U.N. Needs Fewer, Smarter Development Targets

Washington Post: The United Nations needs a shorter, stronger game plan for humanity
Bjørn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center

“… In 2000, the United Nations set targets for the world to meet by 2015. … These targets worked because they were few and sharp — just 374 words that changed the world. This time, the United Nations has sought to make the process more inclusive, asking for input from stakeholders around the world. … As a result, in its latest iteration the United Nations has proposed 169 targets, running to 4,369 words. … With [U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s] term ending in late 2016, creating a list of a few, effective targets could become his most significant legacy. To find the smartest targets, my think tank, Copenhagen Consensus Center, asked 62 teams of top economists, including several Nobel laureates, to determine which targets would do the most good for each dollar spent. Our research shows what should be kept and what could be jettisoned. … Focusing on what is smartest, rather than what feels best, could be the single best thing we can do these next 15 years” (11/21).

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