Southern Voice’s take on the post-MDG era

In this blog post, Debapriya Bhattacharya,  Chair of the Southern Voice on Post-MDGs articulates key points of departure regarding the content and framework of the upcoming global arrangement for international cooperation.

“What should be the focus of a global development agenda post-2015, after the current set of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) comes to an end? Southern Voice on Post-MDGs, a network of 48 think tanks from Africa, Latin America and Asia, maintains that the follow-up initiative of the MDGs has to concentrate on elimination of extreme poverty in the next decade facilitated by an inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Such a process should not only promote structural transformation in low-income countries, but also reduce inter-country disparity.

Southern Voice seeks to infuse evidence-based policy perspectives in the ongoing discourse on post-2015 international development goals. In one of its first outputs, styled as First Approximations, Southern Voice articulates several key points of departure regarding the content and framework of the upcoming global arrangement for international cooperation. The benchmark of the post-2015 phase will be defined by the unfinished agenda of the MDG (2015). In that sense, there is already a built-in agenda. The new framework has to accommodate some pressing and strategic issues, but not at the cost of over burdening it. For example, among the new issues, the goal of productive capacity building for sustainable employment and income generation needs to be prominent. Inclusion of targets relating to science, technology and innovation will also be important in this regard.

Southern Voice underscores that the design of a “universal” set of Sustainable Development Goals should not obscure the socio-economic priorities of the low-income countries. Of course, many of the environmental concerns have poverty-related consequences. Thus the task is to identify the indicators which would effectively reflect the environment-poverty nexus.

The First Approximations makes the case that the global development community needs to fashion an enhanced partnership arrangement – based on the principles of voice and representations as well as transparency– if the envisaged goals and targets for the post-2015 period are to be delivered effectively. Understandably, new partnerships will be not exclusively foreign aid driven, but will be based on a wide range of resources including market access, flexible intellectual property rights, transfer of technology and innovative finance.

Experiences of MDG delivery in the developing countries suggest that the tradition of using targets which emphasise input (and often output) related indicators has to change to ensure delivery of the desired outcomes. Accordingly, one of the major analytical challenges in designing the post-2015 international development goals will be defining the outcome targets along with greater appreciation of the linkages among goals and targets. Southern Voice has highlighted the critical need to have access to real time credible data and information, a process in which Southern-based think tanks can make a vital contribution.”

Download: ‘First approximations on Post-MDG International Development Goals’

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