Global Poverty Reduction to 2015 and Beyond

The purpose of this article is to assess the policy impact of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to begin to ask questions about any post-2015 global framework. The article argues that the MDGs have had substantial but uneven policy impacts. Moreover, in the post-2015 landscape there will be three core issues that are essential to debate in terms of the contents of a new framework: the deficiencies of the MDGs (notably on ownership, accountability and reaching the poor/poorest); the changing context (of new vulnerabilities and shifting pattern of global poverty); and the new, ‘post-economic crisis’ global politics (the role of the G20, emerging powers and new donors). We outline three general approaches to thinking about a post-2015 framework, not to outline in detail all possible eventualities, but merely to illustrate various potential directions of travel and to trigger further debate.

Policy Implications

  • Global policy makers need to be prepared to discuss what, if anything, will replace the MDGs, as this debate will evolve rapidly over the next 18–24 months.
  • The MDGs have had substantial but uneven policy impacts across: their adoption (in policy); their adaptation (to locally defined goals, indicators and targets); the allocation (of resources); and their acceleration of progress in actual poverty reduction outcomes. There have also been some aberrations (and unintended distortions).
  • There are three core post-2015 issues that are essential to debate in terms of the contents of a new framework: the deficiencies of the MDGs (notably on ownership, accountability and reaching the poor/poorest); the changing context (of new vulnerabilities and shifting patterns of global poverty); and the new, post-economic crisis global politics (the role of the G20, emerging powers and new donors).
  • A new global ‘2015 Commission’ is proposed to facilitate a broader, more inclusive global debate somewhat similar to the World Development Report 2000/1 process. Such a commission would need to be led by a figure with global and political credibility on poverty reduction.
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