Development beyond 2015

Current global inequalities in living standards are close to those that existed within today's advanced economies over a century ago. What is needed is the creation on a global scale of the same sort of public redistribution mechanisms that were progressively established in the world’s richest societies over the course of the twentieth century.

PARIS – It is now halfway to the target date of 2015 for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the ambitious blueprint, backed by the entire development community, for development in the world’s poorest countries. In the wake of the global financial crisis, which is about to hit the developing world, it is time to ask the right questions about the international community’s commitment to achieving these goals.

Sadly, we know that most countries will not meet the objectives by 2015. And the global food and financial crises threaten to stymie recent progress. If the global poverty reduction target is met, it will be due to high growth in emerging countries such as China or India rather than to a decline in absolute poverty in the neediest countries.

This is worrisome, because it is a symptom of two more significant ills. First, the international community seems to be suffering from schizophrenia: whereas all countries solemnly affirmed their commitment to the MDGs, few have provided the means to achieve them. The reality is that aid increased only slightly over the 2000-2006 period: because of massive debt write-offs, the substantial increase in official development assistance did not translate into new and available funds on the ground.

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