A drama of human progress: the stage is set

Blog by Chis Underwood:

“Three voices which sound like they come from a peacebuilding NGO’s advocate in one of the many meetings during this week’s lobby-fest in New York at the UN General Assembly. Yet these were the words of Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, Minister of Foreign Affairs Gutierrez of East Timor and a Ministry of Development spokesperson from Rwanda. Their point, echoed by many of the poorest and richest states alike this week, was that good governance is basic good development: not a niche concern. And without it, there is no chance of realising a vision of a world without extreme poverty.

So here were conclusions based on evidence, experience and what local people themselves had said very clearly in the many consultations to date. It was summarised by former High Level Panel member John Podesta:

“We know that without strong and accountable institutions, development just doesn’t work over the long run … there is increasing recognition that we need to get things like institutions and transparency right as part of the post 2015 agenda.”

To add to the feel good factor for those of us advocating this holistic vision of human progress, where the rule of law and human rights are considered as essential building blocks of all nation states, we saw the Outcome Document agreed by the General Assembly, which was equally clear about the integral nature of political as well as social and economic ambitions.


This week was also marked for me by the slow but clear emergence of the spoilers. Having kept their heads down thus far, amid the fanfare of the High Level Panel and the numerous “global conversation” consultations through which people at the grassroots said loudly and clearly that they too viewed a future in which they could play a meaningful role, this week saw the inevitable pushback begin.”

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