12 June 2013

What do the reviews say about the High Level Panel's Post 2015 Report?

I have been looking at the 76 reviews/responses to the High Level Panel's report listed on their own website.

I have not had time to read all of them (note for development students: a good topic for a content analysis--see the above graphic from youthpolicy.org) but here are some conclusions from a scan of some of the more interestingly titled ones.

People like much about the report (the phrase "glass is 2/3 full" is Charles Kenny's verdict).  I'm not going to focus on that.

These are the things that the reviews are less happy with:

  1. The absence of an inequality goal: the leave no one behind narrative is welcomed, but what about the extreme concentrations of wealth at the top end? 
  2. Not enough on human rights: rhetoric good, absent in core recommendations 
  3. A less than full recognition of the earth as a finite ecosystem 
  4. An over-reliance on economic growth as a driver of all things good
  5. Worry about not putting numbers on targets (one commentator said the frequent appearance of x,y and z would please lovers of algebra but seriously limited its usefulness)
  6. Lack of specific recommendations on the monitoring and accountability mechanisms 
  7. Lack of a focus on concepts such as wellbeing which would have made the definitions of poverty less "old school"
  8. Goal 12 left some a little underwhelmed--too vague and too narrow, especially compared to some of the progress goals
  9. Worries about dilution over the next 2 years--will this survive the Open Working Group process?

I liked Participate's take on the 5 transformational shifts (their response in bold)

‘Leave no one behind’—but don’t lose sight of who is getting ahead
‘Put sustainable development at the core’—but don’t force people to make impossible choices
‘Transform economics for jobs and inclusive growth’—but growth isn’t always good
'Build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all’—but don’t ask if you won’t really listen
‘Forge a new global partnership’—but it must be led by citizens

I note that the word "people" does not appear in the word map above.... I also note that the vast majority of comments are from outside of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Still, 2/3 ain't bad, for now. 


  1. While I'm deeply uncomfortable about the concentrations of wealth at teh top end, it's not clear to me what realistic plan of action the post-2015 process could/should take to tackle the income of the hedge fund set, Russian oligarchs, PRC politburo members etc. Appreciate thoughts on this!

  2. The tax and transparency agenda is obviously relevant--at least make it hard for them to legally pay low taxes..