End Poverty 2015 - MDGs http://endpoverty2015.org/en/taxonomy/term/422/0 en Progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals - Mid-term Review http://endpoverty2015.org/en/node/892 <p>At past UN Summits on development, Europe was a leader: in 2000 at the Millennium Summit; in the 2002 Fin for Dev Conference in Monterrey, at the 2005 Summit on progress on MDG’s…</p> <p>The Commission’s first draft of April 21st for the European position for this September’s Summit on the MDGs followed these shining examples: </p> <p>The twelve-point EU action plan in support of the Millennium Development Goals suggested a credible pathway to delivering our aid commitments in 2015, by requiring Member States to establish verifiable annual action plans for reaching their targets and publish their first plans before September 2010; outlining at least the planned <span class="caps">ODA</span> spending for the next budgetary year and estimates for the remaining years until 2015; and by suggesting EU-internal ‘<span class="caps">ODA</span> Peer Review’ s, reporting the results to the European Council.</p> <p>Indeed, the EU is already behind the schedule to reach the collective EU intermediate target of 0.56% by 2010, as a step towards reaching by 2015 the target of devoting 0.7% of <span class="caps">GNI</span> to <span class="caps">ODA</span>. We have fallen behind particularly because of the disappointing performance of large countries like Germany, France and Italy, Italy being the stingiest of all rich countries at 0.16%. </p> <p>In the meantime, a lot of noise and political energy has been spent on discussing the need for helping poor countries cope with Climate Change; and on finding new innovative financing mechanisms – including a financial transaction tax. But as long as an iron-clad consensus has not been reached that these resources should be additional to the existing 0.7 commitment, this is hot air, distracting from, not contributing to, achievement of the MDG’s </p> <p>Alas, after several rounds of discussions, Member States severely weakened the Commission’s draft: they dropped the delivery of annual action plans before September 2010. And some Member States are trying to eliminate the peer review mechanism. In the meantime, Finance Ministers have agreed to peer review each other’s budgets: why can’t they include compliance with <span class="caps">ODA</span> commitments in that mechanism as the <span class="caps">IMF</span> does?</p> <p>As Member States are attempting to wiggle out of their commitments which they reaffirmed time and time again, I am most delighted, Mr President, with the resolution which your Parliament has passed, as it calls for: <br /> • The issuing of multi-annual timetables to meet the MDGs;<br /> • Avoiding broadening the definition of development aid (<span class="caps">ODA</span>);<br /> • Insisting that funds to help poor countries fight the effects of climate change and the current economic crisis are genuinely additional to existing aid commitments. I would take it, this also applies to the innovative financing mechanisms, the resolution proposes… </p> <p>(The Resolution also urges to&#8230;)<br /> • Agree on a new interim target of 0.63% of <span class="caps">GNI</span> as <span class="caps">ODA</span> for 2012;<br /> • Untie all aid;<br /> • Improve donor coordination, acknowledging different Member States’ comparative advantages in various geographical areas and development sectors. Indeed it is time for the EU to implement the agreed EU Code of Conduct to improve the division of labor in order to reduce aid fragmentation!</p> <p>I trust you, Mr President, to raise your voice, echoing the millions of European citizens, for the Council to strengthen its spine. Indeed, in the last 30 days the voices of more than half a million European citizens have joined ranks with the 2 million people who stood up across our continent in October 2009 to call on European Leaders to keep their Millennium Development Goals promises.</p> <p>And this is not just about waving our blue flag with golden stars, or the credibility of our, European, claim to leadership at the global level. </p> <p>Today, politicians can’t ignore the anxiety of European citizens in the present financial crisis. But let them not close their eyes to the fact that that same crisis hit the poorest countries even harder, reversing years of progress with the Millennium Goals, while these same, the poorest, countries are the victims first and foremost of the consequences of climate change and of the volatility of energy, food and commodity prices.</p> <p>Given the European values, which we claim guide us, investing in the future of poorer countries is simply a moral imperative. </p> <p>But it is also an essential investment in our own future: economic development particularly of our African neighbors is fundamental to our own long-term economic prosperity and security.</p> <p>And we are just asking for such a modest effort: 0.7% still allows us to spend 99.3% of our National Incomes on our own needs…<br /> (0.7: drop of water from glass)</p> Global MDGs Europe Global Partnership English Thu, 17 Jun 2010 15:11:51 +0000 Miki 892 at http://endpoverty2015.org Inaugural Address The Millennium Development Goals and Microfinance http://endpoverty2015.org/en/node/702 <p>Ladies and gentlemen,</p> <p>I am honoured and privileged to join a distinguished group of Microfinance practitioners engaged in achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. I am pleased to participate in this session, which provides a broader context for the discussion about “The Millennium Development Goals and Microfinance” and will share my perspective on the role of Microfinance institutions in promoting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).</p> MDGs Asia English MDGs Microfinance Sat, 22 Aug 2009 20:29:04 +0000 Miki 702 at http://endpoverty2015.org Today's Challenges for Development Communication http://endpoverty2015.org/en/node/691 <p>I welcome very much the opportunity to address this audience. Decades of efforts to raise the political importance of development cooperation and to understand what our role as donors is, are at stake in the present economic crisis. I will start first with a few words on the Millennium Goals,particularly on actions needed on Goal 8 and how to convey these to the general public. Then I will address our challenges in this time of crisis, and will end with comments on Moyo’s “Dead Aid.”</p> <p>I. The Millennium Development Goals.</p> <p>My first message to you would be: hang on to the framework of the Millennium development Goals.The very existence of development policies as well as their funding depends on domestic support and constituencies. I am convinced that the Millennium Goals are the best thing that ever happened to mobilize and fortify such support.</p> <p>We in development business hid for decades in our ivory towers – speaking in abbreviations, to ourselves and each other in incessant conferences. International conferences delivered lofty intentions &amp; promises – but they never reached the general public. Thus, the lack of government follow-through went unnoticed.</p> MDGs English Eveline Herfkens MDGs Thu, 04 Jun 2009 15:58:52 +0000 Miki 691 at http://endpoverty2015.org The Millennium Development Goals: Snapshots of Progress http://endpoverty2015.org/en/node/833 <p>In September 2000, 189 heads of state and government came together at the United Nations for the Millennium Summit. At the Summit leaders firmly committed to fight together against poverty and hunger, gender inequality, environmental degradation, and HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span>, while improving access to education, health care and clean water, all by 2015. These wide-ranging commitments gave birth to the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). </p> <p>So seven years ago leaders made a solemn promise to the world’s citizens. We are now at the half-way point of the implementation period on the way to the achievement of the Goals. So how are leaders doing on their promises at the mid-way point?</p> <p>Let’s take a look at a few of the key indicators of progress.</p> <p>Overall view:</p> <p>From the available data, the greatest progress on the Millennium Goal targets is being made on gender parity in primary and secondary school enrolment, on access to skilled care at birth which helps to reduce maternal mortality, and on reaching universal primary education for all children. However, there are some targets on which we are lagging seriously behind, and the worst of these is the child mortality Goal. </p> <p>Overall, while there is progress in some countries and on some Goals, the challenge of achieving the Goals is still a massive one, and one that requires a significant acceleration and scaling-up of efforts across the board by all leaders.</p> <p>Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger</p> <p>Fact: there are over 1 billion people surviving on less than $1 a day around the world today.</p> <p>Progress: </p> <p>The first Goal aims to halve the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day. </p> <p>On current trends, this target will be met at the global level by 2015. The number of people in extreme poverty fell from 1.5 billion in 1981 to just under 1 billion in 2004. The share of the population in extreme poverty fell from 29% in 1990 to 18% in 2004. Based on current trends this share could fall to 12% of the population in developing countries by 2015. This would be a striking success. </p> <p>Nevertheless, this good progress at the global level largely reflects progress in the populous countries of India and China. This global progress does not stop other regions, countries and communities being left behind. Based on current progress there will still be many people trapped in extreme poverty in 2015, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. </p> <p>Even though we are on track to achieve the first Goal we must still see an urgent scaling-up of efforts to tackle poverty in developing countries.</p> <p>Fact: over 800 million people – almost twice the population of the 25-country European Union – suffer from chronic hunger as they do not get enough food to lead an active and healthy life. </p> <p>Progress: </p> <p>Goal 1 aims to halve the proportion of people who suffer from chronic hunger. <br /> The percentage of the world’s population suffering from chronic hunger has fallen somewhat in recent years. Nevertheless, the decline is slowing and is not currently sufficient to ensure that we meet the target by 2015. What is more, the fall in the proportion of people suffering from chronic hunger has not been enough to prevent the actual number of people suffering from hunger from increasing. </p> <p>Malnutrition rates are predicted to fall everywhere except in sub-Saharan Africa. More than half of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa are off-track to meet the target of cutting malnutrition rates by half. Half the countries in South Asia – in contrast – are on-track to meet the target, but this region also has the highest rates of nutrition in the world. South Asia will also continue to have the largest share of malnourished children in the world, even if the target is achieved. Trends in East Asia also provide some reason for concern: after falling in the early 1990s the absolute number of people suffering from chronic hunger is again rising. </p> <p>Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education</p> <p>Fact: around 80 million school-age children are not in school and a similar number will of children that are currently in school will leave without learning to read or write. </p> <p>Progress:</p> <p>The second goal aims to ensure that, by 2015, girls and boys alike will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. </p> <p>From the available data, reaching 100% primary school completion is one of the Millennium Goal targets on which the greatest progress is being made. Nevertheless, despite positive trends, the goal of universal primary education by 2015 will be difficult to reach. </p> <p>Globally, the primary completion rate increased from 78% in 2000 to an estimated 83% in 2005, and the number of countries that have already achieved universal primary school completion has increased, and this includes some low-income countries. Moreover, the pace of annual improvement in primary school completion has accelerated significantly since 2000 in the regions furthest from the Goal i.e. sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and North Africa. Six of the seven strongest performers in expanding primary completion rates (all by over 10 per cent per year between 2000 and 2005) were in sub-Saharan Africa. Latin America and the Caribbean, which started from a much higher base, are also registering exceptionally strong rates of progress.</p> <p>However, it is still necessary to sound some notes of caution. Neither sub-Saharan Africa nor South Asia is on track to ensuring that all children complete a full course of primary education by 2015. While some of the strongest performers are in Africa, so are many of the weakest, and the region as a whole is still the furthest behind. Other regions are either close to universal primary education or are close to making sufficient progress by 2015, but even in these regions there are individual countries which are still seriously lagging. Within countries there are certain groups which are particularly disadvantaged and difficult to reach, in particular girls from ethnic, religious or caste minorities. <br /> In addition, the greatest progress has been on getting children into schools. Net enrolment ratios are increasing in the two regions which are most behind i.e. sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. However, there is a need for more progress on keeping children in school. Moreover, in many countries there are concerns about the quality of education, and question marks over whether improvements in school enrolment and completion are actually translating into increased skills of the population. </p> <p>Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women</p> <p>Fact: more than one in five girls of primary-school age around the world are not in school. </p> <p>Progress:</p> <p>When a country educates its girls, its mortality rates usually fall and the health and education prospects of the next generation improve. The third goal aims to eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education by no later than 2015. </p> <p>Unfortunately, the first of the Millennium Development Goal targets – to eliminate gender parities in primary and secondary education by 2005 – was missed. Gender gaps continue to exist in all educational levels. Globally, more than one in five girls of primary-school age are not in school compared with about one in six boys. Of most concern are the wide gender gaps in primary education in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia where almost 80% of the world’s out-of-school children live. In sub-Saharan Africa 42% of primary school age girls are out of school compared with 38% of boys. In South Asia the gap is wider with 29% of primary-school age girls out of school compared with 22% of boys.</p> <p>Goal 4: Reduce child mortality</p> <p>Fact: each year over 10 million children in developing countries die before the age of 5 die, most of them from preventable causes. 10 million is the entire population of Belgium.</p> <p>Progress:</p> <p>Goal 4 aims to reduce by two-thirds the mortality rate for children under the age of 5.<br /> Though survival prospects continue to improve in every region, at the global level, progress has slowed considerably in recent years. This means that we are far from making the necessary progress to reduce under-five mortality rates by two thirds by 2015. And progress on the child mortality <span class="caps">MDG</span> lags behind all other goals.</p> <p>According to the most recent data available, only 35 countries are making enough progress. Worryingly – and unlike many other development goals – countries with the highest child mortality rates are facing the greatest difficulties in reducing them. Malaria, HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> and other communicable diseases seem to be behind this. </p> <p>Only two regions are close to making sufficient progress: East Asia and the Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean. Progress is particularly slow in sub-Saharan Africa where <span class="caps">AIDS</span>, malaria, malnutrition, and civil disturbances are driving up mortality rates. As of 2005, no sub-Saharan African country was on track to meet the Goal. The situation in this region is desperate: with only 20% of the world’s young children it accounts for half of the total deaths.</p> <p>Goal 5: Improve maternal health</p> <p>Fact: death in childbirth is a rare event in rich countries, where there are typically fewer than 10 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. In the poorest countries of Africa and Asia the ratio can be 100 times higher.</p> <p>Progress:</p> <p>Goal 5 aims to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters by 2015.<br /> Despite the issue of maternal mortality having being high on the international agenda for two decades, ratios of maternal mortality have changed little in the regions where the most deaths occur: sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia.</p> <p>99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries: more than 500,000 women in developing countries die in childbirth each year. And at least 10 million suffer injuries, infections and disabilities. High mortality results from malnutrition, frequent pregnancies, and inadequate care during pregnancy and delivery. Adequate reproductive health services, family planning advice, skilled attendants at delivery and timely referrals to emergency obstetric care are all necessary to reduce maternal deaths. </p> <p>All regions are showing some improvement in the proportion of deaths attended by skilled health care personnel. Nevertheless, only 46% of deliveries in sub-Saharan Africa – where almost half of the world’s maternal deaths occur – are attended by skilled personnel. </p> <p>Goal 6: Combat HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span>, malaria and other diseases</p> <p>Fact: today, someone living in Zambia has less chance of reaching the age of 30 than someone born in England in 1840 – and the gap is widening. HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> is at the heart of this massive reversal in life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa. </p> <p>Goal 6 aims to have halted and reversed the spread of HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> by 2015. <br /> Globally <span class="caps">HIV</span> infection rates continue to increase. By the end of 2006, the number of people living with <span class="caps">HIV</span> had increased to an estimated 39.5 million by the end of 2006 – up by 2.4 million since 2004 – and an estimated 3 million people had died from <span class="caps">AIDS</span>. </p> <p>The continuing upward rise is despite the success that several countries have reported in reducing <span class="caps">HIV</span> infection rates.</p> <p>The epidemic remains centred on sub-Saharan Africa, even though the spread of HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> has slowed in some parts of the continent. With just over 10% of the world’s population, the region is home to 64% of HIV-positive people and to 90% of children (under 15) living with the virus. Around 60% of HIV-positive adults in sub-Saharan Africa are women. <span class="caps">HIV</span> prevalence rates in sub-Saharan Africa appear to be levelling off at relatively high rates, but this apparent stabilization reflects the fact that as new people acquire the virus, nearly the same number die from <span class="caps">AIDS</span>.</p> <p>While prevalence rates are lower outside of Africa, the number of people infected is increasing and so is the death rate. The largest increases in the numbers of people with <span class="caps">HIV</span> have been registered in Eastern Europe and Central and East Asia. </p> <p>Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability </p> <p>Fact: in Sub-Saharan Africa 300 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 450 million lack access to adequate sanitation serices. </p> <p>Goal 7 aims to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.</p> <p>The share of people using drinking water from improved sources has continued to rise in the developing world. This share increased to 80% in 2004 from 71% in 1990. This means that the world is currently on track to reach the drinking water target. However, growing populations and wide disparities between urban and rural areas within countries pose continuing challenges. </p> <p>At a regional level, sub-Saharan Africa is making progress, but it is not yet on track to meet the target. Moreover, this is the region with the worst disparities between rural and urban populations. </p> <p> Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development</p> <p>Fact: in 1970 almost all of the rich countries of the world promised to provide 0.7% of their national income (<span class="caps">GNI</span>) in aid. Today – more than 35 years later – only 5 countries fulfil this commitment.</p> <p>Goal 8 aims to create a global partnership for development between rich and poor countries. In particular, rich countries are committed to providing more and better quality aid, to enhancing debt relief and to fairer trade rules. </p> <p>Even though 21 of the 22 <span class="caps">OECD</span> donor countries signed up to the 0.7% target for aid in 1970, in 2006 these countries together provided only 0.3% of their collective national income in development assistance! However, in May 2005, the more prosperous European Union Member States – the EU-15 – recommitted to meeting the 0.7% target by 2015. These countries need to plan carefully to rapidly increase their aid, and other countries should follow their lead. However, without improvements in aid quality, increased aid will not eliminate poverty. Yet donors are slow or absent in operationalising aid quality commitments. </p> <p>In recent years, there have been enhanced global initiatives for the cancellation of both bilateral and multilateral debt. While debt relief is key to releasing resources for MDG-focused expenditures in developing countries, it is important that debt relief is not used to ‘artificially’ boost aid figures – as it counts in the official definition of aid &#8211; and to divert funds away from the most needy countries and individuals. </p> <p>More than aid and debt relief, trade has the potential to increase the share of the world’s poorest in global prosperity. Yet, rich country trade policies continue to deny the poor this opportunity. Remedying this situation requires a host of measures such as cutting rich country agricultural subsidies and opening up rich country markets to the exports of poor producers in developing countries. Unfortunately, it looks like a key opportunity to do just this is being wasted. Talks on a new world trade agreement under the so-called Doha “Development” Round of trade talks continue to drag on without making much progress.</p> Global MDGs English Mon, 30 Apr 2007 14:52:59 +0000 Miki 833 at http://endpoverty2015.org Interview with Mandeep Bains, Policy Advisor, UN Millennium Campaign http://endpoverty2015.org/en/node/832 <p>The Millennium Development Goals, HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> and Germany</p> <p>Q1: If we don’t achieve the <span class="caps">MDG</span> on HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span>, how is it going to affect other goals? </p> <p>As you know the Millennium Development Goals are a package of eight Goals resulting from the commitments made by world leaders at the historic Millennium Summit in New York in September 2000. </p> <p>The eight Goals are a set of objectives addressing different aspects of poverty with the ultimate goal of freeing “the men, women and children of the world from the dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty.” The first seven goals aim to fight poverty, to tackle environmental degradation, strive for gender equality, to combat HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> and other diseases, and to improve access to education, health care and clean water. And the eighth Goal establishes a partnership between rich and poor countries for development. </p> <p>As you can imagine the linkages between the Goals are extensive, and in most cases obvious. In fact, I would go so far to say that it is difficult to look at one Goal in isolation, and that is certainly the case with HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span>.</p> <p>For example, how can we imagine tackling HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> without empowering women? How can we prevent and treat HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> in a sustainable way without the effective delivery of health services in developing countries? How is it possible to care for <span class="caps">AIDS</span> sufferers if we cannot provide them with decent levels of nutrition? </p> <p>Now, to answer your question, if we don’t make progress on HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> then the achievement of the other Goals is seriously jeopardised in those countries with high rates of infection. A high rate of HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> is deeply problematic because the disease strikes people in their most productive years; productive economically, but also at the time when they are making their most important contributions to their families and communities. Individuals are struck down in their child-rearing years, leaving behind orphans and preventing the normal transfer of life skills and know-how to the next generation. Needless to say, broad economic and social progress and the achievement of the Millennium Goals are exceptionally difficult in a context where HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> is ravaging your population. </p> <p>In this regard, sub-Saharan Africa is the biggest concern. Although the region has only 10% of the world’s population, it accounts for 64% of all HIV-positive people and 90% of children (under 15s) living with the disease. However, we must not ignore other regions: in 2005, some 8.3 million people were living with <span class="caps">HIV</span> in Asia.<br /> To be concrete on how HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> can jeopardise achievement of the other Goals, I can provide an example from Zambia. Here, efforts to achieve Millennium Goal 2 on universal primary education are hampered by the fact that the government is having a hard time recruiting and training sufficient numbers of new teachers to replace those that die from <span class="caps">AIDS</span>. </p> <p>More fundamentally, high levels of poverty, inequality, social injustice, and deadly diseases are the not the result of chance or bad luck. Rather they are the direct consequence of societal and structural factors like discrimination and prejudice coupled with inadequate public policies, budgets and government service delivery systems, and weakly accountable governments. And, none of these problems can be tackled without deliberate and joint action by the Government and society as a whole. </p> <p>Q2: What role does gender equality play in fighting the disease?</p> <p>Gender plays a massive role of course. </p> <p>Women are more susceptible to the disease, both physiologically, but also because power relations in most societies are balanced against women. For example, in developing countries women tend to be economically dependent and/or at risk of violence. Overall, in many societies women lack the power, resources, knowledge and education to take the measures necessary to look after their own sexual and reproductive health. This makes them particularly vulnerable to <span class="caps">HIV</span>, and this shows in the data from sub-Saharan Africa, where 59% of HIV-positive adults are women. </p> <p>In addition, the burden of sickness and death caused by HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> is most often borne by women. When sickness strikes, the woman usually takes on the role of primary caregiver as well as primary breadwinner. And, in the case of the death of a husband or partner, women are often thrown out of their homes and off their land, because they – as women – do not have rights of inheritance over property. </p> <p>So working towards gender equality and the empowerment of women – and Millennium Goal 3 – is a crucial part of fighting the disease. Of course, empowering women is a very broad agenda. One very important aspect is girls’ education, and this is why the gender empowerment Goal focuses on providing equal opportunities for girls in education. </p> <p>We have some way to go: at the moment two-thirds of the 800 million people lacking basic literacy are women. Of the 100 million school-age children who are not currently in school, 57% of them are girls. </p> <p>Gaps in educational enrolment between boys and girls are particularly frustrating because we know that investing in a girl’s education is one of the single best development investments that we can make. There is overwhelming evidence that the education of girls is one of the most powerful catalysts for progress against a wide range of social indicators. With regard to HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span>, of course, education is the most powerful tool for reducing girls’ vulnerability. It contributes to female economic independence, delayed marriage, family planning and working outside the home. All of this considerably improves the chances of girls protecting themselves from HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span>. </p> <p>Q3: Why is it so important to achieve the <span class="caps">MDG</span> on education to win the combat against HIV/AIDS?</p> <p>There are several reasons. First, a good general basic education equips young people with the information and skills required to make healthy life choices, and it gives them the opportunity for economic independence and hope. It is for this reason that a good basic education ranks among the most effective – and cost-effective – means of <span class="caps">HIV</span> prevention. Second – as I already mentioned above – it is the most powerful tool for reducing girls’ particular vulnerability. Finally, a well-functioning educational system can provide a ready-made infrastructure for delivering HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> prevention efforts to large numbers of the population who are still uninfected i.e. schoolchildren and young people.</p> <p>Today we have a lot of information about HIV/AIDS: what it is, what it does, and how it is passed from one person to another. As a result we have proven methods of <span class="caps">HIV</span> prevention. And yet, the disease continues to spread. </p> <p>So of course, any dedicated strategy to tackle HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> must include a strong component on prevention, which must include HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> education. Young people would be a key target group of such education, as people under 25 compose almost half of the world’s population, and they are particularly vulnerable to infection.</p> <p>As important as education for behaviour change and prevention, is education to tackle the stigma and discrimination directed against people with HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span>. In developing countries, this stigma is not trivial: it can lead to HIV-positive people being excluded from housing, medical care, and employment, thereby worsening the conditions of powerlessness and exclusion which left them vulnerable to the disease in the first place. </p> <p>Q4: Money is a big challenge to achieving the MDGs. The EU-15 promised to increase their official development assistance to 0.7 per cent of national income by 2015. Is this step enough? How will you ensure that European governments keep their commitments?</p> <p>Yes, that is right, in 2005, the ‘older’ and ‘richer’ EU member states decided to recommit to providing 0.7% of their national income in development assistance. They made this promise as part of the EU’s contribution towards the achievement of the Millennium Goals. And, this new promise was also in response to strong public campaigns in many European countries. </p> <p>However, we should not forget that all of these countries first made this commitment in 1970. And yet, only 4 of the smaller EU-15 countries meet this target. Germany, of course, is not one of them. This historical fact reminds us that we cannot just sit back and relax now that the promise has been made. The only way that the commitment will be kept is if citizens remind governments of this promise and tell them that they care about it being achieved, and that they will be watching to make sure it happens.</p> <p>But, even if European governments do keep their promise there remain some important challenges. The first is to encourage other donor countries to follow their lead and increase their aid. Secondly, and just as important, we must ensure that all donors provide their aid in ways which are genuinely aimed at poverty alleviation, rather than fulfilling their own commercial or strategic interests as in the past. </p> <p>Finally – and potentially most importantly – we must continue to work for a reform of the trading system, so that it starts to benefit the poorest in developing countries. For the moment, of course, global trade is heavily skewed to the interests of industrialized countries, and attempts to change this situation through the so-called Doha “Development” Round of trade negotiations at the World Trade Organisation are stalled. The continued reluctance of the EU to change its damaging agricultural policies is one important factor behind the failure of the talks. We Europeans must force a change in this policy, and Germany – as an important and powerful country and one that does not favour such policies – must take a lead. </p> <p>This is just the picture for rich countries. Of course, developing countries face the burden of the work in implementing the Goals. They must put in place the budgets, policies and programmes to achieve the Goals for their poorest citizens. They must also improve transparency, accountability and governance. First because these are important in their own right, but second because better governance will help the achievement of the Goals, and allow citizens to monitor progress. Of course the Millennium Campaign is also working in developing countries to help citizens hold their governments to account. </p> <p>Q5: How will you ensure that these governments direct their aid on pressing targets rather than fulfilling their own strategic interests?</p> <p>Well, again, making sure that governments change the way they provide aid, simply requires us to make them keep their promises. All donor countries, including European countries, promised to substantially change the way they provide aid at two very important conferences that took place in Rome in 2003 and in Paris in 2005. </p> <p>But, there has been little progress on this issue to date. This is partly because the issues are complex and sometimes difficult to understand. As a result, we tend not to discuss them in public, allowing governments to drag their feet.<br /> But, improving aid quality is crucial. Let’s just look at a couple of ways of doing this. </p> <p>First and foremost, donors should focus their assistance on the countries most in need of funding to achieve the Millennium Goals, i.e. the poorest. These countries are often given low priority by donors as they channel the largest amount of funding to countries where they have commercial or other ‘strategic’ interests.</p> <p>Secondly, we must stop the very damaging practice whereby we provide aid and require that the recipient country use the aid to buy products from the donor country. This is a very bad practice. It reduces the value of the aid substantially. Also the aid often doesn’t focus on the real development need, but rather on what the rich country produces. It increases administration for the already overstretched recipient government, preventing them from running the programmes and projects that are genuinely necessary to achieve the Millennium Goals. And finally, the <span class="caps">OECD</span> tells us that this type of aid is particularly prone to corruption. While Germany has reduced this type of tied aid it has not completely eliminated it, unlike some of its European partners.</p> <p>More generally, we must ensure that aid is provided in a way which allows the developing country to have ownership over the development process, and to define their own priorities based on local needs. Only if they are responsible will they build up the capacity to develop their countries themselves in a sustainable fashion, and will they be accountable to their own citizens rather than donors. Too often in the past we ignored these needs. We would build beautiful hospitals or schools without consulting the government. They would function while we were there and then crumble when we left, because we didn’t invest in the capacity of the local government to run the facilities in the medium-term, or to provide them with the funds to pay for the doctors or teachers. Donors need to forget the illusion that we develop countries. We don’t. Developing countries must develop themselves, and we need to help them take responsibility by substantially changing our focus and the way we provide aid.</p> <p>There are many things that the German government could do to reorganise its aid administration and to change the way that it provides aid, which would allow German aid to put the responsibility and ownership for development in the hands of the recipient country. </p> <p>Q6: Would you like to add something, particularly on the campaign’s work against HIV/AIDS?</p> <p>On, HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> I want to reinforce the point that it is not an isolated problem. When we design our efforts to tackle this disease, we cannot ignore the other factors which contribute to its spread. We must also make the investments – both financial and in government capacity and accountability – which will allow sustainable progress across a variety of fronts. Progress in poverty reduction, nutrition, education, health care are just as important to combating and treating HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> as providing condoms or ARVs. If we only impose focused solutions from the outside – even with a lot of money and expertise – we may not get the results we want in terms of preventing the spread of the disease. </p> <p>If you permit me to make one final comment, I would remind readers that if we wish to see progress on the Millennium Goals – including on HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> – we must all take action to ensure that our governments do their part. </p> <p>In rich countries, citizens must push their governments to provide more and better aid, to provide debt relief and real trading opportunities for the world’s poor. We must start by working at home because we could have a big impact, and because we are the only ones that have the democratic legitimacy to hold our governments to account. Citizens from African countries cannot come to Berlin to ask the German government to keep its promise on aid, even if it was made under the banner of the Millennium Development Goals.</p> <p>So, take action! After all, we are the first generation with the resources, technology and know-how to end poverty and we must not let this opportunity slip by.</p> Global MDGs English Fri, 01 Dec 2006 15:47:37 +0000 Miki 832 at http://endpoverty2015.org The Centrality of Aid Effectiveness in the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals http://endpoverty2015.org/en/node/838 <p>Thank you for your invitation to speak today. I am always especially pleased to be talking to Parliamentarians, and this is not just because for many years I was one myself. It is also because I am firmly convinced of the power and importance of Parliamentarians and the difference that they can make.</p> <p>I don’t need to remind you that it is parliamentarians that hold the purse and set the laws of the land. And they have the power – and indeed the obligation – to monitor government action and influence public opinion. Parliamentarians have this power across the whole range of issues that concern citizens, but today I want to focus on our responsibilities as rich countries for development.</p> <p>Parliamentarians can do many things to raise public awareness of development issues and to hold governments to account. I will highlight just a few examples of what could be done, and is being done in some countries.</p> <p>• One example is to hold comprehensive debates with the government around key reports. The most informative of these reports is the OECD/<span class="caps">DAC</span> peer review of the efforts of individual rich countries. This report mostly focuses on aid, but it does cover a whole range of government policies addressing development, such as debt and trade. <br /> • My next example is from my own country, the Netherlands. There twenty-five years ago Parliament established the practice of having a parliamentary debate ahead of all major international meetings, including <span class="caps">WTO</span> Ministerial meetings and meetings of the World Bank and <span class="caps">IMF</span>, to ensure that the government pursues a development agenda in these meetings. <br /> • Finally, the UK parliament scrutinises all government policies to ensure that they are consistent with development objectives.<br /> So, there are many things Parliamentarians can do to ensure that we – as rich countries – are fulfilling our obligations to development. And today I wish to talk about these obligations – which are encapsulated by the eighth of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). </p> <p>Millennium Goal 8 symbolises a global partnership. This was confirmed in Monterrey, and at UN conferences since. Goal 8 creates a division of labour between the North and South and mutual responsibility for development. Specifically, it acknowledges that unless both sides live up to their promises, the eight Millennium Goals will not be achieved.</p> <p>Of course, the primary responsibility is with developing countries: to improve policies, to ensure pro-poor and transparent public expenditures, to deliver pro-poor labour-intensive growth, and to fight corruption. And developing country governments have to be accountable to their own citizens for all of this. </p> <p>Essentially, the Millennium Goals are about basic human rights, for example, the right to education, health or decent work. As such, the Millennium Goals (and the <span class="caps">MDG</span> Campaigns in the South) empower people to exercise their social and political rights, and – with their elected representatives – to demand that their governments live up to these responsibilities and obligations. The Goals provide a tool for ensuring that governments are responsive and accountable for the promises they made in the Millennium Declaration, and which they have confirmed in many international meetings since. In this way, the Millennium Goals, combined with citizen mobilization in developing countries, have both proven to be powerful tools to improve governance.</p> <p>And under the Millennium Goals compact, rich countries acknowledge that poor countries – particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa – will not achieve the Goals by themselves. We, the rich countries, must play our part to enable them to do so. This was agreed at the highest political level in the Millennium Declaration, but was also confirmed at Monterrey, at the UN Summit in 2005, in the Doha Declaration, and through the various Communiqués of the G8, the World Bank Development Committee.</p> <p>In rich countries, we must play our part by:<br /> • increasing the quantity of aid. Kemal Dervis has just referred to the minimum timetable for increasing aid to which all EU-15 countries are committed: 0.33% of <span class="caps">GNI</span> this year; 0.51% by 2010 and finally, 0.7% by 2015. But, 2015 is the year that goals have to be achieved, and we have to be sure that our cheque is not still in the mail then!<br /> • (but just as important or more important is) improving the quality of aid. There is no point in spending more of your taxpayers’ money if you, the elected representatives, cannot ensure that money is actually spent on what the Italian electorate clearly want it to be spent on: achieving the MDGs!<br /> • and, ensuring that we provide poor producers in developing countries the opportunity to earn themselves a livelihood by reforming our trade policies. It is still true that 70% of the world’s poor live in rural areas and so are dependent upon agriculture for their livelihoods, so a reform of our policies on agricultural trade is the most important. </p> <p>Today, I’ll focus my comments on aid quality. </p> <p>Last year the Swedish Director General &#8211; Ruth Jacoby &#8211; and I addressed the subject of aid effectiveness at a hearing of the Senate Committee, in view of the drafting of a new Italian law on the subject. At that time we very often referred to the OECD/<span class="caps">DAC</span> Peer Review of Italian aid. That report spells out the key issues for Italian aid in detail. Today, let me instead summarize the main issues that the donor community faces.</p> <p>In 2005 in his report “In Larger Freedom,” Kofi Annan underlined the need for donors to de-link aid from their geopolitical agendas. </p> <p>One example of this is from the France and the UK: for these countries I used to say that while they do care very much about child mortality, they cared more whether or not children in developing countries grow up speaking French or English.</p> <p>Italy, on the other hand, can be congratulated for not having much of a geopolitical agenda in developing countries. Instead it has traditionally focused its aid on the most needy countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa.</p> <p>Kofi Annan also called on donors to delink aid from their economic interest. The worst example of this is tied aid – i.e. aid that is tied to the purchase of goods and services from the country providing the aid. Tied aid provides poor value for money for the recipient; untying aid could increase its value by up to 25%. It is heavy in administration, and moreover it is particularly prone to corruption.</p> <p>But the most important reform needed in the way we deliver aid is to realize that we donors do not develop developing countries, but that they develop themselves. Instead we need to realise that our role is to enable them to take full responsibility. This was what was agreed when making the global deal of the Millennium Development Goals. </p> <p>This means that we must support homegrown poverty reduction strategies and <span class="caps">MDG</span> plans. We must allow priorities to be defined locally and ensure that recipient Governments are accountable to their own citizens first and foremost, instead of to us, foreign donors. </p> <p>We have to align our efforts – both our policies and our procedures – to those of the developing country, and, as a donor community we must coordinate and harmonise our efforts. </p> <p>To do all of this implies a radical change in the way we deliver aid. And it implies a massive change in our attitude. We must stop thinking about “our” Dutch or Italian projects, and instead think about “their” development process. We must move away from building “our” schools or hospitals to supporting “their” education or health policies.</p> <p>I hope you will allow me to read you a quote from the new Portuguese development strategy: “the most important reason that a lot of development cooperation failed in the past is because of fragmented uncoordinated supply-driven bilateral interventions.” Our Portuguese colleagues are talking about the tens of thousands of isolated projects, demanding hundreds of thousands of different reports to multiple donors, each with their own procedures: for procurement, for accounting, for evaluation … </p> <p>All of these requirements are to ensure accountability to us donors. And in fact, at the same time our practices were further eroding accountability of developing country governments to their own citizens. </p> <p>What is more, at the end of the day, most of these projects – which ignored or undermined local responsibilities – proved to be unsustainable after the donor left, as they were not embedded in the country’s own policies. After the donor left there simply were not the resources to pay for the salaries of teachers or nurses, or even for maintenance.</p> <p>The first ever International Conference where donors acknowledged they were part of the problem, and where they promised to become part of the solution, took place here in Rome in February 2003. This was followed by another conference in Spring 2005 at the <span class="caps">OECD</span> in Paris, where the donor community signed concrete commitments. </p> <p>These commitments included the following promises: &#8211; to respect home-grown strategies; &#8211; to align donor support to these; &#8211; to work together to coordinate and harmonize procedures; and &#8211; to do away with individual projects, evaluations and missions. </p> <p>Donors agreed concrete indicators and deadlines for the achievement all of these commitments. </p> <p>A month later the EU agreed on a concrete timetable for achievement of the 0.7% ODA/<span class="caps">GNI</span> commitment.</p> <p>All of these commitments &#8211; made after the Millennium Declaration – have provided much-needed flesh to Millennium Goal 8, which – as you know – covers rich country responsibilities. Goal 8 now has concrete indicators and deadlines attached to it. Just to remind you, the other 7 goals, for which developing countries have the primary responsibility, had deadlines and indicators from the outset.</p> <p>So now, the global deal under the Millennium Development Goals is finally a fair deal.</p> <p>Let me conclude by explaining the division of labour between North and South under the Millennium Development Goals, by making a comparison with the division of labour between the driver and the passengers in a car:</p> <p>- the developing country should be in the driver’s seat. &#8211; we, the donors, should be like the passengers. &#8211; as such, we may check whether the driver has a clean license i.e. whether the developing country government has a decent poverty reduction strategy or <span class="caps">MDG</span> plan. &#8211; but, we must keep our hands off the steering wheel by respecting local ownership of the development process, and by aligning ourselves to local policies and procedures. &#8211; also, we must not distract the driver with conflicting advice. In a real car we would not force the driver to switch from the left side to the right side of the road, or to read from different maps &#8211; one in miles and the other in kilometres. So we must not provide conflicting advice on development. Instead we must harmonize and coordinate, and refrain from imposing irrelevant conditionalities. &#8211; we, the passengers, should also pay our fair share for the fuel, i.e. by keeping our commitment to the 0.7% ODA/<span class="caps">GNI</span> target. &#8211; but, when paying for the fuel, we must not demand a particular brand, i.e. Shell or Agip. That is, we must stop tying our aid, and stop forcing the developing country to buy goods from the Netherlands or from Italy.<br /> Having said that, the passengers cannot just ‘sit back, relax and enjoy the view.’ No, because Goal 8 has more components: &#8211; the passengers should care about the car’s suspension system, and take measures to lighten the load. We need to lift countries’ debt burdens. &#8211; donors must also help the driver by clearing the road of boulders and fallen trees. Particularly those boulders the passengers put there in the first place. To start with, this means getting rid of outdated aid modalities and procedures, which stand in the way of enabling developing countries really being in the driving seat and really taking responsibility for their own development. &#8211; and, it also means donors must break down the walls they have built in the global trading system, which prevent products made by poor people in poor countries from reaching our rich consumer markets. &#8211; in addition, the donors must change their agricultural policies, which destroy rural livelihoods in poor countries. To remind you, in Europe, these policies cost the average European family 100 euros a month, without helping our own poor farmers, or our environment. </p> <p>If we respect the division of labour embedded in the Goals and if all countries – both rich and poor – live up to the promises they made, and are held to account for these promises by their own citizens and parliaments, we’ll all reach our destination safely: the achievement of the MDGs by 2015.<br /> But, we’re not there yet. </p> <p>This is because we’ve decided to take the country road rather than the high-speed motorway, and rather than making steady progress towards our destination, we keep stopping in service stations to buy chocolate and fizzy drinks.</p> <p>That is, so far, progress on the Goals is slow and patchy. While – on our currently slow and winding progress – we might achieve some of the Goals at a global level, this does not stop some of the poorest countries and poorest peoples being left behind.</p> <p>To remind you, sub-Saharan Africa as a region is not currently on track to achieve any of the Goals, and South Asia – the other region which is most behind – will meet the poverty goal, largely because of India. It will also meet the target on water provision. But, South Asia is falling short on all of the other Goals.</p> <p>But, I don’t want to paint too bleak a picture, and I want to end by saying that even in the poorest countries we have examples of impressive progress. For example, while sub-Saharan Africa as a whole will not meet the Goal to halve the share of its poverty in extreme poverty, Mozambique – a least developed country – is on track to meet this Goal.</p> <p>And there are many examples just like this, whether it be in primary education or in reducing infection rates in countries with a high prevalence of HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span>.<br /> The secret behind these success stories – indeed it is not so much of a secret – is that all of us, drivers and passengers, donors and beneficiaries, have been doing what we are committed to do: respecting mutual responsibilities and the global division of labour.</p> <p>The Goals are achievable, we just need to put our foot on the accelerator. We can reach the destination safely, and achieve the Goals by 2015.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> Global MDGs English Tue, 17 Oct 2006 15:37:58 +0000 Miki 838 at http://endpoverty2015.org Global Citizenship: Keeping Promises, Taking Action http://endpoverty2015.org/en/node/835 <p><span class="caps">EXCERPTS</span> <span class="caps">TAKEN</span> <span class="caps">FROM</span> A <span class="caps">SPEECH</span> <span class="caps">DELIVERED</span> TO <span class="caps">OVER</span> 300 <span class="caps">UNIVERSITY</span> <span class="caps">AND</span> <span class="caps">COLLEGE</span> <span class="caps">STUDENTS</span> <span class="caps">FROM</span> <span class="caps">ACROSS</span> <span class="caps">THE</span> <span class="caps">COUNTRY</span> <span class="caps">PARTICIPATING</span> IN <span class="caps">THE</span> 59TH <span class="caps">ANNUAL</span> <span class="caps">ASSEMBLY</span> OF <span class="caps">WORLD</span> <span class="caps">UNIVERSITY</span> <span class="caps">SERVICE</span> OF <span class="caps">CANADA</span>. (<span class="caps">WUSC</span>)</p> <p>I’m supposed to inspire you. I’m very much inspired by you. I feel your creativity, your passion, your energy and indeed I was very much moved by the speeches last night. It is actually people like you that made the Millennium Development Goals come about in the first place. These goals are derived from the great UN conferences in the 1990s. It was people like you, not governments, that extracted these promises from governments that were then added up into these Millennium Development Goals. So they wouldn’t have come about without your type of passion and energy. More importantly, they will not be implemented without your passion, your creativity, your energy, and it’s about implementation that I want to talk to you.</p> <p>These Millennium Development Goals are very visionary, but vision without implementation is hallucination. The Millennium Declaration is truly visionary. I still think it’s a miracle that world leaders came together in the year 2000 and realized at the dawn of this century that the biggest problem facing us &#8211; to which most other problems are derived or linked &#8211; is indeed 1.2 billion people living on less than a $1 per day. </p> <p>Never before did we have the political consensus around a number of goals that everybody signed up to, which are time-bound so you can actually measure progress. And there is political consensus. I’ve spent most of my life on these issues, and I remember many years ago &#8211; in the UN or other international meetings and north-south discussions &#8211; the dialogue between poor and rich countries was very sour, with poor countries always telling rich countries “We can’t do anything about poverty. It’s the international economic order that is unjust and you are responsible for that. You don’t give us enough help, we can’t do anything.” And rich countries would say “Please put your own house in order, do something yourself before you start asking us.”</p> <p>With the Millennium Development Goals we’ve achieved this global deal in which we all agree that it’s the primary responsibility of developing countries to put the policies in place to get kids in school, to improve their health systems, to improve their governments, to fight corruption, and to put their own money where their mouth is. We also acknowledged that poor countries simply will not achieve the goals unless we rich countries do a better job of providing more aid, more effective aid, more debt relief, and by changing trade rules in order to help poor producers sell their products to our rich consumer markets. </p> <p>We are the first generation that has the knowledge and the resources to put an end to poverty. We have the political consensus about who should be doing what. So everything is fine, you would think. The problem is that we at the United Nations can create a platform for governments to make promises. We have a wonderful room where government leaders make the most beautiful speeches. But after signing an agreement, after making the speech, governments take the plane back home to Madrid, Moscow, Managua, to Ouagadougou, to Washington and Vienna, to Bangkok, Berlin and Bamako, to business as usual and they forget about their promises.</p> <p>In a world of sovereign nation states &#8211; at the end of the day &#8211; it’s only you, the citizens, it’s only your parliament that can hold governments to account for their promises and that’s where your energy comes in. I’ve been looking at your conference program, and I’m impressed by how many of you are involved and doing volunteer work and fundraising for all kinds of issues that are very closely linked to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. That is important, because each human life lived in dignity is worth working for. But the issue really is that all of these billions of initiatives, even taken together, will still never &#8211; in the face of 1.2 billion people living on less than a dollar per day &#8211; compensate for lack of action of governments. </p> <p>We will not achieve the goals unless governments do what they promised. Only then, will we achieve the scale of action that is needed. So whatever you’re doing, I think that it is very important that you add to your activities raising your voice, wearing your white bands, joining the movement to hold governments to account, because only then can the goals really be reached. </p> <p>I sometimes compare this beautiful world in 2015 “goals set, goals met,” with a mosaic. A mosaic has little tiles and for a mosaic to be nice, every tile has to turn on exactly the right color, every tile is a country, only if each country turns in the right color, does what it promised, will we achieve the goals. </p> <p>So being in Canada, I want to talk about what it is that Canada should be doing. When I make speeches in poor countries, I give them a long lecture about corruption, about governance, about what they should be doing. But if I make a speech in a rich country, I focus on what it is that you should ask your government to live up to. And there is some room for improvement in Canada. </p> <p>Canada has announced &#8211; hurrah! &#8211; that it will double its official development assistance between 2001 and 2010, by increasing aid by 8% every year. That sounds great. The problem is that 2001 is the base year, a year when the budget was really, really, really small. So, doubling in 10 years doesn’t really give you a big bang. </p> <p>Now when I was in Canada for the first time, twenty-some years ago at an international conference, we had this like-minded group of northern Europeans and Canadians. We were very progressive on these issues and Canada wanted to be compared as peers with Europe. Sometimes when I make speeches now in Canada they tell me “Well, we’re doing better than the U.S.” If that’s your view, I can stop my speech here and now, because indeed you are doing better on these issues than the U.S., and you will continue to, easy enough. </p> <p>But the Canada I remember was a Canada that did care about being compared with peers in the part of the world where I come from. If you look at it today, Canada spends much less, not only than the usual Swedes and Norwegians (that are so perfect), but less than the average European country, less than France, the UK, and Germany. Measured in terms of absolute dollars, Canada is a smaller donor than Sweden, the Netherlands, and Spain. These are countries that are not members of the G8, they are not members of the G20, but their budget for development cooperation is much larger. And given Canadian ambitions as a G8 member, as a leader in the G20 &#8211; leading a lot of the debate over the last few years on the African action plan &#8211; I think a little bit more consistency would be helpful. </p> <p>This country was among the very first in the world to commit to 0.7% of <span class="caps">GDP</span> to official development assistance. It was the Pearson Report that came out with it first. We are talking about some 30 years ago, and Canada continued to recommit, and there have been resolutions passed in your Parliament every few years, but no deadlines. </p> <p>I found it particularly puzzling, because your finance minister, Minister Goodale, was a member of the Blair Commission for Africa. That report makes a passionate plea for deadlines on the 0.7 pledge. So your finance minister’s membership there, should translate one of these days to doing that at home. </p> <p>You know these poor countries have to achieve their goals by 2015. You can’t have your cheque still in the mail in 2015. So setting a schedule and increasing what you’re doing now is very important.</p> <p>But this is not only about more money. The Blair Commission also made the point that there simply is no point in increasing aid volume, if we don’t get better in delivering aid. We have to create a better quality of aid, because there is no point in increasing aid with the current kinds of delivery systems. Aid has to be focused on poor countries, that need external concessional resources to achieve the goals; it must be “untied”, i.e. not be conditioned to procurement of the donors’ goods and services; and donors must coordinate and harmonize their programmes and align them to support the recipients’ own efforts.</p> <p>Finally, the issue of trade. Doha was going to be the first trade round where poor countries would not just be the beggars at the feast! That’s what we promised. Nothing has happened since in terms of actual implementation of this promise. Trade barriers for products made by poor countries are four times as high as trade barriers that we have among ourselves as rich countries. If you are a producer of silk ties in Italy, you have no problem in exporting those ties anywhere you want. If you make a cotton t-shirt in Africa it’s really, really hard to get through our trade barriers. </p> <p>How can you get parliamentarians to focus on these issues? I’ve been a Member of Parliament. It takes political leadership to stand up for these issues. Because the poor from Africa don’t come here to demonstrate in front of your parliament, someone has to raise that voice. It takes leadership, but there is a much larger chance that politicians would take leadership if they know they can actually win votes and not lose them in the next elections. And from that perspective, these white bands, and that movement is tremendously important. It’s not just enough to wear them. Politicians have to see that this is something that matters with their own electorate in their own constituency. There is a lot you can do. </p> <p>It is very important to get the message out about the MDGs and what kind of global responsibility they are. I mean you are the most wonderful group of global citizens in your country. Make your country behave like a global citizen.</p> <p>This is not just about yet another generation of children in poor countries that don’t see the inside of a classroom. It is also about not yet another generation growing up in a country like this – Canada &#8211; having no clue how their peers in poor countries live, and how your own society shares responsibility for this. </p> <p>Now let me finish: we are the first generation &#8211; mine, not yours &#8211; that can put an end to poverty. You should not let my generation of politicians off the hook.</p> Global MDGs English Tue, 01 Nov 2005 16:07:36 +0000 Miki 835 at http://endpoverty2015.org “No Excuses: Promises Must Be Kept” http://endpoverty2015.org/en/node/827 <p>I make many speeches to many types of audiences but you, Civil Society, are my absolute favorite. </p> <p>It is Civil Society that was the prime mover behind the goals in the first place. By extracting promises from reluctant governments at the Great UN Summits of the 90s and it’s these promises that evolved into the Millennium Development Goals. </p> <p>It is your passion, energy and your efforts to try and give a voice to the poor that make them heard at government levels. </p> <p>It is you, Civil Society, that insist on a right based approach, acknowledging that the poor need to be empowered to demand government action responsive to their needs. </p> <p>It is you claiming participation and rightly so because people are actors and not targets of development. </p> <p>It is you Civil Society that continues to give a human face to abstract statistics and global averages ensuring that action becomes relevant to the marginalized, the impoverished, the excluded, to the women, the disabled and the indigenous people.</p> <p>It is my deep conviction that without you, we would not have had these goals agreed upon in the first place, and even more, without you, we will not have them implemented. Without your continuing relentless advocacy and campaigning, demanding accountability and translation of the rhetoric we hear too often in this huge hall into real action on the ground. And indeed, many of you are already rising to the challenge doing exactly that. But among you here, there are also a few that express some doubts about these goals. On the one hand, many of you find the Millennium Goals in fact minimum goals and on the other hand, however, minimum they might be some and you doubt if they are achievable in the first place. Now let me address both concerns. </p> <p>Of course these goals are minimum goals. I am also impatient and often dream that the other world is possible, and that we should be making now. However, let us never belittle the importance of the improvement of the life of every single individual human being, let alone of the hundreds of millions of babies surviving, children getting education, and women empowered if we get the job done by 2015. And indeed, wherever the goals are not ambitious enough, please go ahead and raise the bar to what we call in UN speak “<span class="caps">MDG</span> plus.” You are right that for many middle income countries, but even poor countries, there is scope to increase the ambition, and that is exactly what is happening with “<span class="caps">MDG</span> plus.“ East Asia and Latin America include in goal 2, secondary education. But not only in middle income countries, in Vietnam the bar is raised because poverty has already been halved; in rich countries, if your country has already achieved the 0.7% please go ahead and campaign for 1%. </p> <p>Your second doubt, Are these goals achievable? Please join me by simply not accepting that the goals are not going to be achieved. The world does have the resources and we know what to do. So please don’t get disheartened by so many reports (including from the United Nations) that emphasize that so many countries are off track of so many of the goals, accentuating the negative that the glass is half empty, while relying on statistics that predate the adoption of these goals. Please reject this undue pessimism because these goals are doable. Even indeed, while there is progress, it doesn’t seem adequate, and particularly the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa and least developed countries is worrisome. But even there: as Malawi and Ruanda can achieve goal 2 and get all their kids to school; as Tanzania is on track on the water goal; as Uganda and Senegal are able to reverse the <span class="caps">AIDS</span> pandemic, as for Mozambique the child mortality goal could be in reach: If some of even the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa can achieve some of the goals, I will not give up believing that the goals are achievable including in Sub-Saharan Africa and the least developed countries. The aforementioned success stories can simply be explained as cases where the global compact is implemented. The government concerned has reasonably good policies and rich countries have been relatively generous and helpful with aid and debt relief. So the global deal can work. And, as the song about New York states: “If [it] can make it there, [it] can make it anywhere.” The goals are doable.</p> <p>Now let me also answer the cynics who say that at the UN goals have been often set, but seldom met. Firstly, this is not true. And even for those not fully met, setting goals always led to acceleration of progress towards reaching them. Defining success or failure has always been predicated on the degree of mobilization behind the goal, beyond the UN system, beyond the bureaucracies, and beyond the inter-governmental system into the real world country by country by country. </p> <p>From this perspective, the Millennium Development Goals have already broken all records. Already within a couple of years, as the SG’s report stated “these goals have transformed the face of global development cooperation. There has been unprecedented coordinated action in the multilateral system, in the wider donor community, within developing countries and most importantly mobilization far beyond governments by Civil Society, among parliamentarians, faith based communities and local authorities.” In the real world, country after country and everywhere it is you Civil Society, that makes that happen. So I don’t accept from you that these goals are not achievable, because that would render them into a self-fulfilling prophecy. So it’s in your hands. Rightly so, the Secretary General says, “It is not at the UN that the goals will be achieved. They have to be achieved in each country by the joint efforts of the governments and people.” Indeed the United Nations can provide the platform for governments to make promises, but the UN is only as strong as its member states allow it to be. The real problem is that government leaders come to the United Nations make beautiful speeches and promises and take back the plane to business as usual. This was the case with the promise of the 0.7%, 30 years ago and it’s the case now with Millennium Declaration the past four years. How many governments actually, after their Presidents and Prime Ministers returned from New York from the Millennium Summit, sat down with their Cabinet members to discuss what their signature implied for health and education policies in developing countries and for finance and trade policies in rich countries?</p> <p>It is political will that is needed. As the SG stated; “Political shifts only if there is national and local mobilization by the public and only when leaders are held accountable. Appeals by international organizations are one thing, but what would really make a difference is if at the local level the goals achieve a critical mass of support and even become vote getters.” Indeed the real world is at country level. There is no point in producing global norms and goals unless they are translated in concrete political action at country level. All politics is local: think global, act local –get the message out to your own politicians-better act or else you’ll lose votes. So we don’t need more international meetings. What we do need is mobilization at the local levels and in the developing countries the Millennium Developments Goals indeed reflect the people’s aspirations. But also in rich countries public opinion polls show time and time again that the people want their government to be more forthcoming to help poor countries to achieve the goals. What is lacking there? Is it transmission belts to ensure that politicians realize that they can win, not lose votes by acting? A German <span class="caps">NGO</span> told me that Civil Society had a meeting with Bundes Chancellor Schroeder, during the election campaign, and that he told the NGOs, “well you are not exactly a mass movement.” This is where the problem is. And the Millennium Development Goals provide this perfect umbrella to bring about such a mass movement. To create a grand alliance across many social actors, <span class="caps">AIDS</span> activists, women, health workers, environmentalists, teachers unions, consumer organizations, local authorities, labor unions and world wide, tapping into broad concerns of people to ensure that “globalization benefits all” as the Millennium Declaration literally promises. The Millennium Development Goals are a road map to shape fair globalization ensuring a social dimension and a human face. And while you are working to create such broad movements, think about surprising partners. For instance: Olympic Medal Winners, the Boys Scouts Movements. But also the private sector, as Oxfam UK did by sharing a platform with the <span class="caps">CEO</span> of Unilever to demand elimination of agriculture subsidies or the campaign in Brazil where the private sector plans to ensure that every milk carton on the breakfast table of every Brazilian mentions the Millennium Development Goals. Last but not least-in terms of allies: You must engage parliamentarians. After all making governments accountable is their job and mandate. Parliaments hold the purse and set the laws of the land. That is where political will can and must be generated. </p> <p>While campaigning to hold your governments to account please acknowledge the division of labor in the global deal. Let me first elaborate what this means if you come from a rich country. The Millennium Development Goals are a global compact built around mutual commitments, and demand mutual accountability by all countries. So rich countries have to meet their commitments reflected in goal 8: increase aid and aid effectiveness, debt relief and trade opportunities while eliminating agriculture subsidies which destroy markets on which poor farmers in poor counties depend. That is what goal 8, the global partnership is about, but any real partnership assumes mutual accountability and reciprocal obligations, and until now while goals1-7 have had concrete deadlines, these are lacking for goal 8. The global deal is really not a fair deal. But the good news is the number of rich countries that set themselves targets for goal 8 is increasing and you Civil Society in the North can help making that happen . On quantity of aid, by now 5 countries, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, have actually achieved or surpassed the 0.7. Five other countries have promised to do so, well in advance of 2015 (as our check cannot still be in the mail): Ireland by 2007, Belgium by 2010, France and Spain by 2012, and the United Kingdom by 2013. Now if you come from these countries, please mobilize for monitorable annual intermediate targets up to that date, to be set and met. Now if you come from elsewhere in the rich world from Italy, Germany or Australia and elsewhere please mobilize to ensure your country get its act together to join the “G 0.7.” </p> <p>Please also monitor how the money is being spent: for geo-political reasons to fight terrorism? Or in order to achieve the goals by focusing on poor countries that need concessional external resources and on sectors that are relevant to achievement of the goals. And ensure it is delivered in a fashion that enables poor countries to take charge and use it effectively. On trade: Doha Development agenda is set and includes the issue of eliminating agriculture subsidies. However again, dates and deadlines are lacking. In one rich country, the UK, the trade minister has called for a timely concrete deadline for this. Wherever you come from in the rich world, please mobilize in order that your government follows this call. </p> <p>On debt, while thanks to the Jubilee Movement, some poor countries received some debt relief, the International Financial Institutions still do not define debt sustainability in terms of resources needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Please mobilize to ensure your Finance Minster complies with what your government leaders pledged and instruct their representative at the International Financial Institutions accordingly. Finally, on accountability, almost 100 developing countries have prepared reports on how they plan to achieve goal 1-7, but until now only Denmark, Netherlands, and Sweden have reported their efforts to ensure achievement of goal 8, while Belgium, Spain, Finland, Norway and the UK have announced to do so. If you are from elsewhere, please promote this example. And while rich countries preach poor countries that their reports should come about in a participatory fashion, most of them don’t seem to practice that with their own reports. So please claim to be involved. </p> <p>Those of you who are from developing countries: your focus should be on the primary responsibility of your governments to achieve the first seven goals. In some countries campaigns have started under the banner “No Excuses.” And this is exactly what this is about. Even while rich countries fail to live up to their commitments there is no excuse for developing countries not to do a better job. For instance, primary education is not expensive. Even the poorest countries should be able to mobilize and prioritize domestic resources to get all their children to school. So don’t let your own government off the hook to be accountable to its own people on how your own resources are being used. Ensure that these goals are localized, tailor made to your national context and local priorities and are both ambitious and feasible. Localized also by breaking down statistics to reveal differences in gender, in regions and social economic groups to ensure that action focuses on those that are at risk of missing the goals. And don’t let your government off the hook with “strategy documents.” The Millennium Developments Goals need to be integrated into all national plans, sectoral policies and budgets at all levels. They need to be mainstreamed into the sinews of government at every level, and in the implementation machinery of all line ministries. So the goals need to be adopted, adapted, translated, operationalized and implemented. You don’t want to monitor intentions, but results. Not just budget allocations, but actual delivery all over the country at primary schools and health care centers. Join the fight against corruption to ensure the huge integrity dividend that would accrue to be redeployed for the achievement of the goals. So holding your governments to account, both South and North, is what it takes to achieve the goals. So as the momentum is building, grab it and run and make it a home run. </p> <p>Next year in this same building and in this same hall, governments will meet once again five years after Millennium Summit, to come together and ask themselves, “Where are we in achieving these goals?” That is what you should ask them today. There is no excuse not to start acting today. In order to ensure that indeed next year’s Summit will be a turning point in the fight against poverty; a window of opportunity to focus and re-energize political will to scale up and speed up political commitments and translate them into real action. But particularly concerning goal 8, we know that it is not at the United Nations that important decisions are taken by rich countries. They have to be taken well ahead, in meetings preceding the Summit, which will be held here next September. Action needs to be taken within the World Trade Organization, meetings of the Doha Development Round; at EU Ministerial Councils and Summits; at G8 Meetings and at the World Banks Development Committee; and at the <span class="caps">IMF</span> Committee. So start working now to demand your government to do what it takes in order that they will deliver in September 2005. Presently, a coalition is being formed North and South under the banner “Global Call to Action Against Poverty.” And this coalition is planning to organize global mobilization days to show leaders that citizens North and South do care and want to put an end to poverty. Indeed there is an unprecedented mobilization and a unique window of opportunity to put an end to poverty. </p> <p>Already there are 35 large countries, both North and South national coalitions are being formed to participate. </p> <p>While government leaders take planes back home to business as usual, I know that you do not. And indeed, we need action now; children in developing countries cannot wait and neither can this world afford for yet another generation growing up in rich countries to have no clue of how their peers live elsewhere, and who are illiterate on how their own society shares responsibility for this situation. We are the first generation that can put an end to poverty and I would like you to refuse with us to miss that opportunity.</p> Global MDGs English Wed, 01 Sep 2004 14:05:00 +0000 Miki 827 at http://endpoverty2015.org Address at the 2003 Max Van Der Stoel Human Rights Prize Reception http://endpoverty2015.org/en/node/831 <p>To work towards the Millennium Development Goals is to work towards human rights. This might sound obvious, but for a long time it was not obvious, at least to rich countries. The world of human rights movements and the world of development workers have remained separate for too long. The international debate has been dominated for too long by the assumption that human rights are about political and civil rights while development cooperation is about economic growth, and more to the point per-capita economic growth, glossing over the issue of who benefits from it and who does not. Yet improving quality of life is at the heart of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and poverty-reduction efforts: anyone who fights poverty is advancing human rights, and anyone who advances human rights must reject poverty.</p> <p> For far too long, civil and political rights have been thought of as separate from economic, social and cultural rights. For far too long, efforts have been made to divorce the two groups of rights from each other or to rank them in a hierarchical order. One justification offered is that someone who is hungry will worry about getting food first and the right to freedom of expression second. I have always opposed such reasoning. Of course, someone who is hungry will reach for bread before he reaches for a newspaper, but for society as a whole, the issue looks different. Demanding and guaranteeing access to food requires a political order which respects civil and political rights. Social movements all over the world have a deep need for freedom of expression and assembly simply to establish economic and social rights. In the words of Indian economist and Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen, “no substantial famine has ever occurred in a country with a democratic form of government and a relatively free press”.</p> <p> On the other hand, the “traditional” human-rights movement has long concentrated on civil and political rights, probably because they can be pursued more easily through the law. When talking about such rights, the main concern is that Governments should adopt a “hands-off” approach and stay out of things which are not their business: they should not interfere, round people up, ban newspapers, torture opponents or discriminate against minorities.</p> <p> Social and economic rights are a more complicated matter. To translate them into action, Governments must take a “hands-on” approach. Enforcing the right to education means that Governments must build enough schools, train enough teachers and allocate enough money for both. Asserting the right to development is similarly complicated.</p> <p> Development cooperation has just such an aim. Surely if we help a country to build up health care, we are also promoting the human rights enshrined in treaties: the right to life, the right to physical integrity and the right to adequate health standards. In the words of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan: “Wherever we lift one soul from a life of poverty, we are defending human rights. And whenever we fail in this mission, we are failing human rights.” Development policy contributes to eliminating many of the conditions which encourage human-rights violations and the denial of individuals’ worth. A consensus has been emerging in recent years that fighting poverty is a matter of human rights and vice versa, and that economic, social and cultural rights have claimed a rightful place in the indivisible body of human rights. This is illustrated by another quotation, this time from former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson: “Extreme poverty is the most serious form of human rights violation in the world. And the elimination of poverty is not an act of charity, but a basic entitlement: a human right.”</p> <p> The Millennium Declaration signed by 189 Heads of State and Government at the United Nations General Assembly in 2000 makes these links clear. The eight Millennium Goals adopted represent a breakthrough in combating poverty and injustice. They propose to halve extreme poverty, assert the right to primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce maternal and child mortality, combat the spread of HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span>, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development in which rich countries commit themselves to providing more and better assistance and to an open and fair trading system.</p> <p> The Millennium Goals’ emphasis on lack of access to the basic needs of life amounts to a focus on human rights. The direct link between the Millennium Goals and human rights is obvious: compare the Goals and articles 25 and 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 25 deals with the right of every individual to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services. Mothers and children are entitled to special care and assistance. There is also a clear link between this article of the Universal Declaration and Millennium Goal 1, regarding the halving of extreme poverty and hunger, Millennium Goals 4 and 5, regarding mother and child mortality and Millennium Goal 7, regarding access to clean water. Article 26 deals with the right to education and free access to elementary education, overlapping with Millennium Goal 2, regarding universal primary education. Millennium Goal 3, regarding gender equality, is expressed not just in the Universal Declaration but also in a series of other human-rights agreements.</p> <p> There is a very obvious connection between the Millennium Goals and a number of mostly economic and social rights in the Universal Declaration, but there is also a shared fundamental framework. Though the eight Millennium Goals are founded on quantifiable social and economic rights, it would be impossible to picture those rights being achieved at the expense of the broader human rights set out in the Universal Declaration. If we were to look only at the number of poor people, the number of children in school and child and maternal mortality percentages, we would fall straight into the trap of the basic needs strategy of the 1970s, which was cynically labelled the “zoo strategy”. One can provide zoo animals with a roof over their heads and with good food and good care without any problem, but development is a different matter.</p> <p> What has changed in the last ten years is that development is seen as more complex. The Human Development Report 2000 states that the rights-based development process will avoid being ruthless (leaving losers to abject poverty), jobless (creating little employment), voiceless (failing to ensure participation of people), futureless (destroying the environment for future generations) and rootless (destroying cultural traditions and history).</p> <p> Today, I want to dwell on the dangers of “ruthless” development, and of “voiceless” development in which the poor have no say.</p> <p> We would indeed be ruthless if we simply looked at aggregated figures. We would perhaps achieve the Millennium Goals by 2015, but average figures conceal enormous differences, because development bypasses women, minorities, indigenous peoples, the socially excluded, the marginalized, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged. This creates even greater inequality in societies by giving rise to discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, and so on. This is why national Millennium Development Goals strategies, such as those which most developing countries are now putting together, must have a specific policy for those groups. Indicators and figures should show clearly how the situations of men and women, majorities and minorities and particular regions differ from each other.</p> <p> Then there is the danger of voiceless development, which denies a say to the very groups development is targeting. In contrast to the traditional approach of past decades, the present approach no longer sorts individuals into target groups, but sees them as partners with rights. They play a leading role, and are made responsible for determining their own development.</p> <p> Development based exclusively on providing services (health care, education, water supplies, and so on) has also demonstrably failed. That was the “zoo” approach. A wide consensus has emerged, and it includes the international financial institutions, that poverty is multidimensional and that development must focus on freedom in a holistic sense, not just freedom from misery, hunger, illiteracy, illness and poor housing, but also freedom from being disrespected, undervalued and from being denied choice, information and opportunity. Poverty is about much more than a lack of income. It is about exclusion, powerlessness and insecurity. Injustice and discrimination are the main sources not just of human-rights violations, but also of poverty. The right to have one’s human rights respected is more important for the poor and the marginalized than for any other group of individuals. Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is more vital for them than for anyone else. The poor, especially women, have no access to the law and are perpetually prey to violence, exploitation and other phenomena.</p> <p> Discrimination and social exclusion cause poverty. To quote Amartya Sen once again: “No concept of poverty can be satisfactory if it does not take note of the disadvantages that arise from being excluded from shared opportunities enjoyed by others.” The reverse is also true. Poverty does not only undermine or destroy economic and social rights, it does the same to civil and political rights such as the right to a fair trial, political involvement and security. For these reasons, human rights are the means and the momentum behind the Millennium Development Goals, just as achieving those Goals will help to secure human rights. Modern development policy goes well beyond providing services. It is about political empowerment, political power and political involvement. Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is about more than reaching the quantifiable targets which they contain. Just as important is the path taken to achieve them, and therefore the task of changing the structures which cause and perpetuate discrimination and thus poverty.</p> <p> Poverty can be fought effectively only if the poor have real political power. The best way to achieve that is to have democratic leadership at all levels of society. That means structuring institutions and sharing power to give the poor a place and a voice, and establishing mechanisms to hold those in power to account. The process must also be inclusive, to prevent a situation in which the Millennium Development Goals are reached, but the progress made bypasses groups such as women, minorities and indigenous peoples. The poor cannot be treated as a homogenous group. Genuinely democratic government requires genuine political involvement for the poor and policies which respond to their interests. Studies by the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank (Voices of the Poor) have shown clearly how helpless and powerless people can feel when dealing with corrupt, inefficient and arrogant leaders. In many countries, the poorest have scant trust in Government institutions, officials and politicians, finding them more of a hindrance than a help, and they lose more money to them than they get from them. They feel threatened and intimidated by the police, ignored by politicians, belittled by the ruling class and gagged within the political system. Many rightly see a trustworthy Government, less corruption and equal rights for all as the key to a better future. In too many developing countries, the verse of the time-honoured Internationale which runs: “L’état comprime et la loi triche” (“We’re tricked by laws and regulations”) still rings true. That is why (as I repeated often when I was a minister) good governance is so important a precondition and goal of development policy. The Millennium Declaration, with its 8 goals, reaffirms the importance of democracy and good governance to fighting poverty and emphasizes the value of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance and shared responsibility as essential ingredients in attaining the Millennium Development Goals. The process of translating the Goals into action and the results of their implementation must be founded on human rights.</p> <p> The Millennium Declaration states that the international community will spare no effort to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law, as well as respect for all internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, with priority attention to the human rights of women, children, minorities and other vulnerable groups, and to “strive for the full protection and promotion in all our countries of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights for all”.</p> <p> Naturally, in the wake of the Millennium Declaration, the question is how women, children and the vulnerable can claim their rights, and, specifically, their social and economic rights. As Bas de Gaay Fortman has pointed out, poverty often cannot be traced back to a specific violation by a particular perpetrator who can be brought to justice for it, but only to an unfair situation for which many are responsible and which is very difficult to sort out in court. Even if the perpetrator — the person guilty of a violation — can in fact be found, there is seldom a functioning system of justice to punish him. For example, Indian courts have a 350-year backlog of cases, none of them from the hundreds of millions who could claim a right to education or housing. Even more illusory is the thought of also using the law to hold the international community (in other words, the rich countries) accountable for international structures which perpetuate poverty. For that reason, it is neither wise nor effective to rely on the legal system to assert those rights and implement the Millennium Development Goals. However, there are other ways of doing this which do not involve the courts and legal instruments.</p> <p> This brings me to the raison d’être of the United Nations millennium campaign team that I am currently leading: to create the conditions for the political and moral force which the explicit rules and regulations to implement the Millennium Development Goals currently lack. The watchwords in this connection are accountability and transparency. These two concepts are an important part of the human rights framework. Firstly, we must help developing countries to monitor progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Monitoring is a powerful weapon in the battle for implementation, since it offers a simple way to bring facts to light, mobilize public opinion and thus bring about policy change. Most developing countries, with the help of the United Nations, are drawing up reports on their progress towards each of the Goals — the figures speak for themselves. If a country is lagging behind, there will be a public debate and therefore political pressure. The same effect is achieved through comparisons within regions and between neighbouring countries. Transparency International lists, the Human Development Index, the Freedom Index and so on always lead to public debate and hence to political action. Civil society organizations in many developing countries are now taking these up and using the approximation of rights as a basis for their action. A few years ago, non-governmental organizations in Kenya began a campaign called “Basic Needs as Basic Rights”, working with the media to exert pressure to get basic rights into the new constitution. Several years of sustained action resulted in the matter becoming an issue in the last elections, which brought the fall of the dictator Moi. One of the first steps taken by the new Government was to give everyone access to free primary education, at one stroke giving hundreds of thousands of children the opportunity to go to school.</p> <p> The worldwide women’s movement was one of the first to realize the power of translating their demands into rights. The same thing happened later in the movement to defend children’s rights, and persons living with <span class="caps">AIDS</span> are now organizing themselves around the same principle. In the Third World, human-rights movements and organizations campaigning for development are increasingly working together and using each other’s power and each other’s language. The framework of the Millennium Development Goals is now often used as an umbrella for cooperation, linking a number of movements, such as those promoting education for all or better health care, <span class="caps">AIDS</span> activists and environmental campaigners. They are banding together to call on Governments to make good on the promises they made in signing the Millennium Declaration. The achievement of this approach is not only to apportion responsibility, but also to bring transparency to decision-making and — crucially — to publications. We help non-governmental organizations and parliaments to acquire the instruments they will need to vet public policies and make sure that they are sufficiently focused on achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Human rights and the Goals have together been pressed into use to work towards a world without poverty and injustice. We cannot let this opportunity go by. There now is wide international consensus regarding the fight against poverty set out in the Goals, marking the first time in the history of development cooperation that Governments, the United Nations, the international financial institutions and non-governmental organizations had shared a vision of that task. It enabled us to place the 0.7 per cent target for official development assistance (<span class="caps">ODA</span>) on the international agenda and give the trade agenda a development-oriented slant.</p> <p> A further word on the role of rich countries. The deal we agreed on for shared responsibility explicitly placed the onus for achieving the first seven Millennium Development Goals on developing countries. They must make sure that their policies are good, and they must prioritize their budgets to reduce poverty, push children into school, improve health care and ensure that development is environmentally sustainable. However, the Millennium Declaration and Millennium Development Goals recognized, and the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development confirmed, that the first seven Goals would be out of reach if the rich countries did not take the eighth Goal to heart and provide more and better assistance, more trade opportunities, more debt relief and more technology transfers. The need for a social and international order for which rich countries bore responsibility had already been set out in Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Millennium Declaration expressed it clearly through the words: “We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty … We are committed to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want.” It is vital to realize that this is not about charity, but about rights. The inhabitants of developing countries have the right to good governance from their leaders. If developing-country Governments take this right seriously, the international community, and therefore the rich countries, have an obligation to support them. Once again, in the words of the Internationale: “Pas de droits sans devoirs égaux, pas de devoirs sans droits” (“Yet we equal are every one … We claim our rights for duties done”).</p> <p> Assistance is not enough — trade is also vital. Twenty years ago, as a member of parliament, I issued a white paper condemning the scandalous Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union and the fact that trade barriers for goods from the Third World were many times higher than for goods traded between rich countries. It is sad that the situation has only got worse since then. Trade barriers still exist, and European agricultural policy is even more out of hand. Each new enlargement of the European Union to new members has brought more products and more subsidies, more overproduction and more dumping on international markets, while two thirds of the poor in the Third World live in rural areas and depend on the agricultural markets which we are ruining for them. The good news is that the Doha Development Agenda has since been formulated in response to the Millennium Declaration. For the first time, it gives a central place to the interests of the developing countries. The Director-General of the World Trade Organization opened the Cancún summit with a reference to the Millennium Declaration and to Millennium Development Goal 8: the commitment by the rich countries to open their markets and eliminate trade-distorting subsidies in order to help the developing countries integrate into the world economy. This reaffirmed that the Ministers of Trade were members of Governments whose leaders had signed the Millennium Declaration in the autumn of 2000. This means that the tandem of development rights and human rights has also permeated the trade debate; a vital step if the Millennium Development Goals are to be achieved.</p> <p> The Goals can indeed be fulfilled. They were not plucked from the air, they were agreed at the Millennium Summit held in New York in 2000 and signed by 189 Heads of Government. They are technically and financially feasible, but only if the Governments demonstrate political will and take steps to translate their commitments into action.</p> <p> Let me finish with a story about poverty in the Netherlands. When my grandfather was born, 110 years ago at the end of the nineteenth century, his chances of living beyond the age of five were the same as those of a child born today in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is the world’s poorest country, and it has the world’s highest infant mortality. My grandfather lost half of his brothers and sisters to illnesses that we can prevent easily here. When my father was born in the early 1920s, his chances of living beyond the age of five were the same as those of a child born today in Angola. When I was born at the beginning of the 1950s, my chances of living beyond the age of five were the same as those of a child born today in Romania. This progress took us over 100 years in Europe. Progress came faster in countries such as Japan and Korea. What Europe managed, the rest of the world can manage, and we know what it needs: clean drinking water, adequate health care, free primary education and an investment in mutual solidarity. To work towards the Millennium Development Goals is to work towards human rights. With all our knowledge and financial resources, we cannot make the world’s “Sierra Leones” wait 100 years.</p> Global MDGs English Thu, 11 Dec 2003 15:42:17 +0000 Miki 831 at http://endpoverty2015.org Does Globalization Affect National Political Decision-Making? http://endpoverty2015.org/en/node/830 <p>I. Does globalization erode national sovereignty?</p> <p>I want to answer that question with a ‘no’, not only for the sake of the debate, but also because I am concerned about how much needs to change to create a better world and how much needs to happen for globalization to truly benefit all (Millennium Declaration). The notion that there is nothing that governments can do anymore on globalization is not true and creates inertia two exactly to more of the people we need to galvanize the political will for government action. Indeed, globalization is partly driven by technology. That is something that we cannot stop and most of us do not want to stop. We want our e-mails and mobile phones, globalization is also driven by integration of the world economy and trade. These are the trade-policy decisions that governments make themselves. Globalization does not erode national sovereignty. </p> <p>Look at different regions and how the impact of globalization varies widely among countries in similar situations. In Africa, which is (more than any other region) the ‘victim’ of globalization, progress on the Millennium Development Goals varies from country-to country. There are huge differences between Zimbabwe and Mozambique; and between Uganda and Kenya. If you look at Latin America (a region that is very vulnerable to external shocks), there are huge differences between Chile and Argentina; and between Brazil and Venezuela. In Europe, inequality has increased in some countries, but not in others (France and Netherlands). So with varying outcomes, national governance still matters tremendously and there is still a lot that governments can do. </p> <p>To make globalization work, what we need is stronger governments. We need the pendulum to swing back away from the neo-liberal ideologies towards the acknowledgment that, in a globalized world, we need strong and more effective States. We need democracy and the rule of law, participation, inclusive societies and also transparent public expenditures management so that people can see where their tax money goes. In many countries, both rich but particularly poor, there is a tremendous “integrity dividend” that still needs to be won by reducing corruption that can be used to finance the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. It is a question of political will. Mobilizing more domestic resources is possible for all, including very poor, countries, as is more pro-poor spending. In Latin America, 10% of the region’s richest people have 50% of the national income and hardly pay taxes; compared to <span class="caps">OECD</span> countries, in Latin America property taxes are 1/3 of the <span class="caps">OECD</span>, income taxes are 1/6. There is still a lot of room for more domestic resource mobilization to increase spending on fighting poverty and inequality. <br /> Two such areas are in education and employment: </p> <p>- Education. Countries that benefit from globalization are those that have invested most in education. Investment in education is a very important role of government. Empower your own people and you empower your society as a whole. &#8211; Employment. In too many countries, there are still too many policies on trade, taxes, creating incentives for capital-intensive growth instead of labor-intensive growth. This happens in Latin America and in many developing countries; and I am afraid that this is also the case in many European countries. Moreover, while 2/3 of the world’s poor live in the rural areas, many developing countries are still taxing their farmers in favor of their urban elites. So reversing these transfers and improving rural development policies can make a tremendous difference. </p> <p>In the age of globalization, we need stronger and more effective states. Back to the original question, ‘does globalization erode sovereignty?’ No! However, poor countries face a problem (as it is rich countries that dominate global money, financing and global trade), but that has more to do with the inequality in international decision making, rather than globalization. This issue has become much more relevant, given the integration of the world economy resulting from globalization. Trade rules set by rich countries destroy livelihoods in developing countries, while protecting special interests of rich countries. What happened in Cancun was a disaster because the Doha Development Round promised, for the first time in the international trading system, that poor countries would not be just beggars at the feast. Still nothing has been delivered on the ‘development’ agenda because rich countries dominate the World Trade Organization (<span class="caps">WTO</span>), particularly the European Commission and the United States. Policies in rich countries have tremendous damaging impact on poor countries. Discussions about ‘good governance’ should seriously take into account the responsibility of rich countries to make their policies more pro-development and they should consider the implications of their domestic and trade policies on poor countries, ensuring ‘globalization benefits all’, as they promised in the Millennium Declaration.</p> <p>II. Do global and regional organizations erode national sovereignty?</p> <p>I wish they would. Exactly because of globalization there is an urgent need to strengthen global governance. I would love to have better global governance in which indeed sovereignty becomes less and less important. Presently, this is only a dream, because there are no regional or global organizations that set any rules to erode national sovereignty. Regional organizations are extremely weak. There is a lot of lip service in developing countries about the need for regional cooperation, but it never goes beyond political declarations and meetings. The European Union is relatively the strongest regional organization, but even there is no common foreign or tax policy. We do, however, have a Common Agriculture Policy that we use to dump our problems on the rest of the world. </p> <p>Now, global institutions, such as the United Nations (UN), International Monetary Fund (<span class="caps">IMF</span>), World Bank and the <span class="caps">WTO</span>, are not independent institutions, they are tightly roped in by their members. The World Bank and the <span class="caps">IMF</span>, and particularly the <span class="caps">WTO</span>, are in fact more member-driven than the United Nations. The <span class="caps">WTO</span> is nothing more than a Secretariat where the papers and agendas are printed; and its policies are set by the U.S. Trade Representative and the European Trade Commissioner. The Bank and Fund have an in-house Board that meets three days a week acting on instructions from their capitals, e.g. the <span class="caps">HIPC</span> initiative. Management of these institutions favored action years before their membership, particularly at the G-7, allowed so thus there is no issue of ‘losing sovereignty’. It is the content of instructions that go to their board members, and the positions taken by governments twice a year when they meet in the Development Committee or the <span class="caps">IMF</span> committee define their policies. </p> <p>One of the problems is the serious democratic deficit. I think that the Netherlands is the only country where, for 20 years, parliament makes the government accountable for positions taken in the Development Committee. Very few parliaments are actually doing this. This is a democratic deficit that can only be tackled within the member states and not within the mandate of the institutions. I believe that multilateral institutions are not strong and independent enough, and are too dominated by rich countries. Moreover, I like to believe that the multilateral institutions we have now are sort of the embryonic beginning of an emerging global government. Even if the social side is still very weak, I would like to think of the International Labour Organization (<span class="caps">ILO</span>) as being the future Social Affairs Ministry for the world; the World Health Organization (<span class="caps">WHO</span>) as the future Health Ministry; the <span class="caps">IMF</span> would have the Central Bank function; and the World Bank would be the Finance Ministry. There is still a very long way to go before this could ever happen. </p> <p>There are three deficits that pose serious problems to global governance today and inhibit ‘globalization benefiting the poor’: (i) the coherence deficit; (ii) the democratic deficit; and (iii) the compliance deficit.</p> <p>- Coherence deficit. Coherence starts at home. Too many people think that yet another UN Development Group meeting at the highest level would solve problems. It will not because all these agencies report to their own governing bodies and each of these governing bodies have different speak with different tongues. Let me give you some examples. I was in Geneva at the time that the <span class="caps">WTO</span> agreed on the Trade-Related International Property Rights Agreement. That was about the same time that <span class="caps">WHO</span> agreed on the need for affordable medicines for all. So you saw from country X (and I can name countries), trade ministers agreeing to something in the <span class="caps">WTO</span> that contradicted what their health colleagues agreed at the <span class="caps">WHO</span> that same month. Governments export their different positions in the international arena and Geneva becomes the battlefield. </p> <p>At that same time, the link was discussed between labor and trade issues. Ministers from the same government took different positions; one at <span class="caps">ILO</span> and another position at the <span class="caps">WTO</span>. Another example, just when I left the Board of the World Jim Wolfensohn visited China and the Chinese Finance Ministry prepared a beautiful coffee table book with wonderful photographs of China; but the text credited the World Bank exclusively for Chinese achievements on reducing poverty, so I decided not to carry it to Geneva. Two days later, upon arrival in Geneva as the UN Ambassador, I was briefed by the Human Rights staff in my Mission about the agenda of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, including the usual resolution about the World Bank and <span class="caps">IMF</span> violating human rights, apparently sponsored by China. I wished I brought the book to confront the Chinese colleague on this inconsistency. </p> <p>Similarly, this incoherence happens between the IFI’s and at the UN. The same country (its Finance Ministers or Central Bank) would, at the <span class="caps">IMF</span> or the World Bank, blame the UN for being irrelevant or intellectually sloppy; and at the UN the Foreign Affairs Minister would blame the IFIs for being neo-liberal, arrogant, etc. </p> <p>Please, can the Central Bank governors, Finance Ministers, Foreign Affairs Ministers, Health Ministers, Social Affairs Ministers, talk at home with each other instead of exporting their different views into the international arena? That hampers global governance. So as long as the heads of international agencies hear something totally different from their governing bodies of these same member countries, there is a serious problem. Unless coherence starts at home, I do not think that more UN meetings can make meaningful improvements. Lack of political will among the UN leadership is not the problem.</p> <p>- Democratic deficit. Parliamentarians need to discuss what their governments do in the international arenas. Instructions to international meetings are not sufficiently discussed by parliaments, and this is another a very serious problem. The most obvious example is France. The National Assembly is not supposed to make the government accountable for foreign policy, including foreign trade and financial policy because that is the responsibility of the President. <span class="caps">ATTAC</span> was created precisely because of this frustration. Having Members of Parliament discuss these issues could bridge a little bit of the gap of the democratic deficit. </p> <p>Second, I have always advocated for parliamentarians networks. The one area where parliamentary cooperation did work was <span class="caps">NATO</span>. The <span class="caps">NATO</span> Assembly is a fairly powerful network, but burden sharing in the 21st century is not about defense. It is about development and the issues surrounding the Millennium Development Goals. We need stronger parliamentary networks to combat this problem. Presently, there is a fairly effective parliamentary network at the World Bank, and the <span class="caps">WTO</span> has agreed that there is a need of a <span class="caps">WTO</span> Parliamentary Assembly. Something is starting, but not enough, and not soon enough. </p> <p>- Compliance deficit. Too many governments agree on the most wonderful promises at the UN (e.g. Millennium Declaration) and take the plane back home from NY to business as usual, not following through on their pledges. The most blatant example is of course the 0.7% OPA/<span class="caps">GNI</span> agreed and the UN 33 years ago. Since then, only 4 countries complied and the other <span class="caps">OECD</span> countries looked the other way— perfectly complacent that the Dutch and Swedish taxpayers bailed out the rest of them. That has changed. By now, the majority of the EU member states (8 out of 15) have time-bound commitments to achieve the 0.7%, well in advance of 2015. But still on many issues and for most international organizations, the compliance issue is a problem— except for the <span class="caps">WTO</span>, which has a dispute settlement mechanism that indeed enabled Costa Rica to win a dispute against the United States. For the rest, there is no compliance mechanism and the only way to get compliance is by creating political will, country by country, to live up to what governments promised at international meetings and that is exactly what the Millennium Development Goals Campaign is doing. </p> <p>The first 7 goals are the primary responsibility of the poor countries and whenever I make speeches to audiences with people from developing countries, I would explain to them what they should be doing to hold their governments accountable to fight poverty, getting all kids to school, etc. Whenever I address audiences in rich countries, I underline the fact that this is a packaged global deal, re-confirmed at Monterrey. But poor countries cannot achieve the goals unless rich countries do a much better job on the global partnership for development. Goal 8 calls on rich countries to deliver more and more effective aid, more trade opportunities by eliminating agricultural subsidies, more sustainable debt relief and more transfer of technology. The problem however, with Goal 8 (and this shows that also in the UN system certain countries are more equal than others), is that it is the only goal with no deadlines and no monitoring mechanisms. The Millennium Campaign is advocating that rich countries adopt specific deadlines and monitor progress. We believe this is possible. </p> <p>According to public opinion polls, in all <span class="caps">OECD</span> countries, including the United States, there is a huge disparity between what governments actually do in terms of poverty (fighting child mortality in Africa), and what people want their governments to do. The campaign tries to help create a transmission belt to make these issues a ‘vote-getter,’ where political leadership on these issues is lacking. Using as a logo “No excuse 2015” and as a slogan “We are part of the first generation that can put an end to poverty and we refuse to miss this opportunity,” the objective of the Millennium Campaign is to spur action on Goal 8, i.e. in Europe to achieve the 0.7% by 2010, and eliminate trade-distorting agricultural subsidies by 2010.</p> Global MDGs English Sat, 01 Nov 2003 14:34:00 +0000 Miki 830 at http://endpoverty2015.org