New York and the future of Global Development

By Lucy Stevens, writing on Practical Action:

“Last week in New York the United Nations General Assembly came to an important agreement about how global development will be shaped in years up to 2030.

It was agreed that there will be a ‘single framework and set of goals – universal in nature and applicable to all countries’, and that this will bring together concerns about both poverty eradication and sustainable development (people and the environment). This will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that have guided much of global development efforts since 2000 and which expire in 2015.

The content of those new goals is still very much up for grabs. The inter-governmental negotiations will only start next year. The third stream of a complex consultation process (the ‘Open Working Groups’) has yet to report, and last week I heard about an additional set of events to will be hosted by the President of the General Assembly. Even on some basic concepts there is still disagreement. In the General Assembly debate, when some governments were talking about ‘development’ they were referring to economic growth, while others used the term to mean progress against the MDGs, and still others used the term more broadly to refer to issues around governance and rights.

At Practical Action we are following the debate with interest and trying to ensure that the messagescoming from the ground, from the communities we work with, and from the things we collectively believe in, are being heard. We are doing that in collaboration with others, of course, such as the Beyond 2015 campaign which brings together over 800 NGOs from around the world. We want to see issues of technology and equity of access to technology being addressed. We want to see issues of well-being prioritised rather than simply measures of poverty based on $ per day, or growth of GDP. We want to see separate goals for Energy and Water and Sanitation, and the needs of small-holder farmers addressed.”

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