Stewart M. Patrick

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Global Development 2.0: Assessing a New UN Roadmap

by Stewart M. Patrick
June 5, 2013

British Prime Minister David Cameron (L), and Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (R), prepare for the second day of the meeting of the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda at United Nations headquarters in New York (Richard Drew/Courtesy Reuters).


Last week the UN’s latest “High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons” released a long-awaited report on global development. The resulting document—A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development—is not only a good read, it’s also a compelling blueprint for extending prosperity to the world’s poor.

Formed in July 2012, the panel of twenty-seven luminaries had a clear mandate: to craft a “single, universal… agenda” to guide development cooperation once the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 2015. The panel—cochaired by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and British Prime Minister David Cameron—succeeded admirably. While building on the MDGs, the report widens the aperture of global development to consider new horizons and avenues to reach them.

The MDGs, as the report notes, have mobilized unprecedented global support for development cooperation, particularly when it comes to foreign assistance. While the MDGs’ precise impact is hard to gauge, the years since 2000 have witnessed “the fastest reduction of poverty in human history.”  The number of people living in absolute poverty has declined by 500 million, and the incidence of infant mortality has declined by thirty percent. These are monumental achievements.

At the same time, the MDGs were heavily focused on meeting basic human needs. As such, they overlooked other preconditions for sustainable development, among these security from violence, the provision of good governance and the rule of law, protection of human rights, reliable infrastructure, access to energy, and responsible environmental stewardship. The MDGs also framed development cooperation, narrowly, as essentially an aid-driven relationship, in which wealthy donors provided charity to the tin cups of demanding recipients. This ignored the many other policy instruments both sides could deploy, from trade to investment to technology transfer.

The new report corrects these gaps by proposing an innovative post-2015 agenda organized around five broad themes, accompanied by twelve “illustrative” goals. The five themes are:

  1. “Leave no one behind”: The report embraces the goal of “ending” (not just reducing) poverty and hunger. Beyond these baseline objectives, the panel recognizes the imperative of improving equitable access to education and health care, as well as to the infrastructure of electricity,  transportation, and communications. Sustained progress on these fronts requires, as a matter of justice, reaching out to formerly excluded and marginalized communities.
  2. “Put sustainable development at the core”: In a long-overdue shift, the panel insists that the environmental aspects of sustainable development must be given equal weight with economic and social dimensions. In the past, the philosophy was “grow now, clean later.” But that “business as usual” path will only further degrade the ecosystem services—including fisheries, aquifiers, coral reefs, arable land, and forests—upon which humanity depends.
  3. “Transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth”: Ensuring decent employment and secure livelihoods for a swelling global population will require unprecedented investments in human capital and productivity. The report is bullish on the potential of technological innovation and private sector initiative to “unleash” entrepreneurial dynamism, diversify developing country economies, and turn the world’s swelling cities into engines of growth.
  4. “Build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all”:  For too long, as Thomas Carothers and Diane de Gramont point out in their new book, well-meaning donor nations have ignored  the fundamentally political nature of development, even as a growing percentage of the world’s poor is concentrated in fragile states plagued by arbitrary rule, corrupt elites, and endemic violence. The panel acknowledges the centrality of good governance,  civil liberties,  stable property rights, and peace as preconditions for human development.
  5. “Forge a new global partnership”: For all their value, the MDGs framed the development cooperation as principally an aid relationship between wealthy donors and poor recipients. The panel offers a more encompassing vision, celebrating the range of partnership possibilities between private and public sector actors, including international instituions, governments, local authorities, corporations, and civil society. The panel exhorts donors “to go beyond the aid agenda” by expanding trade and investment links, as well as transferring technology, to poor nations. Finally, the report calls on donors to get their “own house in order” by eliminating practices that cripple development, like tolerating corrupt business practices, providing havens for tax evasion and money-laundering, and exacerbating greenhouse gas emissions.

So far so good. But how to realize these broad shifts? Here, the report pulls its punches a bit, offering only an “illustrative” (rather than “prescriptive”) list of twelve new goals to replace the MDGs. This decision may disappoint some readers. But it’s strategically wise. The ultimate goals will be hammered out within the UN General Assembly (UNGA),  which guards its few prerogatives jealously. In such a context, the panel’s subtle, indirect approach may pay greater dividends.

The report’s twelve proposed post-2015 development goals are:

1.  End Poverty
2.  Empower Girls and Women and Achieve Gender Equality
3.  Provide Quality Education and Lifelong Learning
4.  Ensure Healthy Lives
5.  Ensure Food Security and Good Nutrition
6.  Achieve Universal Access to Water and Sanitation
7.  Secure Sustainable Energy
8.  Create Jobs, Sustainable Livelihoods, and Equitable Growth
9.  Manage Natural Resource Assets Sustainably
10.  Ensure Good Governance and Effective Institutions
11.  Ensure Stable and Peaceful Societies
12.  Create a Global Enabling Environment and Catalyse Long-Term Finance

Each of these goals is accompanied by 4-6 “measurable targets,” ideally allowing one to gauge progress. (For example, a target for “securing sustainable energy” includes “doubling the share of renewable energy.”) As the report concedes, refining these targets, as well as developing accurate indicators with sufficient global coverage, will require a lot more technical work.

One of the report’s most promising recommendations is its call for a “data revolution for sustainable development.” It has become a cliché, of course, that we live in an era of “big data.” What is less well known is the degree to which digital connectivity, including mobile telephony and social media, has begun to change the development landscape, empowering individuals and enabling communities to make large improvements in the quality of their lives and livelihoods. The same technologies can be usefully marshaled to gather timely data on local conditions and needs, domestic and international responses, and development outcomes.

Recalling how far the world has come since 2000, the authors are “convinced that the next 15 years can be some of the most transformative in human history.” Their report offers a useful roadmap for that journey.

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  • Posted by Paulo Augusto Lacaz

    The Internationalist

    Subject: Global Development 2.0 – Assessing UN Roadmap

    Dear Colleague Mr. Stewart M. Patrick,

    Good Night!

    The effort of the UN participants is great, but it will only work if the Secretariat Organs of Executive and Departments are under an “Umbrella” of Morals Scientific, ie, which are governed by Systematic Natural Philosophic Laws such as Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Positive Sociology are. This subject is ignored by scientists educated today. This will lead to the fortification of its structural and economic projects that happen to UNION, UNITY and CONTINUITY and ensure that the proposed changes only solidify when the destructions of the amoral principles still in force occur.

    I will present my ideas in Global Form, with suggestions in the formation of the “Umbrella”, knowing that many of the proposals cannot be implemented at this time; however, they are recorded so that other generations can seek to implement such recommendations.

    Here are two links addressing these suggestions to compose the “Umbrella”. They are in Portuguese; because the topics are difficult to translate and I do not have deep knowledge of the vernacular English; and currently has no HUMANITY SCCBESME secretariat level to translate such documents. The SCCBESME HUMANITY has only 01 staff in action at the moment. Resources are scarce. I hope you can, with its structure meet this momentary failure.

    Using your words:

    “So far so good. But how to accomplish these broad shifts?
    Here, the report pulls its punches a bit, offering only an “illustrative” (rather than “prescriptive”) list of twelve new goals to replace the MDGs. This decision may disappoint some readers. ”

    I would like to say that some of these proposals are impossible to be performed. I will comment on them below. However this list of 12 topics to be implemented after 2015; was forgotten from one of the most important items, ie item (0.)-

    Increase Religion´s Responsibility in Mother Earth Kingdom.

    In order to occur brotherhood and the spontaneity of fraternity feeling to be able to transpire donation and willingness to help people it is necessary to know EDUCATE THE HUMAN FEELINGS, to make them less selfish and barbarians, for only by Positive Theoretical Moral Science, also known as Building Science or Scientific Psychology, will become easier to achieve the objectives with the “LIVE FOR OTHERS” and ” LIVE WITHOUT LYING “.

    EDUCATE THE HUMAN FEELINGS is to know through pedagogic teaching techniques, how to teach these Mothers and their children; that from conception to the age of 14 years they will know the personality subordinated to sociability; without confronting the interests of Policed Capitalism and supporting moderate consumerism.

    But; this subject is of MORAL order, is of Priest fundamentals, ie religious or doctrinal theme.

    What we need is to be smart and look for ways to strengthen these Religions and receive support us to accept suggestions that do not harm their cults and dogmas, such as my proposal of a “PRIMER GREEN”, which would be common to all RELIGIONS, aiming to educate Future Mothers, so that they can educate the feelings of their children. A woman has every freedom to choose the religion that most closely resembles their spiritual needs.


    Let’s go now comment on five proposals of 12 post-2015 development goals:

    1. End Poverty
    2. Empower Girls and Women and Achieve Gender Equality
    3. Provide Quality Education and Lifelong Learning
    4. Ensure Healthy Lives
    10. Ensure Good Governance and Effective Institutions

    1) End Poverty
    Since the best economic and financial system is The Policed Capitalist, with moderate control of consumerism, where only the Merit (Capacity, Competence, Altruism and Social Position) of each individual puts into practice its success or not, it will always occur in society the poor and rich, but; a worthy poor and a condescend rich. What we have to accomplish is to reduce demand ranges between millionaires and miserable. Look for, to create a middle class, to sustain policed capitalist economic system.

    2) Empower Girls and Women and Achieve Gender Equality
    Thanks to the Good God of theologians humans were not created equal to each other. Equality: only with reference the opportunity. Through differences that may occur Unions, Units and Continuities in HUMANITY development, where Progress (Proletarian) is subordinate to the Order (Employer).

    Check the articles in the links below; which talks about this issue:
    Continues at the link below

    3) Provide Quality Education and Lifelong Learning
    First we set, for better understanding of the texts presented here, what is Education and Instruction. Both educate, but one educates the Human Being to know to subordinate their Selfish Feelings under Altruists Feelings; without losing the personality. Education of Instruction refers to learning the Laws of Natural Sciences and their respective technologies. I propose to collaborate by SCCBESME HUMANITY, in relation to the FEELINGS EDUCATION.

    4) Ensure Healthy Lives

    There is the need to combat organic foods and minerals that cause bad nutrition in order to satisfying the greed of hunger, but they cause serious diseases in Human Being.
    Another important factor is the influence of social environment in Harmony and the Mental Disorder of individuals. The SCCBESME HUMANITY is able to collaborate.

    10) Ensure Good Governance and Effective Institutions

    With respect to this subject, I suggest that you get to know the action plans proposed by SCCBESME HUMANITY; to combat corruption.

    I am proposing an Effective Institution – A new structure of state in a New Political Regime; which is not Communist or Fascist or Nazism, but it is more democratic than the one currently in force.

    Hoping to have collaborated with new ideas, wish you,

    Health, with respect and fraternity,
    Paulo Augusto LACAZ

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