Road to Rio: What should replace the MDGs? | Rebeca Grynspan

01 May 2012

A worker of Cooperative Café Timor, Timor-Leste’s largest employer, raises a handful of coffee beans (UN Photo/Martine Perret) A worker of "Cooperative Café Timor", Timor-Leste’s largest employer, raises a handful of coffee beans (UN Photo/Martine Perret)

The main objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are as relevant today as before: to free people everywhere from hunger and poverty, ensure that they can live healthy lives, have access to basic education, sanitation, and clean drinking water, and that men and women are guaranteed equal rights, placing human development at the centre of the debate.

Much progress has been made, such as halving extreme poverty, reducing infant deaths by nearly 12,000 fewer children each day and increasing the number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS 13-fold.

But we are still a long way from achieving some of the goals and targets, including reducing maternal mortality and empowering women and girls.  Extreme poverty will only have been reduced by half as compared to 1990 levels, but not eradicated.  Achieving the MDGs by our target date must remain a top priority and the international community must not lose its focus and momentum on achieving the MDGs by the 2015 deadline. 

In thinking about the post-2015 agenda, we must ensure that our approach reaches those left behind or at risk of being left behind: the poorest of the poor and those disadvantaged, stigmatized, or discriminated against because of their sex, age, race, ethnicity, place of residence, or disability.  Fighting inequality must be seen as equally important as improving the lives of people ‘on average’.

UNDP – as chair of the UN Development Group, expects active participation from civil societies and citizens in the discussion of the post-2015 development agenda, or as the Rio Declaration will ask, what is “The Future We Want”? 

As we see it, this future should be one with inclusive and green economic growth, social protection for all, and preservation of our global commons, of the legacy that we inherited and have promised to share with the future generations. And therefore it must be in line with the discussion and outcome of Rio+20 in June 2012. 

Talk to me: What should replace the MDGs?

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