Andy Sumner: Why ‘After 2015’?

Development Policy19 Jun 2009Andy Sumner

I’d like to blog on the ‘After 2015’ theme from the point of view of having co-led the 23 June with colleagues and friends at IDS, The Broker, ActionAid, DSA, and EADI.

Looking for key emergent themes I’ve also just re-read the special policy briefs written for the event, my own Broker piece and the thirty or so paperS/thinkpieces on the website (apologies to those whose papers I haven’t weaved in here). All papers are available here at the EADI website.

It’s useful to briefly ask myself (blogging is a reflective experience) ‘how did we get here?’

The original idea of ‘after 2015’ came out of a panel at the DSA annual conference 2008 and at that time the drafting of the now published book – both endeavours with Meera Tiwari (UEL) – on the subject. We then linked up with others who had been working on ‘After 2015’ at ActionAid and EADI, who are host to the best development future(s) project – the EDC2020 project.

The grouping of people, organisations and networks felt a sense of ‘2015’ as a line in the sand. As we move closer to any deadline there’s space to ask what next and Ashwani Saith’s (ISS) article in Development and Change was an important opening of this debate. The global economic crisis too has been a major trigger of calls for ‘new paradigms, please!’ (or at least a rethink of current paradigms – meaning ways of practice or policy).

We should also note the various projects that seem to add up to a ferment of questioning how we assess ‘development’ – notably the OECD Measuring Progress, Oxford’s Human Development and Poverty Initiative, the UNU WIDER project and the ESRC’s WeD programme to name but a few.

Interest in the ‘after 2015’ theme really seems to have taken off since early 2009. This is largely due to Richard Manning’s paper (very worth reading).

Further, there was a realisation that ‘after 2015’ is a bit of a misnomer. What we really mean is now, up to 2015 and beyond, as Charles Gore of UNCTAD noted at our DSA panel in 2008 and going forward the pro-poor policy paradigm/agenda.

Indeed, the UN MDG +10 conference in autumn 2010 is likely to be a point at which such ‘after 2015’ issues might be raised by the international community as presumably any process for international agreement would need at least 2011 and 2012 for a global consultation, roundtables, voices of the poor type participatory approaches and a report to be agreed and signed off – perhaps a rerun of the World Development Report 2000/1 process and a similar big international report as an outcome (don’t forget the European Report on Development 2010 has chosen the ‘after 2015’ theme – a perfect opportunity for the EC and the authors to have a major, global, participatory set of events, blogs, multi-media, roundtables, and so on).

On MDG impacts, I think Richard Manning’s paper and Sakiko Fukuda-Parr’s paper cover this well as do many of the thinkpieces. On the changing world, the EDC2020 work can’t be beaten and also there is the USNIC 2025 report worth having a look at (with health warnings on both regarding sleepless nights afterwards) and there is my paper with Neil McCulloch on how the crisis changes the development paradigm (and the 2015 book too of course).

So, what can I say that hasn’t been done better elsewhere? I’ll just say something on the ‘what next’ question. But for that, see my next bog posting tomorrow.

Andy Sumner at the Brussels Forum (Courtesy of Euforic)