For almost a decade-and-a-half, the MDGs have shaped the development agenda, built support for poverty reduction and set concrete goals for measuring progress. There have been impressive achievements: The goal of halving the number of people living in absolute poverty has already been met, and there has been progress in other areas, including reductions in mortality among mothers and the under-fives, improvements in school enrolment for both girls and boys, and a lowering in the rate of HIV infection. But, overall, much still needs to be done if the world is to meet all the MDGs.
What comes next? The MDGs expire in 2015, and a major effort is under way to design their successors, drawing in a wide range of voices – governments, development experts, civil society and many others. The OECD, too, is playing a role, just as it did in the creation of the original MDGs.
As its contribution to the post-2015 process, the OECD has identified a number of elements for the future development agenda. Among them is a two-tiered approach whereby high-profile global goals are supplemented by national targets that better reflect each country’s needs. The OECD also believes that development goals should embrace the full range of factors that determine well-being, including human rights, gender equality and sustainable development. And it believes that goals must be both meaningful and measureable, which underlines the importance of building statistical capacity in developing countries.