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Plenty in the blogosphere today (here and here) about the opening of the UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals. With just five years to go, there is a lot of worrying about which countries can make it. Of course it’s probably too late to do much at this stage, no matter how much new money is spent. (Given the fiscal situation in donor capitals, additional money is not even an option.) But that’s not the bad news. From my oped in today’s Foreign Policy:
The bad news out of the U.N. Summit that opens today on the Millennium Development Goals is, ironically, too much good news…
For the U.N. crowd, this presents a serious tactical dilemma. The old way would be to declare a crisis by pointing out, for instance, that barely half of Mali's children complete primary school, that more than one in 200 Ethiopian women die in childbirth, and that more than 4 million people in Burkina Faso lack access to safe drinking water….
Instead of crying crisis, what if they celebrated success? What if they highlighted that since 1990 Mali has more than quadrupled the percentage of kids finishing school, Ethiopia's maternal mortality rate has plunged by 40 percent, and the ratio of Burkinabe with access to safe water has more than doubled to 72 percent?
Two main objections have been raised (by the High Level Panel on Post-2015, for example) to including an income inequality target in the post-2015 framework. One is technical, namely the claim that there isn’t a good enough measure of inequality. I don’t take this very seriously. Is this one area of measurement too complex?