Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Towards an MDG plus agenda

At the After 2015 High Level Policy Forum, held in Brussels on June 23 2009, Andrew Steer (DFID) led through the third plenary session, which discussed the question ‘Towards an MDG plus agenda’?

Louis Kasekende, chief economist of the African Development Bank, called for a rethinking of pro-poor policies after the MDGs in Africa. Recent events have shown the fragility of Africa, reflected in the income inequality and the associated social tensions in Kenya or South Africa, the vulnerability to the food crisis, or the reversal of gains in just six months after the financial crisis on the entire continent. Consequently, Mr. Kasekende made three proposals on how to re-design the MDGs:
  • Refocusing economic growth: MDG 1 could be split in two goals, namely economic wealth creation and reduced inequality;
  • Focus on fragile states: Action may be needed beyond regional effort, because costs for the country and their neighbours are enormous once the country has fallen into fragility like Somalia, DRC or Zimbabwe;
  • Broaden ecological sustainability: for example by recognizing the danger of external shocks.
Claire Melamed (ActionAid UK) put forward several points, which should be taken into account in the MDG plus agenda:
  • Any new narrative has to increase the understanding of the realities of power and gender, which block poverty reduction;
  • We need to move to a global welfare state, which is characterized by social justice and redistribution;
  • We should stop looking at averages, but move forward to the individual level. Not the average national wealth counts, but we should commit to ensure every individual has access to basic minimum services and income;
  • Funding mechanisms should shift from uncertain aid provision to more predictable, redistributive mechanisms, such as innovative taxing;
  • The future MDGs should rather be based on rights instead of on charity.

Being the final speaker, Andreas Rechkemmer (UNU-IHDP) put the interrelations between environment and development to the fore. Ecosystems are the precondition for any human well-being, due to the provision of cultural, provisional and regulatory services. Therefore, development, climate change and ecosystem communities have to overcome fragmentation and instead join forces. Essentially, “it is all about resilience building at ecosystem and social system level”, Mr. Rechkemmer argued. We need innovation and social learning to design a transitionary regime which can address the MDG plus, global governance and climate agenda.

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