Global conversation is underway about what should happen after the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015. Richard Morgan, UNICEF's Senior Advisor on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, shares his thoughts on the priorities for the post-2015 framework and the process for getting there.
The current Millennium Development Goals, which are set to expire in 2015.
current MDGs are unfinished and much remains to be done
For over a decade the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have
inspired development efforts and advocacy for the poorest and most deprived
people - an unprecedented and admirable feat. However, the agenda is unfinished: some goals and targets have not yet been
achieved and millions of people have not yet been included. This calls for
accelerated efforts between now and 2015, and the continuation of these efforts
well beyond 2015. For example:
- We need to
"get to zero" in preventable child and maternal deaths.
stunting, child hunger and child poverty should and can be decisively resolved by all societies
- A post-2015 world can only be considered "A World
Fit for Children" if we collectively ensure that children everywhere are safe
from violence, exploitation, abuse and
must be central to the post-2015 development agenda
The deeper we delve into the numbers from the past few decades, the more we see how many children, families and groups
have been left behind or, worse, have been excluded from progress entirely.
- More than 80% of all deaths among young
children now take place in sub-Saharan Africa and South
- In developing countries, children born in the poorest
20% of households are almost twice as likely to die before age 5 as their
counterparts in the wealthiest 20% of households.
Addressing inequalities as part of the new
development agenda is not just a moral imperative: it is a practical "win-win"
because focusing efforts and resources on the most deprived can be
cost-effective and achieve more
and exclusion need to be addressed more systematically
Progress towards the MDGs has largely been measured on global aggregates
and national averages, which has resulted in stubborn and even widening gaps often
being masked or overlooked. The
sheer lack of data on some of the worst-off groups have perpetuated this.
The post-2015 framework should aim to address and track the dominant inequalities across each of the main
areas of human development as well as in new goal areas for sustainable
development, such as access to energy for all. This would mean, for
example, differentiating data on child stunting by household wealth status, or years
of school completion among girls and boys and children with disabilities. We should also encourage countries to use participatory methods to
identify who the most excluded populations are, where they are and the reasons
for their exclusion in order to reach them more effectively.
in people, especially children, are essential
times of recession, there is, understandably, concern that more emphasis should
be given to the pursuit of economic growth and to sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture and industry in the
post-2015 agenda. But economic growth and human development
reinforce one another: a society where people grow up healthy, properly nourished, educated and protected is one with the
human capacities that are needed for sustained growth. They must therefore go together in the new
particular, evidence shows that well-designed investments in children are the
basis for a productive adult workforce and for skilled, capable entrepreneurs; and an emphasis on the earliest years and the physical, emotional and cognitive development
of young children brings especially high benefits to families and societies.
the people and the planet must be protected
Any new set
of goals must be based on synergies between economic growth, human development and
environmental sustainability. We must
protect the earth and its resources, and its inhabitants. This requires an
integrated approach which ensures that policies
and investments in one area also aim to yield benefits across the other areas,
or at least ensure they cause no harm to people or the planet. Here again,
questions of equity will play an ever-increasing role.
and young people's views are critical
development concerns our collective responsibility to ensure a safer, cleaner,
healthier and more inclusive world for today's children and for their children.
Our decisions need to
consider not only our own children, but also future generations.
adolescents and young people should therefore be involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of the new development
agenda. The intensified consultation efforts taking place now should be only
the beginning for young people's involvement. Mobile phone technology and
social media make connecting and organising possible in ways that simply were
not fathomable when the MDGs were crafted.
Development must be owned and led at the local
development agenda will only be sustainable if it responds to the needs and complex realities of people's lives at the local level, and
remains relevant. For this to happen,
people, especially those worst-off, must be able to set their own priorities,
and be supported in taking local actions on behalf of their families,
communities and children.
Richard Morgan is UNICEF's Senior Advisor on the Post-2015 Development Agenda