In September 2000, world leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit recognized a collective responsibility to work toward “a more peaceful, prosperous and just world.” The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reaffirmed this vision and launched an ambitious global partnership for development, setting specific targets by 2015 and using numerical indicators to measure progress. The MDGs recognized the stark reality of widespread human deprivation and environmental degradation and galvanized support to reduce poverty, achieve basic education and health, and promote gender equality and environmental sustainability.
By 2015, the world will have met some of the key targets such as halving the poverty rate and will get close to completing primary education for all children; but achieving the health goals looks hard, and Africa lags behind, despite the substantial progress it has made since 2000. Overall, the MDGs have been remarkably successful in focusing attention and mobilizing resources to address the major gaps in human development.
Building on the MDGs, the global community should move beyond meeting basic human needs and promote dynamic, inclusive, and sustainable development. Future goals must reach beyond traditional development thinking to become sustainable one-world goals that apply to poor and rich countries alike. Surveys show that, even for the poorest, meeting basic needs is not enough. The World Bank’s Voices of the Poor (1999) exercise, for instance, concluded that the priorities of the poor were a job, better connections to the rest of the world, reduced threat of violence, and ending humiliation and disrespect. The new goals should not only provide for basic human needs, but also ensure essential human rights and create enabling conditions to help individuals realize their potential.
For basic needs, the new goals should do much more than just tackle extreme poverty and hunger and achieve basic education and health. The new goal should seek to deliver better living standards through inclusive growth, for instance, by accelerating income growth and increasing employment, especially for the poorest 20 percent. The education goal should move beyond primary schooling toward universal literacy and numeracy and improved job skills. The health goal should focus on productive life expectancy, for rich and poor countries alike. For essential human rights, the new goals should promote civil and political rights and security in addition to gender equality. Without being overly prescriptive, the civil and political rights goal should promote public participation, accountability, and transparency. The security goal should seek to reduce violence and vulnerability. For enabling conditions, the new goals should promote universal access to ICT, transportation, and energy infrastructure, in addition to ensuring environmental sustainability, disaster resilience, and good global governance, to ensure that dynamic, inclusive, and sustainable development can take place without perpetuating aid dependence.
Based on discussions at a meeting at Bellagio last year and regional consultations this year, this paper looks at the potential indicators for eleven potential future “Bellagio goals”:
1. Inclusive growth for dignified livelihoods and adequate standards of living
2. Sufficient food and water for active living
3. Appropriate education and skills for productive participation in society
4. Good health for the best possible physical and mental well-being
5. Security for ensuring freedom from violence
6. Gender equality for enabling males and females to participate and benefit equally in society
7. Resilient communities and nations for reduced disaster risk from natural and technological hazards
8. Infrastructure for access to essential information, services, and opportunities
9. Empowerment of people for realizing their civil and political rights
10. Sustainable management of the biosphere for enabling people and planet to thrive together
11. Global Governance and Equitable Rules for Realizing Human Potential
The availability of appropriate indicators to underpin targets for each of the goals is critical. Organizations’ and individuals’ behaviours are influenced by how success will be assessed. Without practical indicators, goals remain purely aspirational and progress cannot be measured. But there are daunting challenges to devise indicators that are both measureable and motivational — to galvanize public support for development. Serious data limitations exist, especially for cross-country comparison purposes. Metrics must be sophisticated — not too crude, but also not too technocratic. Indicators should allow disaggregation by sex, urban/rural, identity groups and income bands so as to unmask the inequalities that hide behind generalized statistics. This paper reviews a menu of indicators for the candidate goals to inform the future process of selecting the post-2015 successors to the Millennium Development Goals.