In less than two years, the clock on the Millennium Development Goals will run out. Recognizing that on the December 31, 2015 deadline many of the MDGs will not be met, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed a 27-person panel to help design a new global development agenda. Following meetings in New York, London, Bali, and Monrovia, the High Level Panel (HLP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda delivered its report to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week. The report, A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development, outlines an ambitious universal agenda to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.
The Post-2015 agenda as outlined by the HLP seeks to not only “finish the job the MDGs started,” but to also go beyond the MDGs to reach the poorest and most marginalized populations. The report takes into account how the world has changed since the 2000 Millennium Declaration and how it is likely to continue to change by 2030, noting population growth, the role of private investment, technological advances, and climate change as particularly impactful.
Based on the panel’s meetings and consultations, they are recommending that the agenda be universal and driven by five fundamental shifts, including: leave no one behind; put sustainable development at the core; transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth; build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all; and forge a new global partnership. In addition to these broader principles, the panel put forth a set of 12 measurable goals to give more clarity to what they envision. The goals include:
- End poverty
- Empower girls and women to achieve gender equality
- Provide quality education and lifelong learning
- Ensure healthy lives
- Ensure food security and good nutrition
- Achieve universal access to water and sanitation
- Secure sustainable energy
- Create jobs, sustainable livelihoods, and equitable growth
- Manage natural resource assets sustainably
- Ensure good governance and effective institutions
- Ensure stable and peaceful societies
- Create a global enabling environment and catalyze long-term finance
US Representative to the High Level Panel, John Podesta, notes that the report seeks to build on the accomplishments of the MDGs and that “to make these gains permanent, we must address the root causes of poverty and better connect the very poor to the economic, social and political lives of their countries.” The release of the report by the HLP is just the first of many steps in the process of formulating the agenda. The United Nations will begin debating the post-2015 agenda at the General Assembly in September.
So what does the HLP report mean from a reform perspective? It is too early to tell how the report will translate into a new round of MDGs, but it isn’t too early to begin thinking about how the U.S. approach to global development can better align with global goals. In his 2013 State of the Union address, the President pledged that America would work with our allies around the world to eradicate extreme poverty in the next two decades. Achieving this lofty—and vital—goal will require agreement not only on a new round of MDGs, but also a much more coordinated and collaborative approach to development among nations rich and poor around the world, an approach that recognizes the value that each stakeholder adds to the effort and uses resources to maximum effect and with maximum accountability. We at MFAN look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to ensure that U.S. policy supports this aligned and collaborative approach.