Paradigm Shift Millennium Development Goals Post-2015
For nearly 15 years, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) have been a sign post for development efforts—guiding, informing and evaluating them to ensure they were on the right track. But with 2014 right around the corner, one has to wonder what is next for the global development agenda—what is to become of the MDG after 2015?

Fortunately, forging a post-2015 development agenda has been well underway since 2010.

The current MDG, which were established at the Millennium Summit in 2000, outline eight targets for development which were to be reached by 2015. They are to: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality, empower women and reduce child mortality; improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development.

While certain targets which were agreed upon have been met, there is still a long way to go. Furthermore, it was precisely that which a high level UN plenary meeting on the MDG decided in 2010. What was promised at that meeting was an acceleration of current MDG goals towards reaching their 2015 target date, but more importantly it set the course for a post-2015 development agenda.

To that end, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established several UN panels and task teams while appointing a special adviser on post-2015 development. His efforts resulted in a High Level Panel of Eminent Persons in 2012, which included a myriad of high level officials from every corner of the world.

In May 2013, the panel released a report entitled ‘A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development.’ The report highlights and codifies the efforts that had been underway since the 2010 summit.

Calling for a new post-2015 development paradigm, the report concluded that business as usual is not an option. The report further explained that the post-2015 agenda is a universal agenda which needs to be driven by the following “five big transformative shifts:”

1. Leave no one behind: 

With 1.2 billion people still living in poverty, this shift is meant to change the paradigm from target reduction to total eradication of extreme poverty.

2. Put sustainable development at the core.

With the continued pace of environmental degradation, sustainable development now includes increased social inclusion and a greater emphasis on reducing unsustainable consumption to be brought about through structural changes in our current models of sustainability.

3. Transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth.

With so many people working far too many hours for too little pay, it is vital to ensure not just equal job status, but equal economic opportunity. That is to say, everyone should have the equal opportunity to engage in work which provides a living wage.

4. Build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all. 

With so much poverty resulting from conflict and wars, the post-2015 agenda calls for “a fundamental shift—to recognize peace and good governance as core elements of well-being, not optional extras.”

5. Forge a new global partnership.

Touted as perhaps the most important of the transformative shifts, the idea is to get everyone involved “towards a new spirit of solidarity, cooperation and mutual accountability.”

These shifts are meant to affirm the success of the MDG while acknowledging that there is still work to do. And with the new target date of 2030, everyone gets 15 more years to get it done right this time.

Pedram Afshar

Sources: Post-2015 HLP, UN Report: A New Global Partnership, The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013
Photo: Vintage 3D