Friday, April 2, 2010

For the Next MDGs

Matt at Aid Thoughts has some good thoughts about the MDGs:
For one, the MDGs are a broad set of international goals, but they do not comprise a one-size-fits-all policy, yet we continue to treat them as comparable indicators and implicitly weight them equally (this is reinforced by the structure of the MDGs). Why should India, where less than 80 children per 1,000 die before their fifth birthday, put the same weight on halving under-five mortality as Malawi, where over 130 children suffer the same fate? What if Indonesia decides it wants to put more weight on industrial policy than agricultural policy, with the expectation that the former will do more to reduce poverty in the long run? I think policy-makers and researchers often confuse the normative aspects of the MDGs (what we want to achieve) with the operational side (by trying to directly target each of the things we want to happen). ...

Several months ago, I suggested that the next set of MDGs to be built from the ground-up, an aggregation of the goals of multiple development strategies. Instead of the international community telling developing countries what their priorities should be, then scouring planning documents to ensure adherence, the structure should grow from the opposite direction. Governments and civil societies in poor countries need to determine their own objectives for development, after which the international community should do its best to help them achieve it.

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