Making sense of the MDGs

Making sense of the MDGs

Address inequality to achieving the MDGs

Several misunderstandings have arisen about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This article aims to clarify these. Three key misconceptions include:

  • each and every country must achieve the same numerical targets, for example, halve poverty by 2015 - this is incorrect because global performance is an average of all countries’ performance, therefore some countries will perform above and below the average in order to achieve it
  • a universal strategy exists for achieving the MDGs - this view contradicts the historical fact that different countries have applied different means of achieving the same end
  • the cost of achieving the MDGs can be determined with precision over a multi-year period - one-size does not fit all, different countries have followed different approaches and strategies for achieving social and economic progress, these will have varying costs
Unless disparities within countries are addressed, the MDGs will not be met by 2015. To formulate a homegrown MDG-based national development strategy to address inequality and to achieve the MDGs, the author proposes four practical steps:
  • tailor the global targets to make them context-sensitive
  • set intermediate targets for political accountability
  • translate targets into specific programmes and policies
  • cost programmatic and policy interventions