Opportunities and Limitations in Global Strategic Frameworks

Throughout this entire semester we have been learning about the benefits of Global Strategic Frameworks, specifically in regards to how these strategic frameworks function when working towards global common goals such as the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This section of the class takes a critical lens towards the MDGs as an opportunity in order to improve the SDGs.

The formulation of the MDGs began in September 2000 by understanding and recognizing poverty, improving the living conditions for the world’s poor, and placing the improvement of living standards for the world’s poorest population on the global stage. Secretary General Ban Ki- Moon stated that the MDGs served as a “To do list for people and planet, and a blue print for success”. The MDGs set out 8 specific goals:

  1. Eradicate Poverty
  2. Universal Primary Education
  3. Gender Equity
  4. Decrease Child Mortality
  5. Improve Maternal Health
  6. Combat HIV/Aids, Malaria and other Diseases
  7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability
  8. Global Partnership for development

In a sense, each goal serves as a target to a specific grand challenge, and while the MDGs are seen as ground breaking they are widely criticized for several reasons. First and foremost, the MDGs do not include people with disabilities, this is an extreme misstep considering that there are over 650 people with disabilities worldwide, with 80% living in developing countries and making up 20% of the world’s poorest population- which is the target population of the MDGs (Maria Kett, Raymond Lang, and Jean-Francois Trani). Additionally, the MDGs are heavily critiqued because they focused on meeting benchmarks but did not provide details on how to meet them, they also didn’t take into consideration that every nation has different national priorities,  as well as fails to take into account the initial conditions of a country.

While many nations viewed the MDGs as targets used for assessing countries individually, its initial purpose was to serve as global collective targets that would require nations to cooperate with one another. The UNGA outcome document on the MDGs reflects on the mistakes made when formulating and executing the MDGs and focus on improving ways in which the UN and countries conceptualize and approach development. The document highlights three critical aspects which are: the disability inclusive development and working on development goals that harmonize with domestic legislative policy and institutional structures. Lastly, the MDGs do offer optimism showing the potential NGOs possess, as well as what possibilities that can arise when multi-stake holder coalitions proactively work together when creating disability inclusive development.