The Global Strategic Framework that exists for the SDGs has made more room for participation of NGOs and specifically disability-focused organizations, however there is still progress to be made to achieve effective multi-stakeholder participation at a global level. The MDGs provided a good jumping point for improvement with the SDGs, but it must be recognized some of the significant flaws and barriers that existed within the MDG framework. Continue reading
The Millennium Development Goals were established at the Millennium Summitof the United Nations in 2000. At the summit, eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established, forming an internationally agreed upon blueprint for solving the world’s most pressing issues. The eight goals were
- Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
- Achieve Universal Primary Education
- Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
- Reduce Child Mortality
- Improve Maternal Health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and other Diseases
- Ensure Environmental Sustainability
- Global Partnership for Development
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were presented at the Millenium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. These goals addressed global challenges such as the eradication of poverty and hunger, environmental sustainability, and to develop global partnerships for development. Prior to the implementation of these goals from 1980 to 2000, the developed world experienced economic growth and an increase in economic inequity. The MDGs aimed to expand the benefits of development to excluded and deprived populations. The MDGs introduced a new monitoring mechanism to hold national governments and the international community responsible for ensuring goals were accompanied with action.
A major limitation for the achievement of the MDGs was accountability. Many developing countries where these challenged persisted, lacked resources and a voice to truly implement programs towards goal achievement. Furthermore, the dominant ideology regarding the success of the MDGs was linked with economic growth, aid, and sound governance. This view is limiting because it isolates economics from politics and society.
While the MDGs focused on long-term goals, short-term targets and processes are not clearly defined. The global framework for development also set a one-size-fit-all model for development, assuming all countries were at the same starting point. The transition path was undefined, which painted goals as idealistic and unachievable. Monitoring processes were also highly quantitative and depended upon statistical data to determine progress. While quantitative data can say a lot about a countries development, it does not fully reflect the well-being of vulnerable populations and in cases where data is inaccessible.
While the MDGs were deemed unsuccessful, they provided a framework and a global opportunity for improvement and cooperation. With the international community and national governments aware of the limitations of the MDGs, the framework still provided a point of reference and vast opportunities for reconfiguration. The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) served as the replacement agenda for the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. The SDGs aimed to fill in the gaps of the MDGs by proposing greater short-term targets and indicators of development. The SDGs also place high important on global partnerships between all sectors of society, especially amongst the private and public sector.
Nayyar, Deepak. (2012). UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda. UN Expert Group. New York.
One global framework that we can analyze in intense detail is the Millennium Development Goals. These 8 goals were put in place by the United Nations in 2000 and were set to be achieved by the year 2015. These goals were groundbreaking in that they called attention to nations largest challenges and gave not only countries but NGOs, business, and political leaders clear goals to work towards. The 15 year time frame was also an extremely important factor in that it was long enough to make achieving the goals somewhat feasible while still being short enough to keep the world leaders interests for their respected time in office. However, the MGDs were not met by 2015 as they lacked certain qualities that I believe the SDGs improve upon. The MDGs lacked specific targets and indicators that countries could universally use to determine their progress. It is also important to note that the SDGs expanded to 17 goals in order to encompass a wider range of detailed societal issues our global is facing today. One of the biggest limitation with these type of overarching strategies is that applying lofty goals to diverse regions and countries posses problems, along with the ever facing issue of the UN is that there is no penalty for not meeting these goals.
Global Strategic Frameworks, and in this case specifically the Millennium Development Goals, have certain opportunities as well as limitations. While this post will focus on the limitations of these global strategic frameworks, it is important to note that even failures within them show us where to improve and demonstrate a desire to do so in the first place. On that note, the Millennium Development Goals were not reached. It is that simple. There are many arguments as to why but one of the most important that was heavily addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals was what and how the Millennium Development Goals measured initiatives and outcomes. One example of this is Goal 2 of the MDGs: Achieve universal primary education, was measured by enrollment rates and how many students attended school each day. While numerically, many country’s rates of student enrollment increased, it did not measure the quality of education they received as a result of rapid school building projects to achieve Goal 2.
Another argument, rooted in the one before, is that the MDGs were more useful to donors and program initiators then the governments behind them. Because these goals were largely drafted without the input of the developing nations that would be receiving the aid, the language was drafted in a way to benefit investors and donors than to be clear to locals or government officials.
Finally, the immediately obvious difference between the MDGs and SDGs is the number of goals. The MDGs lumped many things into single categories, not emphasizing certain issues enough. This has hopefully been addressed by separating many of these categories into their own entities in the SDGs.
Since the SDGs were adopted as a global framework in 2015, many have attempted to evaluate the success of the Millennium Development Goals in achieving goals of:
- to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
- to achieve universal primary education;
- to promote gender equality and empower women;
- to reduce child mortality;
- to improve maternal health;
- to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases;
- to ensure environmental sustainability; and
- to develop a global partnership for development.
While based on empirical data, each of these eight goals was advanced during the time period of 2000 to 2015, the question as to whether or not the existence of the Millennium Development Goals directly accelerated progress in each area remains to be seen. According to Brookings, the clearest victories of the MDGs were in lives saved. During the MDG era, accelerated progress in addressing child mortality, maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis saved an estimated 21 million extra lives. In addition to saving lives, the MDG period saw significantly increased participation in education, access to potable water, and nutrition in some regions (Sub-Saharan Africa in particular), with stagnated progress in others.
But did the Millenium Development Goals play a significant role in sparking accelerations in achievement in the 8 key issue areas, or would increasing rates of international cooperation achieved these same gains without the framework? This is the central question for the efficacy of UN frameworks as a whole. Many critics of the Millenium Development Goals often cite the fact that many of the nations that achieved progress in the areas, were already on track for progress well before the adoption of the framework. While this is a valid criticism in the case of China and India, nations in Africa experienced rapid progress towards the goals that they were not on track to achieve before the adoption. Therefore, the success of the Millenium Development Goals as a global framework is contestable. But, one thing that’s clear is that in order to ensure the success of the SDGs, research has to be done in order to identify which types of government, public sector, and private sector actions contributed to advancement towards the goals.
 Rasmussen, John. “How Successful Were The Millennium Development Goals?.” Brookings. N. p., 2017. Web. 8 Dec. 2017.
During Millennium Summit of the UN in 2000 eight international development goals for the year 2015 that were established known as the Millennium Development Goals. MDG became a global strategic framework for 191 member states of the UN and 22 international organizations that committed themselves to achieve the 8 MDG goals by 2015. Each goal had specific targets and dates to achieve them. The significance of MDG was that it was an explicit recognition by the international community of the reality that that a large proportion of people in the world were deprived and poor, and it became a global attempt to place this persistent problem on the development agenda for international cooperation. To what extent was is it successful? By the end at least 21 million extra lives were saved. Number of lives were saved on child mortality, maternal mortality, HIV/AIDs and tuberculosis. However, despite these successes the MDG global framework had its limitations. One of the biggest critiques of its consequences was it didn’t include marginalized and vulnerable groups. In result, gender inequality persists, there are big gaps between the rich and poor households, and children with disabilities are excluded.
Thus, global frameworks, such as MDGs, have a huge number of opportunities, but also a number of limitations: First of all, these frameworks are a great way to unify all state and non-state actors towards international cooperation. They tend to set norms and values in terms of operation. They act as a form of peer pressure that will increase debate in the communities. It’s a great advantage for many non-state actors such as NGOs because of all the funding and resources that is provided, the fundamental research that has already been done, and the understanding of global standards. However, despite these advantages there are also a number of limitations that are inherent in these global agendas in terms of conception and design. One of the biggest problems with global agendas such as MDGs is they are set without the proper representation and participation of the members of the group that has been affected (nothing about us without us), and thus they can’t and dont’t take into consideration many areas. In addition, usually these global agendas include multiple objectives without specific ways in implementing these goals(MDG’s). Resulting in many issues such as how do you implement and enforce these policies, and then how do you follow up with the progress. Thus, it creates a constant need for modification and new enforcements.