Mukesh Kapila, Professor for Global Health & Humanitarian Affairs, Manchester University; Co-director of Project on Post-2015 Development Goals (1)
Meanwhile, since the heady start of the Millennium, our ever-more globalised and interconnected world has continued to change fast. Large risks and complex vulnerabilities are making themselves felt even as new knowledge and technologies generate great expectations and unprecedented opportunities. In the context of altering inter-dependencies and shifting power relationships between citizen and state, and among states, we are also discovering the necessity for holistic and inclusive approaches.
In short, the world is in the mood to work differently, and to do more, do better, and reach further. But for that to really happen, we also need a new paradigm for development with a bold vision and wise leaders, along with strong followers to keep them honest and accountable.
What does the new development paradigm look like?
The future model must move us away from a paternalistic and aid-dependent view of development as the production line for well-functioning human machines to one that brings hope to the despondent, courage to the weak, justice to the wronged, and healing to the hurt. This view of development is about enabling everyone to take responsibility to lead productive and creative lives with dignity, and to realise their fundamental human rights while fulfilling their obligations to relate respectfully to others. Such development is sustainable only if achieved through the responsible use of resources to create and share wealth fairly so that everyone's reasonable current needs are met without compromising the needs of future generations.
A new system of accountability will need to accompany the new paradigm, placing the poor, vulnerable, and marginalised at the centre of the policies and practices that shape their lives. We must also strive to regain transparency and trust in our institutions, both nationally and internationally, and be open to re-moulding and streamlining our multilateral bodies.
From old "development goals" to new "One-World Goals"?
Arising from such a paradigm, future goals must reach beyond traditional development thinking to become higher sustainable one-world goals that apply to poor and rich countries alike. A future architecture of 12 sustainable one-world goals (OWGs), clustered into three categories, is proposed. For each goal, either norms exist, for example, for optimal and minimal food consumption, or there are standards such as for Internet connectivity and generally accepted principles such as for good governance. Each OWG is framed in positive language that inspires and motivates. Implied in this is the ideal of universal coverage or attainment as relevant.
Box 1: Knowledge Gaps
Implicit in Candidate Goal 1 is the notion of sustainable economic growth and its fair distribution, without which global and national ambitions cannot be fully realised
For each of the OWGs, measurable world targets would express the overall impact that is necessary to make if all of humanity is to thrive along with the planet that is our shared home. Such headline targets would raise our collective sights beyond narrow self-interests, incentivise necessary cooperation, and trigger productive innovation.
In the spirit of shared responsibility to achieve the world targets, and noting that countries must own and lead their own development, they would set their own national targets based on the needs and aspirations of their own peoples within their contexts and capabilities. Peer pressure from neighbours, for example, through regional organisations, as well as advocacy by civil society groups, along with benchmarking against global norms, standards, and principles would stimulate governments to ensure sufficient ambition in setting national targets.
Progress would be measured by world indicators that use standardised methods to assess results with validity and objectivity. The choice of technically sound indicators would consider the information gathering costs involved and will need to invest in building capacities to do so on a systematic basis. A set of world indicators would be agreed to provide a menu from which countries can choose the metrics that best meet their circumstances. Analysis must be disaggregated by sex, urban/rural, identity groups, and income bands so as to unmask the inequalities that hide behind generalised statistics.
What would such an architecture look like? Taking Candidate Goal 5 on security as an example, the box at the end of this article provides an illustration.
The achievement of a sustainable world future demands a longer-term outlook with steady and patient investment. A generation-long framework of say 25 years with periodic reviews and fine-tuning at 5-yearly intervals would counter the traditional short-termism that creates as many problems as it solves.
The MDGs 2015 deadline looms closer. The successor framework should not be handed down from above. We should ask those most affected to say what life they want to live and how they want to be enabled to live it. But for such a dialogue to be meaningful, it helps to have some specific propositions such as presented here, to test opinions on what the broad mass of reasonably-minded people want for themselves and for others less fortunate than them.
Box 1: Knowledge Gaps
(1) The Project is the initiative of a Consortium: Centre for International Governance Innovation in Canada, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Switzerland, Korea
(2) A menu of candidate targets and indicators for each of the 12 candidate One-World Goals, along with an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, is under research by the Project.