Global Development Goals Make Gains But Improvements Needed

In 2000 the leaders of major United Nations members nations laid out the Millennium Development Goals — a set of long-term targets geared toward combating world poverty were established. The initiative has resulted in an unparalleled global response by government and business leaders, who have contributed billions of dollars to providing the poorest with simple, but life-saving tools, such as antiretroviral drugs and modern mosquito nets.

With the MGDs set to expire at the end of 2013, a host of views are being offered on where and how to make improvements to the program.

Development Goals Seen As An Overall Success
Where some UN programs have failed or been corrupted, the MGDs “have promoted cooperation among public, private, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), providing a common language and bringing together disparate actors,” according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution.

While progress has been made, the Brookings paper highlights areas where it has fallen short. For example, in terms of reducing child mortality, only 20 of the participating nations have reached the two-thirds goal so far. Furthermore, “the MDGs’ emphasis on human development issues, such as education and health, sometimes downplays the importance of investments in energy and infrastructure that support economic growth and job creation.”

Key Revisions Need To Post-2015 Framework
Terra Lawson-Remer of the Council of Foreign Relations also weighs in highlighting the importance of reevaluating the framework post-2015. She writes that despite the uniform support of the goals, “it has so far proven difficult to translate aspirational rhetoric into an actionable framework of global goals that can guide policy priorities and mobilize engagement.”

She adds that moving forward it should be an imperative to “include governance and human rights in the emerging post-2015 global development agenda.”

Close Ties With Locals Key To Sustaining Development Projects
Anne Heyman, chair of the board of directors at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, stresses the key to ensuring the sustainability of development projects lies in hiring and retaining local staff. Based on youth villages constructed in Israel following the Holocaust, the communities focus on fostering the “critical thinking and practical skills needed in a developing nation” and stress building strong ties with businesses in the local community.

Heyman notes that success cannot be achieved through scatter shot or -one-off training, but “we have found success through long-term training programs where the trainer transitions out gradually, allowing local staff to build their capabilities and responsibilities over time.”


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