International Community Must Keep Current MDGs In Sight

Noting “the United Nation’s High Level Panel (HLP) [last week] released its report [.pdf] on recommendations for what should follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after the deadline to meet them expires in 2015,” Sara Harcourt, policy director at the ONE Campaign, writes in a Thomson Reuters Foundation opinion piece, “The report is a welcome first step in the official U.N. negotiations that will now move forward to galvanize a set of global targets for post-2015.” She continues, “But while everyone’s attention is focused on post-2015, is the world losing interest in the current MDG targets?” She writes, “ONE’s ‘2013 DATA Report: Financing the Fight for Africa’s Transformation,’ released this week, puts the spotlight on the current MDGs and tracks how countries are progressing.”

“Sub-Saharan Africa is a region that is frequently admonished for lagging far behind on the MDGs overall. But ONE’s analysis shows that individual African countries have made remarkable progress,” Harcourt writes. “But we’re not there yet,” she continues, noting “some particularly large countries are lagging far behind and dragging down regional rates of progress.” She examines “what can be done to help accelerate the process,” stating, “There is a clear opportunity in the next two-and-a-half years for the world to stand up and take responsibility for existing commitments, and to accelerate efforts and target resources towards meeting the current MDGs.” She adds, “It’s vital that we don’t just focus on increasing the quantity of resources (although governments need to meet their spending commitments), but realize that quality and effectiveness of limited resources is just as important.” Harcourt concludes, “The world can virtually end extreme poverty within the next generation, but we can’t wait for the next ambitious post-2015 targets. We must seize the opportunity now to sprint to the finish line” (6/3).

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