SALINE, Michigan — While the United Nations has made substantial progress toward achieving its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) created in 2000, its target date of 2015 is quickly approaching, placing all of the focus on what the UN’s post-2015 agenda will look like.
Although the UN has stated its continued commitment to fulfilling the MDGs until next year arrives, a considerable amount of work has already been done to frame the UN’s post-2015 plan. At the heart of the talks, conferences and reports concerning the coming years for the UN is an ambitious and historic objective: eliminating extreme poverty by 2030.
How does the UN plan to end global poverty by 2030?
A report released last year by the UN Secretary General that included the high-reaching goal of ending poverty outlined a post-2015 vision centered on sustainability, in the hopes that this new focus will succeed in places the MDGs have not. In his words, “Sustainable development … must become our global guiding principle and operational standard.”
Another key report produced last year, titled “A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty Transform Economies through Sustainable Development,” written by an esteemed panel that included members from all over the globe, was highly recommended by the Secretary General as a valuable addition to the post-2015 discussion. The panel was convened for the purpose of creating a report that sketched out an ambitious yet practical vision for the future, learning from the successes and drawbacks of the MDGs.
The ensuing report recommended “that deliberations on a new development agenda must be guided by the vision of eradicating extreme poverty once and for all, in the context of sustainable development,” and outlined a list of 12 objectives titled “Sustainable Development Goals.”
The first and most radical goal is the elimination of poverty by 2030, aiming to have zero people living on less than $1.25 per day. Though the goal is mostly economic, it also includes facets based around sustainability such as ensuring a careful management of the environment and protection against natural disasters.
The next five goals emphasize the importance of basic needs that are not income-focused, such as gender equality, food security and access to quality education. While these have been refocused, they are reminiscent of the MDGs.
The last six goals, however, demonstrate a fundamental change in approach. They include obtaining sustainable energy, sustainable livelihoods and sustainable resources. An additional focus is placed on stemming conflict, an overwhelming barrier in the fight against poverty. It seems clear that much effort was placed in finding more permanent solutions to the poverty problem.
While these goals are well-defined and practical, they are offered only as a source for further discussion. An official post-2015 agenda is planned to be adopted in September of 2015.
The UN Secretary General, when summarizing his vision for the coming years, said, “Ultimately, the aspiration of the development agenda beyond 2015 is to create a just and prosperous world where all people realize their rights and live with dignity and hope.” The outline of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals appears to take steps toward achieving this aspiration, and UN officials seem confident that their focus on sustainability will be successful in eliminating poverty.