Emnet Assefa

A high-level international symposium discussing the development cooperation in post- 2015 opened in Addis Ababa on Thursday June 6th at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Under the theme of “A renewed global partnership for development for the post-2015 era” participants of the symposium are discussing ways of how a renewed global cooperation in post Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) should look like to encourage action by all stakeholders and dialogue on how to effectively support implementations of goals and targets.

As one of the three meetings scheduled to discuss on development cooperation in post-2015 era before the main conference in July 2014 brought 160 high level and senior officials from developed and developing countries, southern partners and the civil society.

Countries and global institutions are looking for ways to put in place mechanisms that will replace the MDGs in post 2015.

“Lessons should be taken from the implementation of MDGs before going with the development agenda in post MGDs” said Sufian Ahmed, Ethiopian Minister of Finance and Economic Development, during the opening of the symposium hinting to the widely discussed fact  the MDGs have perpetuated “donor recipient” sort of relationship.

Poor political commitments on aid, trade, debt relief and ICT as well as its lack of robust accountability mechanisms to ensure the delivery of the goals are some of the weaknesses that Minister Sufian said need stronger development financing regardless of the global economic ups and downs. “The current global economic situation should not be allowed to detract attention from the critical need for development financing of low income countries.”

In post-2015 major resources coming from international community should target increasing the capacity of developing countries to mobilize domestic resources, expand infrastructure and improve domestic productive capacity expanding quality basic social services ensuring human development, says Sufian.

 The missing link

Approved by 189 countries in Sep 2000 at the UN, the MDGs are composed of eight different goals among others, eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, promote gender equality and empower women, achieve universal primary education, reduce child mortality, and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases but fall short of including good governance, political reforms and democratization, in the same target countries for which it often came under attack from rights activists.

Answering to a question by Addis Standard,  Carlos Lopez, executive secretary of the UN-ECA said a high level panel established by the UN and comprised of leaders from Liberia, Indonesia and the U.K were looking in into including these aspects in post 2015. They have come up with a document which has not yet been endorsed by the UN. “These ideas have really been floating,” he said. However, it is “up to the member states to decide.”

Photo - Addis StandardAccording to a 2012 UN MDGs progress report for Africa, the continent is on its way to achieving only four of the eight goals. HIV, Malaria and other diseases remain challenges for the continent with a little improvement in behavioural change and access to antiretroviral therapy while gender equality, access to primary education and improved water supply are three of the targets that the continent is said to be going in the right direction. Even though the continent has witnessed a sound economic improvement after the introduction in 2000 of the MDGs, the reduction of the proportion of the population living below $1 a day has not been accompanied by a commensurate reduction in the share of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition.

“Close to 1 Billion people still suffer from food shortage in the world and millions are still earning less than a dollar a day” says Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. According to him, poverty reduction and sustainable development should still be the centre of the post 2015 agenda, strengthening the platform for cooperation between south and south.

Organized by the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) the symposium is discussing several dialogues between representatives of the civil society, members of parliament and international organizations from least developed countries and steering committee of global partnership for effective development cooperation.

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