Five years from the 2015 deadline for achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), world leaders at the United Nations MDG Summit in New York must agree on how best to accelerate progress. There is no time for scepticism or naivety. The MDGs need critical friends – friends who acknowledge their value, recognise their failings and have something sensible to say about next steps.
ODI has produced a range of materials that provide such critical friendship. The MDG Report Card, for example, published by ODI and partners confirms the value of time bound and achievable goals. It reveals impressive progress on poverty reduction, access to education, closing the gender gap in primary education, and improving access to clean water.
It also recognises the failings, however. Progress has slowed, stalled or gone into reverse in some areas, often as a result of gross inequity. Those who have benefited most from progress are those who were already better off. In many countries, national progress on the MDGs excludes the poorest, including those in rural areas and, very often, poor women and girls.
This chimes with additional ODI research related to the MDGs. Our key resources include publications on three ‘fundamentals’ that are essential for the achievement of the MDGs:
- equitable economic growth to support the human development of the poorest people
- policies and programmes to tackle the gender discrimination that hampers progress
- effective and gender-sensitive social protection, including cash transfers and public work programmes, that are backed by investments in health, education and agriculture