Millennium Development Goals in turbulent times: emerging challenges for Post-2015 MDGs.

Author:Van der Hoeven, Rolph
Position::Essay
 
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One of the most important trends that emerged since the launch of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is the rapid growth of some large developing countries such as China, India, and Brazil. Figure 1 illustrates the shift of the economic weight of these countries, especially over the last decade. Current IMF projections indicate that by 2015 the principal providers of official development assistance (ODA)--Europe, Japan, the US--will be producing less than 50 per cent of total world GDP. Already before the financial crisis it was clear that this geo-economic shift would have to have an impact on the norms and values of the global system (van Bergeijk 2009). In this Angle article we argue that a post-2015 framework for development needs to be based on a global social contract, relevant to people in the South and the North, rather than being dominated by development aid professionals and merely applicable to the South.

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The emerging economies and the emerging challenges

Ironically, it was the 2008 financial crisis that forced the group of G8 countries to accept the G20 as an institute of global governance to fend off the crisis and to build a basis for an improved global financial structure (van Bergeijk, de Haan, and van der Hoeven 2011). The acceptance of the G20 is a recognition of new economic realities. It is difficult to see why the new emerging reality should be limited to the financial structure. Indeed, our starting point is that a post-2015 framework for global development cannot ignore the shifting geo-political landscape. The traditional donors, unlike in 2000, cannot be in the driving seat.

The Millennium Declaration set the MDGs as global targets. Unfortunately it was not made clear what global meant. For some global simply implied universal (e.g. that all countries should achieve the same percentage reduction in poverty). It became clear that this could be especially unfair to poorer countries (Easterly 2009). Others interpreted the MDGs to be of relevance only for the world as a whole. Unexpectedly, that made the MDGs much easier to achieve due to the performance of a very few, very large, very fast growing countries that will determine any global outcome. For example, depending on exact definitions and interpretation of the time frame, the MDG 1 goal of halving poverty has been achieved long before 2015 because of the extra ordinary growth in China, India, and Brazil.

Relatedly, due to the growth spurt...

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