Millenium Development Goals

Next time you hear someone say that the UN does nothing, or you feel depressed at the scale of the problems facing the planet, you should remind yourself of the Millenium Development Goals.  They have proved to be a great lever of funding, interest, commitment – both in developing countries and for those providing support for development.  They represent a noble ambition of the world community, something the UN and its member states can be proud of, in among all the corruption, status seeking, competitive consumerism that drives so much development, including the ‘development industry’.  We’ re never going to reach them.  But how much more has been done because they are there!!   And however messy the process, because they are there, it does feel that we are working together with millions of others around the planet to a common agenda, a manifesto for a better world.

The Guardian has a very easy to access up-to-date site on them at Global Millenium Development Goals.

There is also a great lecture series by Jeffrey Sachs on the BBC Reith Lectures Archive.

It’s important to have positive goals that inspire and motivate.

An alternative presentation is one that identifies the challenges, such as this ‘conversation’ hosted by LSE, with leading academics on the ‘Challenges Facing the 21st Century World’.   It’s a great conversation (if you can stop yourself counting the number of times academics say ‘I actually think that…’), and in particular I like David Held’s summary at about 8-12 mins in.  He identifies problems which no individual nation has the power to tackle in three categories: global commons (water, climate, biodiversity), human life chances (poverty, inequality, conflict, disease) and rules (finance regulation, taxation, genetic research, trade).  The problem is that this kind or approach weighs you down before you start.   The world has signed up to the MDGs.  How inspiring is that?




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