Comment on Secretary-General’s 2008 Global MDG report

[ NOTE : The following comment on the Secretary-General's 2008 Global MDG report was posted to the Asia Pacific Community of Practice on Social Inclusion, Gender equality and Health Promotion in the MDGs (AP-MDG-Social), a  specialized sub-group of the Asia Pacific MDG Community of Practice launched by UNESCAP, UNDP and ADB.  (
The comment has been posted by Clinton Rapley, Director of Planning Services, Associates for International Management Services. Kindly note that the opinions expressed in this post are  entirely those of the individual member and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the UN]

A review of documents available so far reflects a mainly “business as usual” approach concerning recommendations to further the MDGs, which provides added importance to follow up by ESCAP and this network of interested parties to ESCAP’s 2007 MDG expert meeting that considered new and additional measures for MDGs process.

For instance, the “background note” for the 25 September high-level event – attached – reflects “dependent and vulnerable” approaches in recommended actions to achieve significant reductions in poverty and improvements in nutrition among the world’s poor.  Paragraph 15 of the “note” states:
” …efforts must . be designed to encompass all categories of the poor, especially the groups or regions that may be particularly disadvantaged or vulnerable. Such groups could include women, children and young people,older persons and persons with disabilities, and groups that often suffer from social exclusion .”.
Missing from the discussion are options to build capacities and reinforce advancement of women and of other social groups in mainstream development as agents and beneficiaries.

In addition, the report of the MDG “gap” task force provides mainly input-based development strategies, much in the vein of the 2005 MDG reports prepared under the direction of Prof. Jeff Sachs, rather than present options by which Governments can make better, more equitable and sustainable use of resources for national development.  There is, moreover, no mention of the critical role that accessibility with reasonable adaptation plays in the provision of infrastructure, services and technologies for broad-based development.

In contrast, discussions organized to prepare for the five-year review of the 2002 Monterey Conference on financing for development (Doha, 29 November- 2 December 2008) do reflect awareness of the role of human resources, social policy and institutional development in sustainable and equitable development; for instance chapter III of the “Monterrey reviews” – attached – addresses such issues as governance and the role of social policy in the mobilization of resources for development.

Much remains to be done,

Clint Rapley,
Director of Planning Services, Associates for International Management Services

written by Christopher Rego – UNESCAP

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