role of the private sector and other non-state organisations;

28. In the recently launched UN-led process, politicians, technocrats, and bureaucrats are engaging in consultations to determine the post-2015 framework. As the primary provider of employment, the private sector needs to be included as an equal partner in consultations to ensure a more holistic development paradigm that focuses on meeting the needs of the poorest. In ONE’s report “What Does the World Really Want From The Next Development Goals” our analysis of existing surveys suggest strongly that what the poor values above all is an improvement in their household incomes therefore the post-2015 agenda, if it is to effectively respond to the needs of the poor it will need to consider job creation for household income improvements as a major priority. As the private sector is crucial for job creation their engagement and inclusion in the post 2015-framework discussions and implementation of it is also crucial.

29. Nevertheless, in broadening the discussion to include the poor and other actors, clear and measurable commitments must remain a priority focus.

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

30. Addressing poverty and its causes requires sustained and predicable investment and continued political will. The timeframe of future goals must be of a significant enough period to support this. The 15 year timeframe has been useful but required amore annual and biannual accountability mechanisms to chart progress along the way. Additionally an unlimited timeframe will fail to respond to changing global dynamics nor the changing wants and needs of the world’s poor. There must also annual and other regular reviews mechanisms to ensure progress is on track within a longer term timeframe and to enable iteration and updating of goals and targets where appropriate and justified by new data and feedback.

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?

31. With three years left before the expiration of the existing MDGs, there needs to be a focused effort to consolidate achievements and continue ongoing work. Otherwise, we face the danger of skipping a crucial phase, which is vital for a smooth transition to ensure that the current projects feed into the post-2015 agenda.

32. Looking at trend data to 2030, with continued efforts building on recent progress, it may be possible to drive a number of the target indicators towards zero. ONE supports an in depth examination of zero-targets for feasibility and what it would take to achieve them by 2030 (maybe by before in some cases—2025—or just after in others 2035) noting that in context of possible zero-targets, serious attention must be given to division of labour, responsibility, and effort between all countries and stakeholders. These zero targets where appropriate would substantially build upon but also round out current MDGs.

33. Looking ahead, efforts to define the new framework should seek to address the shortcomings of the existing MDGs, as touched on in section 1 of this submission, so that mistakes of the past are not repeated.

34. As part of this it is critical to emphasize the need to define global goals that are informed by the world’s poorest and marginalized citizens. A global poll of the world poorest will be useful in determining this.

October 2012


i UNAIDS Regional Fact Sheet 2011.

ii WHO World Malaria Report 2011.

iii Gavi Alliance 2011.

iv UNESCO Institute for Statistics 2012.

v OCED DAC STAT, 2011 Database:

vi Foster & Briceno-Garmendia, 2010. Africa’s Infrastructure – A time for Transformation. World Bank.

1 What Does the World Really Want From The Next Development Goals

Prepared 21st January 2013