ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Déjà Vu Agenda or a Development Agenda?

The official debate on the Sustainable Development Goals, which will replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015, is moving very quickly at the United Nations. This article critically analyses the post-2015 development agenda from the perspective of developing countries and finds the myriad green lights given to private sector financing and partnerships for sustainable development without any specific language on evaluations, accountability, transparency and overall governance, deeply worrying.

While the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been lauded for focusing the world’s attention on poverty, they have also drawn sharp criticisms. Perhaps the most damaging of these is that although the MDGs are meant to be a universal agenda for all countries and all people, in reality they reflect the priorities of the world’s most affluent countries and powerful agents, prescribing goals for the South, but allowing the North to bypass any real commitments, save for aid commitments, of which not all have been met.

Other serious criticisms are that the MDGs were formulated in an undemocratic manner with little meaningful input from civil society and developing countries; that they contributed to the shrinking of national policy space in developing countries; that they merely addressed the palliative symptoms of poverty while wholly ignoring the structural drivers of underdevelopment; and, most worryingly, that they disproportionately burdened the poorest countries of the world while demanding very little from rich countries, and other influential agents, such as international financial institutions and multinational corporations.

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