This report will be the first of a series of reviews of the second generation Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) established in 2013. It will reflect on the extent of their success and progress from the first generation of goals (MDG1) and accordingly present introductory proposals for future goals. The report will follow the established structure of the goals that remained consistent, through much opposition, in the previous revision. It will focus on ending poverty and hunger and universal education. The MDG3, after popular protest over the previous compositions of the UN panel, will include input from a greater scope of actors. In response to accusations of “inconclusive” (Melamed, 2012; 12) assessments, appropriate committees will calculate success on an empirical basis with appropriate quotas. However, quotas will be targeted more towards Human Rights, justice and equity rather than charity and aid (Lammers, 2009; p4).
1. End Poverty and Hunger
• Targets set in the MDG1 and MDG2 were widely critiqued for their failure to incorporate widening inequality into their assessment of progress. Melamed (2012; 7) emphasised that ‘progress on under-five mortality can, for example, be achieved nationally even if the poorest are seeing no change in death rates’. To achieve more efficient, in depth census results, success of future goals will be assessed more heavily on a global, national and regional level.
• In response to anger concerning the lack of human rights language, stress will be put on the right to life. This is a significant development from the 2012 negotiations in which then Prime Minister David Cameron placed greatest importance upon simply ‘good and honest government, the rule of law, transparency and accountability, and free markets’ (Tran, 2012). Although these elements are strongly upheld in the drive to end poverty and hunger, they must be equal to human rights.
• In terms of poverty reduction through employment opportunities, developing countries will be encouraged to increase their productive capacities. Production projects, consistent with the goal of environmental sustainability, will be focused on creating new sources of energy and encouraging entrepreneurship whilst decreasing imports to create more self-sustaining economies.
2. Universal Education
• As previously mentioned, the predominance of equity must be increased in future goals. MDG2 continued the success of increasing the capacity of schools and furthermore pushed to provide education for 11-15 year olds. However, in accordance with UNICEF’s long standing aim, educational goals must now focus on targeting all children equally. We must close the gap between the quality of education in developing and ‘developed’ countries rather than simply providing education. Therefore there must be a greater focus on children with disabilities, exploited and abused children, those without parental care, children in detention and children who marry young (UNICEF, Ellen Lammers, 2009; 1: Sowa, 2010; 14).
• Correspondingly, the objective of funding must now be qualitative, rather than quantitative elements: there must be sufficient funding to effectively train and hire teachers. School resources- school buildings, classrooms, textbooks etc.- must also now be maintained. This goal runs in accordance with the aim of sustainable development. In this way, the role of NGOs will continue to develop towards the role of ‘watchdog’ (Moffett cited in Newsome, 2012), whose most important function will be to play a temporary role in establishing infrastructure and from then on ensuring its long-term, sustainable efficacy.
To conclude, it is imperative that those determining MDG3 reflect more comprehensively upon past efforts than their counterparts in 2013. The suggestions of sustainability, equity and justice must now be realised universally, not simply in ‘mainstream’ and prevalent areas. Goals must be tailored towards the aim of establishing systems within the developing states that can self-sustain MDGs.
Lammers, Ellen (2009), The MDGs post-2015, The Netherlands, The Broker.
Melamed, Claire (2012), After 2015 Contexts, politics and processes for a post-2015 global agreement on development, London, ODI.
Newsome, Matthew (2012), Does the future of farming in Africa lie in the private sector? Guardian [30/11/2012] http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2012/nov/23/future-farming-africa-private-sector?intcmp=122
Sowa, Theo (2010), Protect for the future Placing children’s protection and care at the heart of achieving the MDGs, London, EveryChild.
Tran, Mark (2012), Human rights could be faultline in post-2015 development agenda, The Guardian [02/12/2012] http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/nov/21/human-rights-faultline-development-agenda
Gideon Mendel/Concern Worldwide http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/gallery/2012/sep/12/tackling-hunger-kenya-in-pictures#/?picture=395936074&index=7
http://www.unesco.org/new/en/apia/education/ *note: although this UNECSCO program from 2012 advocated quality education adhering to the MDGs, these children are still sat on the floor in a fairly run down building. Future goals must build upon the framework of a school building to maintain other aspects of education integral and fundamental to Western education.