Civic “ownership” of the development agenda post-2015 is essential for ensuring that people in the developing world can lift themselves out of poverty and hunger, a leading development figure has said.
Speaking in the European Parliament on 22 January, Rebeca Grynpsan, UN under-secretary-general and UNDP associate administrator, said that the current UN millennium development goals (MDGs) are largely, “still a success, despite uneven progress”. However, she said that “what is today a success, could be a failure in three years time”.
The MDGs are a set of eight goals aimed at eradicating hunger, poverty and ill health in the developing world, as well as ending discrimination and ensuring more girls receive primary education by the end of 2015.
As the deadline for completion continues, the European Commission, as well as other global players, are already in the process of creating a post-MDG framework for development policy, which should, according to MEP Keith Taylor, “reflect the changes in global politics and the economy”. He admits that some “compromises” in ambition are probably needed post 2015.
Despite the economic crisis, polls continually show public support for the MDGs and in maintaining a strong development policy. The European Commission is already working on its post-MDG policy. Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, will attend a high-level UN meeting in Monrovia in the near future that will begin the process of outlining the principles of future development policy, which are likely to be based around increasing education and healthcare standards, and creating more economic opportunities, as well as focussing on equity, security and justice.
Pibalgs has said that, from the EU end, the focus should be on updating and modernising the MDGs to ensure a minimum living standard for all by 2030, a focus on jobs, equality, human rights and justice, and sustainability. Special attention should be paid to the very poor, women, who continue to face discrimination in many parts of the world, and those in remote areas.
The commission is set to release a communication on the subject at the end of February, which will in one paper, outline the EU’s post-MDG agenda, and it 2015 Rio follow-up sustainability agenda.
Rebeca Grynspan agrees that development policy and sustainability should b dealt with as one global issue (“we need to protect people from external shocks”, she says), and remains optimistic that the MDGs represent a success in policy terms.
“They have really succeeded in defining a human development aspect of policy”, she says, adding it is important that development “is addressed in terms of people’s needs. We need to keep that in the post-2015 agenda”.
The MDGs, she says, “gave civil society a tool for advocacy”, and a way to hold a “different dialogue” with policymakers. “Society’s ownership of the MDGs is essential”, she says in ensuring their success.
However, she says that post 2015, certain aspects of policy need to be improved. She says that the ability of partner countries to develop their own financial and organisational resources needs to be “scaled-up”, and adds that the issues of equality and discrimination also need to be given higher priority.
Finally, she says, the current top-down policy approach needs to be reversed, and that results monitoring, traditionally based on finding a median, is revised so as not to disproportionately leave-out the needs of those in the least developed countries. “We need to get over the dictatorship of averages”, she says.