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Three big conferences next year could affect the next two decades of global development. The first will bring world leaders to Addis Ababa in July for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.
In a recent SNL sketch Bill Haider is a white celebrity filming a commercial in a village using black people as props to plead for “39 cents a day” which he claims is “all these people need to survive.”
The head of USAID claims that “political momentum” is building to make extreme poverty “central” to the development agenda. The question is: How does one build political momentum for a global development agenda that excludes 5 billion people and the middle class of (nearly) every large developing country?
“Dollar a day” poverty morphed from a technical curiosity that interests at most a few dozen technocrats to the first of the Millennium Development Goals. It is now one of only two corporate goals of the World Bank (in spite of its obvious inconsistency with the World Bank’s own Articles of Agreement). And , according to a recent (August 18, 2014) missive from Rajiv Shah, the head of USAID “political momentum” is “build[ing] to make the end of extreme poverty central to the post-2015 Development Agenda.”
The UN Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals completed its outcome document a few weeks ago, putting forth 17 goals and 169 targets. The optimistic take: that’s only just over twice the number of goals in the Brazil-Germany World Cup match. But for all the space devoted to targeting almost every conceivable area of global progress, there was one topic on which the OWG was notably silent: what’s the purpose of all of this?