WASHINGTON, DC – When the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire at the end of this year, the world will have made significant progress on poverty reduction, the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation, and other important objectives. In order to ensure that the next development agenda, underpinned by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), produces even greater progress, world leaders must refine and optimize the MDG framework – particularly when it comes to financing.
The MDGs brought together governments, multilateral organizations, and NGOs to support the implementation of key programs and policies, with global partnerships advocating for resources. In order to maximize efficiency, the MDGs were pursued and funded individually, rather than as a unit, with new initiatives being implemented when targets were not being met. But this approach created some imbalances, with global health and education initiatives attracting far more financing than other efforts.
This sectoral model must be reevaluated ahead of the next development agenda's launch to ensure that such imbalances do not persist. Doing so is particularly important, given that the proposed SDGs attempt to incorporate the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, making them more comprehensive and interdependent than the MDGs.
World leaders will have three critical opportunities to develop an integrated approach. In July, the United Nations will hold a conference on financing for development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In September, the UN General Assembly will convene to launch the SDGs. And in December, world leaders will attend the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, where they are expected to adopt a binding global agreement on the long-term reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions.