The current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will expire in 2015, and the Prime Minister is co-chairing a UN High Level Panel to consider what should replace them. The Panel meets next week in the Liberian capital, Monrovia.
Chair of the Committee, Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Bruce MP, commented:
"Whilst there is much still to do, the MDGs have enjoyed considerable success and have had great resonance around the world. This was precisely because of their simplicity and measurability – a more complex set of goals would have been inherently less memorable.
Whatever the final content of the next set of development goals, the Prime Minister must use his influence to ensure that the goals are simple and measureable."
The MPs welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to ending extreme poverty, and agree that this should feature prominently in the next set of goals.
The current MDGs contain a target to reduce extreme poverty (the proportion of people living on less than US$1.25 per day) by 50 per cent, and this has already been achieved. The next stage should be to aim to reduce this to zero. Whilst this is ambitious, for the first time in human history it is also achievable.
Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Bruce added:
"Aiming to eradicate extreme poverty is ambitious, of course, but for the first time in human history it is also eminently achievable. The MDGs have been successful in halving extreme poverty, but progress has been very unequal. Now is the time to focus on those who have been left behind."
The MPs share the Prime Minister’s view that a 'Golden Thread' of governance-related issues should be included in the new set of goals. The Prime Minister has defined the 'Golden Thread' in a number of different ways: the MPs urge him to provide a clear and consistent definition.
The MPs also stress that the Prime Minister should remain engaged with the process even after his High Level Panel publishes its report. The High Level Panel’s report is expected to be published in May, after which an ‘intergovernmental process’ will be launched to draw up the new goals.
Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Bruce said:
"It is great that the Prime Minister has had the opportunity to co-Chair such an important Panel, but it is essential that he remains engaged once the Panel’s work is over. After the Panel publishes its report, it will be at least another two years before the new goals are finally unveiled. During that time, he has a unique opportunity to get other Heads of Government on board, and to mobilise public opinion to support the Panel’s agenda."