Progress, prospects and lessons from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
in: Thomas Fues / Jiang Ye (eds.), United Nations Post-2015 Agenda for global development: perspectives from China and Europe, Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), 231-251
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), developed with the objective of monitoring the implementation of the commitments made in the Millennium Declaration, will expire in 2015. The debate on a post-2015 agenda that is to succeed the MDGs is already well under way. At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) in June 2012, Member States decided to set up an Open Working Group (OWG) and to entrust it with the task of developing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that build upon the MDGs and converge with the post-2015 agenda.
For this crucial task it is important to take stock of the considerable experience gained in over a decade of implementing the MDGs. Several lessons can be learned from the MDGs that can provide valuable guidance for the development of the post-2015 agenda. This chapter analyses six important lessons learned from almost 15 years experience with the MDGs. In particular, the post-2015 agenda should:
1) be universal in the sense of shared responsibility and joint accountability of all stakeholders;
2) focused by concentrating on a limited number of goals, targets and indicators;
3) avoid the sector-centered approach of the MDG framework;
4) be fair in evaluating national progress towards the future goals;
5) be sensitive to inequality; and
6) use clearly measurable targets and indicators that i) are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-limited); ii) precise; iii) measure outcomes whenever possible; iv) are based on reliable high quality data; and v) derived from a low number of transformations.