The Guardian reports that although Ban Ki-moon has hailed the achievements of the millennium development goals, he has warned that the world is still riven by inequality. The paper begins its report:
The millennium development goals (MDGs) have driven “the most successful anti-poverty movement in history” and brought more than a billion people out of extreme penury, but their achievements have been mixed and the world remains deeply riven by inequality, the UN’s final report on the goals has concluded. Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said that while the 15-year push to meet the eight goals – on poverty, education, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, disease, the environment and global partnership – had yielded some astonishing results, it had left too many people behind.
All this is worth a read, especially as there are good graphics on the pages. The piece ends:
Ban said that lessons had to be learned from the MDGs as the world prepares to agree their successors, the sustainable development goals, which will set the agenda for the next 15 years. "We need to tackle root causes and do more to integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development,” he said. “Reflecting on the MDGs and looking ahead to the next 15 years, there is no question that we can deliver on our shared responsibility to end poverty, leave no one behind and create a world of dignity for all.”
Well. Maybe. I suppose if you're the UN DG, you feel compelled to say stuff like this.
I've written a few times recently about the SDG mess that the UN has created. The grab-bag nature of many of the outcomes is well illustrated by one of the goal 4 (education) targets:
“by 2030 ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.”
What the Guardian sais here is worth comparing with the study from The Copenhagen Consensus Centre that asked economists and researchers to look at issues covered by the SDGs to see which might be the most cost-effective. The Centre found that 18 of the 169 would pay back $15 or more for every $1 spent.
Is this an important focusing of scarce resources, or just more neo-liberalism? You choose.