I returned from the UN High Level Panel Meeting of Parliamentarians & Civil Society on the Millennium Development Goals Acceleration & the Post 2015 Development Framework in Bali late last month.
I thought about how we can knock off extreme poverty once and for all.
I believe we can.
The intensive week’s discussions in Indonesia was part of the process to work out what the development landscape will look like after the Millennium Development Goals finish in 2015. Business and Civil Society gave their view on what we should do. The High Level Panel of Esteemed Persons listened and heard our messages.
The MDGs attempts to halve the number of people in poverty by 2015.
We have witnessed major achievements. We succeeded in our MDG goal to provide access to water to many more people, mainly due to China’s mass service delivery approach. However, there are still almost 800 million people living unhealthy lives without safe water.
We also saw major gaps. There was little progress in providing access to sanitation to poor communities. In 2000, the birth-year of the MDGs, 2.6 billion people did not have a safe and dignified toilet to use. We anticipate that 2.5 billion people – more than half woman – will still not have a safe place to go in 2015. Sanitation is the most off-track and off-target MDG.
In the 15-year period of the MDGs, we did half the job of eradicating extreme poverty from all corners of humanity.
We now we need to finish the job.
Do not misunderstand me. Overall, the MDGs were a fantastic success. They are not enshrined in international or national law or in any treaty or covenant and no state is required to comply with them. Yet, eight Goals mobilised and galvanised governments, donors and communities, business and civil society, to work together. To collectively confront through an internationally consolidated approach the greatest human shame of our modern era. This is remarkable.
The Post 2015 Development Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals, that will comprise this framework must fully end extreme poverty within the within next 15 years.
The Framework needs to address a complex array of social, economic, environmental and energy challenges. There is much unfinished business.
Sustainable development is vital. Peace and security and development are inseparable twins. A critical nexus that UN Deputy Secretary General, Jan Eliasson, frequency reminds us we cannot ignore. Mr Eliasson completes the circle by correctly concluding that peace and security and development will not be achieved without full recognition and application of human rights for everyone. Tackling extreme poverty is at the heart of this paradigm.
Priority One of the Framework must be to End Extreme Poverty by 2030. Uppermost in this challenge is that we must ensure there is universal access to water and particularly sanitation by 2030.
My post “Post 2015 HLP Bali” thinking conceptualised a SDG architecture to be used as a thought-piece for the final round of intense discussions. In May, UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon will receive a report from his special advisor Amina Mohammed on the new Framework’s architecture and priorities.
There is a crucial lesson we should learn from the MDGs. The individual MDGs have been largely approached separately by donors and governments and other key actors such as NGOs. For instance, the international community has built more and more schools to contribute to the achievement of the Education MDG. However, many of these schools were built without toilets and as a result girls are dropping out of secondary education. Therefore schools construction has actually led to lessening the life chances and opportunities for women and girls and failed to provide access to sanitation.
My Concept note for Post2015 Development Framework is simple. Intertwine and matrix each SDG so that it is connected and converges with other SDGs. Interventions that seek to solve one SDG must also demonstrably contribute to solving all/most of the other SDGs.
The SDGs must be tessellated.
Let’s tessellate and consign poverty to history by 2030.
(The view expressed is a personal one and does not necessarily represent WaterAid’s view).