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Millennium Development Goals: The 2005 Agenda

Working papers

Written by Kate Bird

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a set of ambitious goals and targets which strive to focus the attention of developing country governments, the international development community and both international NGOs and national level civil society on poverty reduction and development. 2005 is a pivotal year for those interested in seeing the achievement of the MDGs not least because a review of progress will take place at the UN Summit in September 2005. It is also in this year that an international coalition of civil society organisations will seek to make poverty history by lobbying, advocating and mobilising the general public to demand increased aid, trade justice and debt relief.

Achieving the MDGs will however require a significant and sustained increase in resources, not least aid. While several, many viable, proposal have been suggested as means of increasing resources, there are a set of real concerns about the desirability of doing this which involve issues surrounding aid absorption, macro-economic stability, accountability of recipient country governments and capacity constraints. Furthermore, achieving the MDGs in difficult environments also requires significant attention as traditional aid and development mechanisms have tended to be inapplicable. Given that 14% of the world’s population lives in fragile states and that these countries are most ‘offtrack’ in relation to the MDGs, the need for appropriate support and interventions is made more acute. While attempting to be comprehensive and inclusive, the MDGs goals and targets are unable to address all aspects of development leading to some issues being marginalised. The question then becomes how these sectors can attract support and resources as progress is not demanded by an MDG.

Kate Bird and Nambusi Kyegombe