The Post-2015 Development Agenda was announced last night (Friday 31 May). A 27-member panel – co-chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom – has developed the next phase of UN development.
But is all the hype and anticipation surrounding ‘what comes next’ causing progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to fall by the wayside? Will the announcement of the 2015 plan discourage states from pursuing achievement of the MDGs in favour of the next step? Perhaps most crucially, are we going to make the 2015 MDG deadline?
The development of the MDGs in 2000 at the Millennium Summit gave hope to developing nations collapsing under the burden of poverty. The MDGs provided a framework and direction to address widespread development issues. Garnering international support, the MDGs created excitement about the prospects for the 21st century. Both developed and developing states committed to the UN’s vision;
[quote]“We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected. We are committed to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want.”[/quote]
The Millennium Declaration was a landmark display of global citizenship and also helped to set the direction of the United Nations.
However, the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals is now just two years away and international focus seems to have shifted to the post-2015 Development Agenda. The prospect of this new agenda has arguably stagnated the pursuit of a global push towards getting governments to make achieving the MDGs a key priority. A lot can be achieved in two years; assessing the gains and pinpointing where we are falling behind can help to guide the direction in the final stage of the 15-year target.
We need to stay committed to the MDGs. In many ways, the legitimacy of the UN hinges on how close we get to achieving the ambitious MDG targets. The UN is often criticised for being bureaucratic, unwieldy and a ‘toothless tiger’, but the MDGs highlight how the UN actively has a real, positive and measurable impact on improving people’s lives.
In his concluding address at the Millennium Summit, Kofi Annan stated,
“It lies in your power, and therefore is your responsibility, to reach the goals that you have defined”.
The MDGs are achievable, but only if the international community commit to keeping them at the forefront of the agenda. Can we get there?
To find out more about plans for the post-2015 Development Agenda – check out:
Alice McDonald is an undergraduate student at Bond University, studying a double degree of Law and International Relations. She is also the current Secretary of BUUNSA.
 UN General Assembly. United Nations Millennium Declaration Resolution 55/2, 8September 2000, A/res/55/2 (2000).
 Annan, K. (2000, September). Closing Session of Millennium Summit Address. Address presented at the United Nations Millennium Summit, New York, NY.