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Jens Martens, Director of Global Policy Forum Europe, argues that if the Millennium Development Goals are to be reached by 2015, development as concept must be fundamentally revised. Development is still primarily measured by economic indicators while factors like income distribution, environmental consequences and gender equity are given little attention. Martens promotes a new approach in which poverty and wealth must not be viewed as separate, but rather as but mutually interdependent. (Global Policy Forum)
This briefing paper analyzes the outcome document of the Millenniun+5 Summit and the role of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The proposal to make ECOSOC a sort of "MDG Council" could contribute to strengthen the institution. However, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the World Bank still exert more power over global economic issues. (Global Policy Forum and Friedrich Ebert Foundation)
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) published the 2005 Human Development Report just a week before the Millenium+5 Summit. The release was intended to influence governments to promote a more incisive approach to development, aid and security policies. This briefing paper analyzes the report and agrees with the UNDP's concern that in the current path towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the lack of distribution and social justice policies is leading to a "blind spot." (Global Policy Forum and Friedrich Ebert Foundation)
This statement, made at the NGO Hearings of the General Assembly, addresses the state of Official Development Assistance (ODA) on the eve of the Millennium +5 Summit. While rich nations claim that increasing ODA is impossible due to budgetary constraints, Martens points out that global arms spending topped $1 trillion last year. Martens also criticizes the proposed International Finance Facility (IFF) because it does not incorporate the voices of poor countries, and he concludes that the only feasible way of implementing the IFF is in combination with global taxes as a means for refinancing. (Global Policy Forum and Social Watch)
This Global Policy Forum and Friedrich Ebert Foundation Briefing Paper examines Secretary General Kofi Annan's UN reform agenda and notes that "for some, the initiatives are not sufficiently far-reaching, [yet] others view them as too radical and unsuitable to implement politically." The paper criticizes Annan for his weak stance on alternative development financing, including global taxes on currency transactions. It also draws attention to the need for greater civil society participation in the preparations for the Millennium+5 Summit in September 2005. (Global Policy Forum and Friedrich Ebert Foundation)
After more than two years of work, the United Nations Millennium Project published its final report, "Investing in Development," in January 2005. This Global Policy Forum
and Friedrich Ebert Foundation
briefing paper provides a more accessible analytical summary on the massive report and places it in a political context. (Global Policy Forum
and Friedrich Ebert Foundation
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are set to expire in 2015. What now? Many countries are not on the path to achieve MDGs by 2015 and although MDG summits have attempted to look towards creating a post-2015 agenda, there is little consensus on a global development framework. This article discusses several different options for a post-2015 agenda and argues that civil society involvement is critical. Including “the voices of those directly affected by poverty” will greatly advance the development agenda, says Leo Williams, Chairman of Beyond2015. (Guardian)
Civil society is skeptical when it comes to governments' will and ability to fulfill the MDGs. Several NGO's, like Amnesty International and Social Watch, argue that there is a great gap between leaders' talk and action. A new report from Social Watch points out that in 2008 only 5, 7% of the European Commission aid was distributed to basic health and education. The authors ask: where did the rest go? Also, the MDGs focus too much on money instead of the root causes of poverty and power structures in the global economy. Many NGOs are calling for a rights-based approach to the MDG's. (IPS)
UNODC Southern African representative, Jonathan Lucas, said that corruption is preventing the world from attaining the MDGs. Recently in November, signatories of the UN Convention against Corruption convened in Qatar and agreed on the "Doha Mechanism of Implementation" which will enable countries to measure and fight corruption. Inclusion of the private sector in anti-corruption strategies plays a key role. This is especially true for Southern African countries, where cross-border money related to corruption reaches a total of 1.6 trillion US dollars per year. (Terraviva Europe)
The Danish Institute for International Studies has published a report arguing that developed countries can still meet the MDGs by 2015 if they join hands and fight "illicit financial flows" from poor to rich countries. The authors claim that for every $10 that poor countries receive as aid, $80 go out to rich countries for various reasons such as tax evasion, corruption and drug trafficking. Based on data from the IMF and the World Bank, another report shows that illicit financial flows reached a total of $3,608 billion from 2002 to 2006.This number is enormous compared to the $120 billion that rich countries provided as development assistance in 2008. (Danish Institute for International Studies)
Millions of people around the world gathered for the "Stand Up" action on October 16-18 to remind their governments to meet the MDGs by 2015. Last year's gathering with 116 million people entered the Guinness World Record book as the largest human mobilization. But, awareness of the MDGs in the US remains relatively low in comparison with European countries. Nevertheless, in opposition to the Bush administration, the Obama administration helps more to meet the MDGs says the director of the UN Millennium Goal Campaign. But giving money will not eradicate the problem unless governments understand how and why people enter the cycle of poverty. (Terraviva Europe)
During the High-Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged participating countries to raise an additional US$72 billion to help reduce poverty. This article argues that governments spend "peanuts" on eradicating poverty compared to the US$700 billion proposal to bail out Wall Street. The World's impoverished people do not receive a bailout, yet they pay the tax bill for the economic crisis. (Inter Press Service)
This article argues that the world's leaders should revise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to target the needs of the "bottom billion" – the world's poorest billion people. The MDGs focus too narrowly on international aid instead of dealing with the core causes of poverty. Further, the author suggests that the UN address the "biofuel scam," which diverts 30 percent of US corn away from food supply. (New York Times)
The Basic Capabilities Index (BCI), released by Social Watch, shows that the vast majority of 176 countries experienced slow progress or even regression in basic social indicators. The BCI provides a general overview of the health status and basic educational performance of each country. Sub-Saharan Africa scored particularly low on the index, and Social Watch says at this rate the region will not reach an acceptable BCI score before the 23rd century.
This report marks the halfway point between the introduction of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and their 2015 target date. The United Nations report shows that a few countries have made significant progress in some key areas. However, the world's governments have a long way to go and the UN urges governments to exercise strong leadership and to scale up public investment to reach the goals. The UN also emphasizes that rich countries must make resources available to poor countries in a predictable way, allowing them to plan ahead to make the MDGs achievable.
This Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) report reviews the UN Reform process from October 2003 until the High Level Summit in September 2005. It highlights the process' shortcomings claiming that then UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, set the bar too high and that the member states achieved unsatisfactory results. Further disappointments include the lack of discussion on Security Council reform, exclusion of disarmament and non-proliferation, and inadequate representation of the global south in the discussions.
This Share the World's Resources article analyzes a UN report on Africa and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which revealed that sub-Saharan Africa will probably not achieve any of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The author argues that some African regions have improved their education, healthcare and agricultural productivity but that poverty in not decreasing at the same rate as before. Moreover, evidence shows that neoliberal policies adopted by the IMF, World Bank and WTO have failed in tackling poverty.
This Levy Economics Institute working paper suggests that Quick Impact Initiatives (QIIs) can effectively and efficiently jump-start the third Millennium Development Goal of achieving gender equality and women's empowerment in low and middle income countries. Through immediate and low-cost initiatives such as free school meals, nutrition programs and campaigns to reduce violence against women, the author suggests that governments and donors can effect tangible results. Although QIIs do not solve long-term problems, they may build confidence in government and donor efforts, both from the aid recipients and those who donate.
CIVICUS explores the trend of NGOs in monitoring the accountability of national governments in realizing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). NGO coalitions have produced "shadow reports" in response to national MDG reports, which did not consult with civil society and overstated governments' achievements. NGOs highlighted that monitoring informs mobilization, actively involves otherwise excluded groups, and keeps national governments actions transparent. Other monitoring initiatives have also emerged in areas including European aid watching.