Political scientist Michael W Doyle and economist Joseph E Stiglitz argue that sustainable development cannot be achieved while ignoring extreme disparities. It is imperative that the post-MDG agenda focus on inequality.
At the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, UN member states took a dramatic step by putting people rather than states at the centre of the UN’s agenda. In their Millennium Declaration, the assembled world leaders agreed to a set of breathtakingly broad goals touching on peace through development, the environment, human rights, the protection of the vulnerable, the special needs of Africa, and reforms of UN institutions. Particularly influential was the codification of the Declaration’s development-related objectives, which emerged in the summer of 2001 as the now familiar eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to be realised by 2015.
Fourteen years later, the MDG record has been mixed. Some goals, such as halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty, have been met at the global level, but none has been fulfilled in all countries. Others, such as universal access to primary education, are unlikely to be achieved by 2015.
However, while the accomplishment of these goals would have been an impressive achievement, even taken together they do not represent a complete or comprehensive vision of human development. They were constrained by what the member states could agree upon in 2000 and, in particular, they lacked a vision of equitable development…
*Statistics verified at time of original publication of Ministers Reference Book Commonwealth 2015.
Michael W Doyle and Joseph E Stiglitz
Director of the Columbia Global Policy Initiative and University Professor; Professor, Author and Nobel Prize Winner