01 February 2010

MDGs: 4 takeaways from the UNDP meetings

A few days ago I mentioned that I was on my way to UNDP for the first UN consultation on the MDGs in 2010. The big conference in September is coming up to address the question: what can be done to accelerate progress on the MDGs?

The event co-organised by IDS, DSA, EADI, DFID and UNDP had some excellent speakers--Mary Robinson, Salil Shetty and Sakiko Fukuda-Parr to name a few, but the real stars of the show were the UN representatives from Barbados and Mongolia. They showed how the MDGs had been contextualised and developed in a country context.

My 4 takeaways from the meeting were

1. Use the September 2010 conference to refresh the Millennium Declaration. The world in 2010 is very different from 2000. Use this opportunity to update the development vision -- the development means as well as the development ends.

2. Stress the importance of leadership and accountability. Where are the indicators of effort and commitment that underlie the MDGs? Let us have more assessment of that.

3. Set up a consultation process for September 2010 that draws on the in-country riches of adoption, adaptation, extension and evolutions of the MDGs. Innovations from different parts of the world must be embraced and learned from.

4. Set up a monitoring, evaluation and learning system for the MDGs. The data gaps are striking, and the knowledge gaps even more profound. The original MDGs were not set up to evaluate their usefulness. The creators of the MDGs should subject themselves to this discipline of critical reflection about the value added of the goals.

To contribute to the debate, add your comments here or write to Selim Jahan, Director of the UNDP Poverty Division (Selim.Jahan@undp.org).

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