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Sharing the post-2015 framework

It might be over a month away, but my husband and I have already begun to think about the Christmas and New Year holidays here in the UK. In particular, it looks like lots of my family are likely to travel from London and elsewhere to join us in Glasgow. I'm really excited, but my husband is worried that we might be taking too much on - what with preparing places for the family to stay, cooking the huge main meal on the big day, other meals and parties the days before and after, and so on.  He's already flagged that the list of "to do's" is quite long!

I was reminded of this family conundrum when I travelled down to London last week for a number of meetings. Most of the people I met couldn't stop talking about what might replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015. I wasn't surprised. The High Level Panel that has been asked by the UN Secretary General to write a report on the issue was in London to discuss their work and consult with civil society, private sector and other groups. Added to this, Prime Minister David Cameron had just written an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal about his views on development - which lots of people wanted to give their perspective on. There was a real buzz and air of excitement.

So on Friday afternoon, I decided to join in the buzz and watch a live-streamed event about the Panel’s work with civil society and keep an eye on its twitter hash-tag - #post2015HLP. As I watched, what I found remarkable was the long list of issues raised - from disability to health and education, to jobs and illicit financial flows. At the end, Abhijit Banerjee, one of the panellists, calculated that 32 issues had been raised! Yet the original MDGs only had 8 goals, and London's event was only the first of three major meetings and consultations. I realised the panellists would be concerned about just how long their list of "to do's" would get by the time they issued their report!

Indeed, the High Level Panel could be tempted - like me - to take too much on. The small part of my family in Glasgow can deliver a big, amazing holiday for the wider family. Similarly, the post-2015 framework will and should be ambitious. These first set of meetings in London were a real success - and they indicate just how much potential the post-2015 framework has for being game-changing. But it could also collapse under its own weight.

The solution for the holiday problem that my husband has come up with is that we should ask our visitors, politely, to each take responsibility for one of the parts of our time together - one of the meals, the drinks, the desserts - and we keep responsibility for the "main bits".

Sharing brings peace at Christmas: Card designed by Kadiatu Kargbo from Maronka School, Sierra Leone. Credit: DFID

This "sharing" solution could also apply to the post-2015 framework. There are other international processes that could have an impact on development and poverty reduction. Take the G8 next year, which the UK will chair for the first time since 2005. The G20, which Russia will chair. And the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, which Justine Greening is co-chairing with Nigeria's Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala  and Indonesia's Planning Minister Armida Alisjahbana. These are all valuable international fora for discussion and agreement on major, international issues.

Take the Global Partnership. It has a Steering Committee that's due to meet for the first time in December. The Committee could do some complimentary work to the post-2015 discussions. It could work on certain elements of the post-2015 framework that require international coordination - the "how" of the post-2015 framework. It could pave a way for a broad range of actors to contribute to development, something which one of the Millennium Development Goals - MDG8 - had aimed at, but, as this UN report suggests, has not sufficiently addressed.  The Global Partnership, like the G8 or G20, could help achieve some of the post-2015 framework outcomes, and share in the work.

As I returned to Glasgow from London last week, I was struck by just how high expectations are for the post-2015 High Level Panel and the process to agree goals thereafter. Expectations will definitely be high in the New Year when there will be two more high level panel meetings in Liberia and Indonesia. It's all very exciting indeed. But to make it all most likely to succeed, and keep the post-2015 agenda simple and compelling, as the Prime Minister has already reiterated, we might just need to bring others in, in a complimentary and synergistic way, like my family will now do.

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  1. Comment by Ian posted on

    I think you make a good point about not pinning everything on the High Level Panel as the means to identify the next set of development goals given the diverse expertise and different fora out there that can take on part of the load.

    One word of caution however. While many of the fora you mention do have the political and technical heft to tackle the issues - part of the challenge of defining the post-2015 agenda is making the exercise truly open and participatory. Many of the groups you mention are not open and are dominated by political and technical elites. It's therefore important to find ways to ensure that the voices of key stakeholders are incorporated into the process at each step through identification of priorities through to defining and carrying out strategies to achieve them.

    This is needed both from the point of view of legitimacy i.e. that people get a chance to have a say on the issues that affect them, but also from the point of view of getting everyone to feel ownership in the agreed goals and commitment to do their part to achieve them.

  2. Comment by Hannah Ryder posted on

    Hi Ian
    Thanks very much for your comment - and you're absolutely right that getting diverse voices and influence on the post-2015 framework is crucial. What do you think of the crowd-sourcing attempts that have been made so far, for example my So far people from 182 countries have voted.
    Thanks again for your feedback,

  3. Comment by Ian Thorpe posted on

    Hannah - I think that is an excellent start as it greatly lowers the barriers to participation (I'm tangentially involved in this initiative as well as from within the UN). At the same time there are still many people not reached which is why projects like IDS's "Participate" initiative are so important. Here's something I wrote a while ago on "The challenges of talking to everyone about everything" on just how challenging the whole post-2015 consultation effort is

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