A Peace Agenda for Global Development

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – This week, the 27 members of the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda gather in Monrovia, Liberia, to advise United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. At the meeting, the Panel will establish a “bold yet practical” vision for joint action on sustainable development.

While these discussions – hosted by Liberian President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and British Prime Minister David Cameron – take place, the nearby Sahel and the Great Lakes region continue to be plagued by violence and conflict. Indeed, large-scale displacement of people and unspeakable human suffering are occurring in many African countries (not to mention in Syria and elsewhere), threatening to reverse the continent’s unprecedented economic progress during the last decade.

The Panel (of which I am a member) must seize the opportunity presented by the Monrovia meeting to contribute to a global development agenda that addresses the vicious cycle of conflict and poverty that hampers economic activity and undermines human well-being.

For more than a decade, the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in two years, have provided the framework for international development cooperation, with a focus on combating poverty worldwide. In developing a new, comprehensive follow-up agenda, global leaders should recognize that, although the MDGs have enabled millions of people worldwide to escape illiteracy, disease, and hunger, their overall impact has been inadequate, particularly in fragile, conflict-ridden countries. World Bank statistics show that no conflict-affected low-income country has achieved a single MDG, reflecting the framework’s failure to address problems caused by organized violence and insecurity effectively.