Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have mobilised global efforts to improve the lives of the poorest people around the world. While many goals have already been achieved, the distribution of progress, when it comes to MDGs, is uneven across the countries. The UN has made lives of millions of our citizens better by fighting against the causes of their suffering and creating safe and prosperous environment for their future. In this post, I will give you a short introduction on what I consider should be the issues to address in post-2015 time period.
Back in 2010, at the 2010 High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the MDGs, the participants agreed that the MDG goal will not be met by 2015 (mainly due to the financial crisis and the Great Recession in the world economy), and that the further agenda will have to be developed to address the issues. At this point it is clear the new goals will have to be reshaped to address the changed society because keeping the existing ones would only mean prolonging the current MDGs, which were successful but still failed to solve all the targeted issues.
What is going to make the post-2015 significantly different than its predecessor is the fact that, this time around, there will be greater focus on including multiple stakeholders into the processes of picking and achieving the new goals. These national stakeholders include government representatives, NGOs, civil society, community-based organizations (CBOs), women’s and social movements, vulnerable groups, youth and children, as well as the private sector. It is of crucial importance to form the post-2015 agenda on the feedback from the groups that were previously left out of discussions. Picking tailor-made, context-appropriate goals for each of the 50 countries where the Agenda will be implemented must be given the top priority. UN, as a lead body, is in a unique position from which it can moderate and influence the courses of action.
What is next?
To address the issues in post-2015 time period, Mr Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, established a UN System Task Team to monitor and coordinate the efforts of creating the post-2015 goals. This team is made up of over 50 senior experts appointed by the Principals of UN system entities and other international organizations. One of the main focuses of the new Agenda should be on human security goals. Every government’s task should be ensuring that all citizens feel safe, have access to food and clean water, have the opportunity to attend school, have access to sanitation facilities, etc. People should not be just beneficiaries of development, but actively participate in bringing the change that will shape their future.
While, for example, eradicating extreme poverty will remain in focus, the Agenda will have to go far beyond that and promote holistic development, putting a focus on the three principles of human rights, equality and sustainability, and the four dimensions of peace and security, inclusive economic development, inclusive social development and environmental sustainability (UN, 2012). Focusing on sustainable urban planning and urban development, in the era when large masses of people are moving from the countryside to the urban areas, should be given a high priority as well.
A shift should also be made to macroeconomic objectives and macroeconomic policies. A special attention should be given to controlling things such as prices, country output, employment, etc. To make lives of different groups better, from the large, country wide projects, countries should start investing more in small community based projects and sustainability projects. This way, community development could serve as propelling force for the country development.
Post-MDGs should be conflict-sensitive. Conflict is a major obstacle in development, and as such should be prevented at any cost. Regular aid practices and peaceful interventions can serve as tools of prevention. Armed violence, another threat to the human security (at the individual and community levels), should be paid attention as well in terms of creating a goal which would target reducing the armed violence.
One of the goals should be involving the youth in the process of changes. For example, in Rwanda, youth accounts for more than 65% of country’s population. More than a half country worth of individuals can bring important and lasting changes. To address the growing issue of youth involvement, on February 18th, 2014, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, in partnership with other UN entities, international NGOs, and youth groups and stakeholders, launched a crowd-sourcing initiative for youth priorities in the post-2015 development agenda. These priorities include, but are not limited to, Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship, Health, Good Governance, and Peace and Stability. If you haven't read the article on MDGs yet, make sure you read it here.
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