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‘Must do better ‘– Global citizens survey set to keep world leaders on their toes

Written by Claire Melamed

A cutting edge once-in-a-lifetime survey of the global population looks set to challenge global leaders as the discussions on a new global development framework pick up pace in Bali this week.

It’s coming across very clearly from the global ‘MY World’ survey that people want more from their governments.  According to a report released on Monday ‘an honest and responsive government’ sits alongside health and education in the top 3 shared priorities of people across the world.

Preliminary findings suggest that much of the current global development agenda remains a high priority, but that creating jobs and tackling violent crime both need greater attention in any new agreement.  Climate change is identified as a more pressing concern amongst developed countries.

My World is deploying a range of technology to gather the priorities of citizens from every country in the world and ranking them according to importance in order to inform the on-going discussions about how to renew the Millennium Development Goals.

The survey has already received over 5000 votes via SMS from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is supported by a unique mobile phone app in Indonesia and has amassed over 10,000 votes in Brazil from a single tweet.

MY World is also using traditional survey methods to reach some of the world’s poorest citizens  - over 50,000 people have already been surveyed offline in Nigeria. In Rwanda, UNICEF and the Nike Foundation are working with the Ministry of Education to take the MY World survey to 150,000 children in schools and in refugee camps across 30 districts in Rwanda to ensure national coverage.

More than 250 organisations, including companies, NGOS, churches and youth groups, around the world have signed up to support MY World.  In the coming weeks corporate partners will help support the survey through advertising on MTV, in the Economist and on CNN. Celebrity supporters include Mia Farrow, Marta Vieira da Silva, Paul Tergat and Priyanka Chopra.

Reflecting on the early results Claire Melamed of the Growth, Poverty and Inequality Programme at the ODI said:

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a global picture of the kind of world people want.  It’s early days but these findings suggest that the Millennium Development Goals are fairly well aligned with people’s priorities such as health, education and access to water but what is telling is the desire for higher quality government. Hopefully the High Level Panel will take note and recognise the need for governments to come together and deliver an agreement which inspires people to believe that these improvements are within reach.

Paul Ladd, Head of the Post 2015 team at the United Nations Development Programme said:

We’ve set out to hear from as many people as possible, all over the world. We wanted to take a chance to do things differently and are delighted at the early success of MY World, with large amounts of data being gathered in countries that are typically hard to reach with this type of research. The range of partnerships we have secured means there should be an equal chance to participate in My World, whoever you are, and whether you are in New York, New Zealand or Nairobi.