A new global narrative – Earlier post-2015 contributions on The Broker

Development Policy08 May 2013Karlijn Muiderman

Discussions on what should be the new global agenda after the expiry of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) started years ago. The post-2015 agenda has been central in several previous debates on The Broker. This is a short synopsis of other relevant blog posts that debated the post-2015.

On 23 June 2009, The Broker was the preferred media partner of the High Level Policy Forum ‘After 2015: promoting pro-poor growth after the MDGs’. Several of the invited speakers and participants contributed to the blog After 2015 and Ellen Lammers from The Broker analyzed the Forum.Taking stock of the discussion, she wrote that the MDGs had led to the emergence of a global consciousness all over the world. With the world changing dramatically (as a result of economic, food and climate crises) and economic growth failing to reduce inequality, Lammers feels that a new global agenda provides a unique opportunity for a new narrative.

One of the contributors to ‘After 2015’ is Charles Gore, at the time head of research in Africa and Least Developing Countries at UNCTAD. His two-part blog post ‘The birth of a new paradigm’ and ‘Not MDGs or a new paradigm, but MDGs in a new paradigm’ advocates revisiting the MDGs. He says there is no reason why the MDGs, as a set of indicators, should not live on after 2015, but advocates placing them in a new development paradigm. He describes the MDGs as a half-way house in the birth of a global social policy.

In the blog post ‘Putting people at the center’, Heather Grady, from the Ethical Globalization Initiative, emphasizes that a successor to the MDGs needs more attention to social exclusion and discrimination, efforts to mobilize civil society to work with each other, and the human rights framework as a benchmark for transnational policies.

In 2010, the MDG summit took place in New York. The Broker reported from the event and engaged critical voices to speculate on developments and longer term strategic choices in the blog Goal posts-What’s next for the MDGs?.

David Sogge, from the Transnational Institute, swims against the current in his blog post ‘Achieve the MDGs? First try reversing the upward redistribution of wealth.’ He says that despite the MDGs claiming to be today’s pro-poor aid agenda, the citadels of the aid system in Washington DC continue pushing the same formulas that frustrate equitable development in poor countries and facilitate the upward redistribution of wealth.

Aldo Caliari, from the Center of Concern’s Rethinking Bretton Woods Project advocates going back to a human rights perspective that includes the environment to overcome the disappointingly narrow formulation of the MDGs. Caliari outlines this in his blog ‘Human right: the post-2015 agenda?

From 29 November to 1 December 2011 the 4th High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness was held in Busan, South Korea. In cooperation with the OECD, The Broker facilitated a debate at the Busan High Level Forum on how the development agenda can be extended.

One of the many recommended blog posts is contributed by Dan Smith and Phil Vernon, from International Alert. In ‘What will Busan do for conflict-affected countries’ they argue that the MDGs have had limited success in conflict-affected countries and advocate a renewed development process, requiring changes in some of the institutions at the heart of governments and society.

The post-2015 agenda has also been central to the Inequality debate, which discusses the importance of inequality for global development policies. This debate is taking place in the general context of an on-going focus on the post-2015 agenda on The Broker website. Below is a selection of relevant posts of the blog including:

Rolph van der Hoeven, from the Institute for Social Sciences in The Hague, the Netherlands, he argues in his blog post ‘Attention to inequality should be a basic element of any post-2015 agenda’ that targets for all development goals should be broken down for different socioeconomic classes or income groups.

Andy Sumner and Alex Cobham, from the Centre for Global Development in Europe write in ‘Palma vs Gini measuring post-2015 inequality’ about the Palma, a new measure of inequality. The Palma is the ratio of the income share of the top 10% to that of the bottom 40%. In their view, the post-2015 agenda should contain multiple inequality indicators, including the Palma.

Ted Schrecker, from Canada’s University of Ottowa, states in his blog post ‘Interrogating scarcity a valuable strategy’ that for the purposes of setting post-2015 goals for development, the inequalities of greatest concern involve not only income and wealth, but also the power to decide on the uses to which resources are, or are not, put.

The Broker’s Global development blog discusses the post-2015 agenda in relation to examining mechanisms of power from a global perspective, going beyond the traditional, national point of view when looking at development and bilateral ‘aid’ relations. Here are some of the many topics discussed in relation to the post-2015 developments:

Hans Berkenhuizen from Milieudefensie, Fiona Dove from the Transnational Institute, Ronald Grijsbergen from SOMO, Danielle Hirsch from Both Ends, Ruud van den Hurk from Action Aid and Ineke Zeldenrust from Clean Clothes Campaign coproduced the blog ‘Trade and Aid: a balancing act.’ In their view, the post-2015 development agenda exemplifies the great deal of attention that global public goods have attracted. They argue however that the process is failing to including local actors and civil society, which are key players in the implementation of a global development agenda.

The Prioritising Water blog served as input for the UN’s World Water events hosted by the Netherlands on 21 and 22 March 2013. Global water experts debated the role of water in the post-2015 development agenda, including the following:

Johan Kuylenstierna, from the Stockholm Environmental Institution. His blog post ‘Making a difference’ advocates complementary goals and targets on development and the environment.

Julian Doczi, from the Oversees Development Institute writes in his blog post ‘Climate adaptation: top priority or just one of many?’ that knowledge-sharing and open dialogue are important for the post-2015 debate. In his view, water sector professionals should start discussing the implications of climate change and whether tackling existing problems could build resilience against predicted impacts.