Members of the Lords, including the founder of a development NGO and the former chairperson of the United Nations Association discussed the progress that is being made on developing the successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) yesterday (22 November).
Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne (Liberal Democrat), former spokesperson for overseas development and human rights, who tabled and opened the debate said: 'I believe that the post-2015 goals require a redefinition of "development". Development is about more than simply reducing poverty. At its centrepiece is the fight against corruption, the support of political and civil liberties, especially but not only for women, and access to public health for all-health that enfolds all diseases.'
Lord Bates (Conservative), who walked from Olympia in Greece to London's Westminster to raise awareness of the Olympic Truce, followed by saying: 'One of the elements that I have always found disappointing about the millennium development goals is that... there is not one single mention of conflict prevention, or the essential condition of peace which precedes development in any country.'
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead (Labour), founder and president of a development NGO called One World Action, said: 'The framework we have had since 2000 has helped to raise global awareness of the interrelated and multi-dimensional nature of poverty.'
She argued: 'The MDGs were primarily top-down; they were negotiated behind closed doors and then pushed through the General Assembly. A new post-2015 agenda must be grounded in human rights, reducing inequality and ensuring environmental sustainability, and the process has to be inclusive. It must be drawn up after a rigorous process of consultation and commitment to the concept of genuine partnership.'
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative), government spokesperson for international development, responded on behalf of the government: '...the United Kingdom is committed to doing everything it can to deliver a bold, useful and realistic post-2015 framework that will drive poverty reduction and deliver real improvements in the lives of generations to come.'
Other speakers included:
- Lord Crisp (Crossbench) - member of court and honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and chair of trustees for Sightsavers International
- Lord Hannay of Chiswick (Crossbench) - former chairperson of the United Nations Association
- Baroness Jenkin of Kennington (Conservative) - co-chairperson of Friends of International Development
- Baroness Royall of Blaisdon (Labour) - opposition spokesperson for international development
- Earl of Sandwich (Crossbench) - adviser for Christian Aid, Anti-Slavery International, Save the Children and CARE International
- Baroness Tonge (Non-affiliated) - former spokesperson for Health, and vice president of the Family Planning Association
About the Millennium Development Goals
Following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, eight international development goals were agreed by 198 member states and are due to be met in 2015.
The Millennium Development Goals are:
- eradicating extreme poverty and hunger
- achieving universal primary education
- promoting gender equality and empowering women
- reducing child mortality rates
- improving maternal health
- combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
- ensuring environmental sustainability
- developing a global partnership for development.