A United Nations Declaration for 2015

August 15, 2013

Recent thinking around the post-2015 development agenda has focused on the goals and targets of a follow-on set of Millennium Development Goals for the period 2010–2030. These are important discussions that have clarified potential areas for goals and the plausibility of particular targets. But another approach to the post-2015 agenda is to think about what would replace the Millennium Declaration itself—after all, that is how the process worked last time.

One big benefit of the approach of leading with the declaration is that the diplomats and world leaders at the UN General Assembly could spend their time considering the broad framework for progress over the 2010–2030 period rather than getting bogged down in technical issues of how to measure progress in specific, plausible, numerical, and time-bound indicators across all areas. Just like in 2001, a detailed target- and indicator-setting process could follow on from a new declaration that provided the framework. And as with the original MDGs, that process could be delegated to technical working groups of the UN in the year after the declaration.

This CGD Essay is a proposal for the draft text of such a declaration—with comments on the side. It is under a Creative Commons license, so the Secretary General can just cut and paste it onto UN letterhead if that’s easiest. 

But seriously: although this may be far off from a plausible or even a desirable text, the approach might be an alternate way to think about how to get to a successful global development agenda for 2016 and on.  


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.