Author:Andy Sumner, Claire Melamed

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Abstract: This Poverty in Focus reviews the experience of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to date and asks what we can do to accelerate MDG progress in the years 2010–2015 and beyond. Longer versions of each article herein are available in IDS Bulletin 41 (1) from the Institute of Development Studies in the United Kingdom. These debates acquire greater significance as we enter 2010 and embark on the discussions leading up to and beyond the UN review of the MDGs. The global economic crisis has changed the context within which MDG debates will happen. Unsurprisingly, there have been numerous calls for a new development narrative/paradigm from developing countries, international civil society organisations and development agencies. This changing context will affect the debate on the MDGs, past and future, in ways that perhaps only now are starting to become clear. The Washington Consensus has been declared dead (again), but the nature of the shift to a new model and the nature of the policy space remain unclear. Certainly, the discussion is opening up to a wider range of policy instruments for development. There are immediate concerns for policy-makers in the coming years. The impact of the crisis is likely to continue to frame debates over the next five years, and will be critical in determining the economic and social environment. It is not clear when growth rates in the poorest countries will start to pick up, nor whether the poorest people will benefit in time to prevent permanent damage to livelihoods and erosion of assets. Economic uncertainty in donor countries is also leading to declining public support for aid budgets. In short, the times are different from those of the Millennium Declaration and the inception of the MDGs. The late 1990s and 2000 were a fairly benign period for international development, a period of relatively buoyant aid budgets and strong commitments to public expenditures on social sectors, reasonable economic growth in many developing countries, relative stability, and a consensus on what we are trying to achieve: the MDGs. The coming period is likely to be much less certain as developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, face several interconnected crises to which climate change is central. Such uncertainties not only have the potential to have an adverse impact on poverty levels, but they also change the context for achieving the MDGs. I look forward to the 2010 MDG review and hope that the articles presented here contribute to a fruitful discussion on maintaining MDG momentum as we move to 2015 and, in time, ending global poverty. Lord Mark Malloch-Brown

keywords: The MDGs and Beyond: Pro-Poor Policy in a Changing World
Date Publication: 01/15/2010 (All day)
Type/Issue: Policy In Focus / 19
Language: English