The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – introduced at the Millennium Summit in 2000 – have received a large amount of criticism and praise since their conclusion in 2015. In “The MDGs after 2015: Some Reflections on the Possibilities,” Deepak Nayyar provides an overview of arguments for and against the MDGs. On one hand, champions argue the MDGs are simple, straightforward, and offer a global framework that all nationals can come together on and work towards enhancing human development (p. 11). On the other hand, critics argue that the MDGs were too ambitious, focused too much on quantitative targets while ignoring qualitative results, and excluded many important groups – like persons with disabilities – and indigenous groups in developing nations (p. 6). In addition, many argue that the way the MDGs were formulated specified a “destination” – the targets – but not the “journey” – how individual nationals were to reach the targets. .
Even though the MDGs provided a global framework that did help pull some individuals out of poverty and bring rights – like primary education and clean water – to some communities, their biggest downfall is the exclusion of PWDs. It’s estimated that about 15% of the world’s population lives with some sort of disability – 650,000 million people – and that 80% of PWDs live in developing nations (Kett. et al, p. 649). According to “Disability, Development, and the Dawning of a New Convention,” the relationship between disability and poverty is a “negative cycle” meaning that poor people are more likely to become disabled and come disabled are more likely to fall even lower on the economic ladder (Kett. et al, p. 651). The MGDs run on the assumption that the means of economic growth will lead to human development (Khoo, p. 47). Therefore, if the MGDs exclude such a large, poverty stricken portion of the world, they’ve failed before they’ve begun. However, as we’ve discussed in class, there has been a resurgence of policy that not only includes PWDs but also pushes the envelope making global development much more localized and inclusive.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – which came into effect May 2008 – marks a landslide victory for PWD groups (Kett et al, p. 652). This is shown in the inclusion of PWDs in the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This inclusion shows that the international community is more than capable of becoming increasingly inclusive with each revision of the global development framework. It is extremely important moving forward with the SDGs that the international community is diligent and ensures all voices – from the local to the global – are heard and accounted for.