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Last week saw the opening meeting of the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda –AKA the HiPoPoDomAe.  That’s the body set up by the UN Secretary General to mull what follows on from the Millennium Development Goals.  There’s a brief round-up of some of what was said here.   Reports of the discussion, some wonderful meetings in London two weeks ago, and recent interventions from Ben Leo at the ONE campaign as well as the WEF Global Agenda Council on Benchmarking Progress, produced some low level observations on post-Karver/Kenny/Sumner thoughts on MDGs 2.0.  So here’s the first of a couple of posts on post-2015.

Ask The People What They Want…

I’m a huge fan of Ben Leo’s idea for a global survey asking people what they would like to see in the next round of MDGs.  Public policy shouldn’t be set on the results of polls alone (see: Burke).  But the MDGs are meant to be about global progress over the next fifteen years with a particular focus on the most disadvantaged.  It doesn’t seem like too radical an idea that it might be worth asking the world’s people –and especially the most disadvantaged –what they’d like to see progress on.

…And What They Want is Jobs.

Ben’s research suggests strongly that were you to ask people what they want, one answer would come back loud and clear: jobs.  It’s a topic that appears to be gaining traction --good timing by the World Bank’s World Development Report, there.  Karver/Kenny/Sumner didn’t suggest a jobs goal, but I’ve subsequently been convinced by CGD’s own Michael Clemens that it might be possible to set a numerical target based around (something like) the percentage of the working age population in year-round private sector waged employment. (Bonus gender goal: increased equality in that measure).  It is a target that could tick a lot of boxes –a good thing in its own right, that the international community doesn’t appear to care enough about (it isn’t even properly tracked), and that’s amenable to public policy.

It’s also a good target for those who want to see the Millennium Development Goals expand somewhat beyond their original role as a motivator for aid flows.  That’s because jobs are only marginally about aid.  The role for the international community in encouraging global employment growth is mainly about trade, and private financial flows, and migration.  An employment goal could be a stepping stone to put stronger language on these vital drivers of the better life into whatever replaces the current poorly-contented and worse-titled MDG 8 (“Develop a Global Partnership for Development”).

More on numbers and the MDGs in the next post.