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Looking Ahead

31.7.2013

On 1 July, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented the Millennium Development Goals Report 2013, the UN’s annual evaluation of the progress that has been made towards achieving the targets of the Millennium Development Goals.

And, despite the expansive rhetoric of international officials, the fundamental message was clear: the Millennium Development Goals have been the most successful anti-poverty initiative in history and have succeeded in uniting the efforts of the different actors, aligning policies, focusing investment in official development assistance (ODA), and building national capacities. We firmly believe that the progress achieved would not have been possible without the UN initiative.

However, we cannot be satisfied living in a world where gaps in equality continue to grow, where women continue to be marginalised in terms of their access to education, financial resources and paid employment, and where the sustainability of the environment has suffered a severe setback as carbon emissions have increased by 46% since 1990.

As we look forward to the task of drawing up the new post-2015 agenda, it will be crucial to understand the successes of the first fifteen years, to identify which policies and investments made it possible to reduce extreme poverty and infant mortality, to make progress in the fight against malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and to achieve universal access to primary education and drinking water in many countries.

However, perhaps the most important task, besides incorporating the lessons learned, will be to listen to people, to ask people—men and women all over the world—what they consider to be the priority issues that could improve their lives. The UN is currently carrying out a worldwide survey, www.myworld2015.org, in order to ask citizens precisely that question: What are the most important priorities for you and your family?

Nearly one million people in 194 countries have already responded and with surprising consistency. We get similar messages from very different regions and countries: education and health continue to be rated the highest priority. The Millennium Development Goals continue to represent a very current agenda to which people still attach the utmost importance. At the same time, two new priorities have begun to emerge strongly: an honest and responsive government, and access to decent employment. With these two new priorities we close the circle of human development that will make possible a better future for everyone.

It is time to listen to those million voices.


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