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UN releases post-MDG agenda

Wednesday, 5 June, 2013

The United Nations (UN) has released the long awaited report outlining the development agenda for beyond the millennium development goals (MDGs) that expire in 2015. The report was compiled by 27 high level leaders appointed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, after consulting 500,000 people from 121 countries, following five meetings and up to 5,000 pages of submissions.

The report entitled “A new global partnership: eradicate poverty and transform economies through sustainable development” formed bold, but practical goals to build on the successes of the MDGs that has seen the “the fastest reduction in poverty in human history”. However, it additionally remarked on the MDGs lack of emphasis on reaching the most marginalised, and not encouraging better cooperation on social, economic and environmental features of sustainable development. Also, while three out of the eight MDGs have already been reached, progress on them has been uneven across countries.

One of the many calls from the report include continuing progress in ensuring universal health coverage through “broadening the range of integrated, essential services available to every person”, and highlighting the need for this commitment from countries of all income levels. It was acknowledged to reach this ideal outcome would require addressing barriers that hinder access to basic health care such as discrimination, stigma and affordability. This health focused goal builds on MDG 6 of reducing the burden of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and neglected tropical diseases. This goal has seen much progress revealed by the rate of new HIV infections having halved in the past decade. However, the new agenda has put the aim of reducing HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and neglected tropical diseases as only the fifth and final part of Goal 4 (of ensuring healthy lives). Some have viewed the massive progress made in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS resulting in its reduced attention from the post-2015 agenda– “ironically the AIDS response is being dealt a blow by its own success”. ‘HIV’ only appearing 5 times in the 81-page report can be seen to show this.

On receiving the completed report, Ban Ki-Moon spoke of the post-2015 agenda as “a chance to usher in a new era in international development – one that will eradicate extreme poverty and lead us to a world of prosperity, sustainability, equity and dignity for all”.