Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Post-2015 MDGs: Already? Again?

By Noshua Watson

Since January 2012, UNDESA and UNDP are chairing the UN System Task Team for the Post-2015 Millennium Development Goals. The aim is to produce a report to guide the intergovernmental discussions in early 2013. The process will have three platforms: 1) inclusive consultations at the national level; 2) insights from academia, media, private sector, employers and trade unions, civil society, and decision makers on health, education, growth and employment, environmental sustainability, governance, conflict and fragility and population dynamics themes; and 3) Internet and social media stakeholder interaction.

To guide the process, UNDP is asking, ‘Is it more inclusive? Is it more equitable? Is it sustainable?’ But it seems that the private sector is asking, ‘Are we interested?’

A few weeks ago, I suggested that foundations should be included in existing development cooperation frameworks like the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness for multilateral aid donors and the Millennium Development Goals discussions for new post-2015 goals. I floated this idea while presenting at the United Nations Economic and Social Council Special Policy Dialogue on ‘Private philanthropic organizations in international development cooperation: New opportunities and specific challenges’ in preparation for the 2012 Development Cooperation Forum.

However, some of the attendees felt that they were struggling to engage foundations and the private sector in general in the Post-2015 MDGs. They believe that many private sector actors took notice and customised the MDGs to fit with their goals, but they continue to be hesitant to engage with the process as a whole. They speculated that the uneven progress towards meeting the MDGs and questions about their overall relevance are turnoffs for the private sector.

Is this true?


Pauline Rose said...

Some private foundations are engaging with post-2015 - in education, the Hewlett Foundation is for example involved in debates on giving a greater focus to quality and learning in a post-2015 framework. Perhaps the private sector more broadly isn't as engaged - but then a question is why we would expect it to be concerned about framing development goals?

Noshua Watson said...

It’s true that the Hewlett Foundation is involved with the Post-2015 MDGs. I believe they have also signed up to the International Aid Transparency Initiative. But there doesn’t seem to be a broader momentum among foundations similar to what we saw around the original MDGs.

As for the private sector in general, let’s not forget the 8700 + UN Global Compact private sector participants.

Many companies that are interested in development or social responsibility use the MDGs as a broad guideline for identifying where they could align their efforts. Why wouldn’t they want some involvement in framing what the new goals will be?

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