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New From CFR: Stewart Patrick and Isobel Coleman on the Millennium Development Goals

by Development Channel Staff
November 8, 2012

A boy stands in front of the tannery wastes at Hazaribagh in Dhaka, Bangladesh on October 9, 2012 (Andrew Biraj/Courtesy Reuters). A boy stands in front of the tannery wastes at Hazaribagh in Dhaka, Bangladesh on October 9, 2012 (Andrew Biraj/Courtesy Reuters).

This week, CFR senior fellows Stewart Patrick and Isobel Coleman wrote blog posts about what should follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They focus on a new report from Canada’s Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Korea Development Institute (KDI) that was discussed at a CFR meeting on Monday.

After reviewing changes in the global landscape since the MDGs’ adoption, Patrick outlines the CIGI/KDI report. He writes:

One of the report’s most distinctive—and perhaps controversial—recommendations is that progress toward these goals be measured in all countries, including advanced market democracies. While one can imagine outcries from some sovereignty-minded conservatives about being “judged” by the international community, there is no reason the United States should not voluntarily embrace, domestically, a set of universal, non-binding goals for human betterment broadly consistent with its own political and economic ideals—as well as the development agenda it has long pursued abroad.

In her post, Coleman suggests that the challenges facing the developing world might be too diverse for a universal set of goals to apply.  As she concludes:

A unified approach would not focus attention and resources on the most intractable problems, which are found in poor and fragile countries that would likely fail to meet any set of globally oriented goals. This suggests that those crafting the post-2015 agenda may need to consider different goals for different groups of states. This would lack the elegant simplicity of the MDGs, but it might be more effective in marshaling action where it is most needed.

You can read Patrick’s full post here and Coleman’s full post here.

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