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Making Sense of the MDGs

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Several misunderstandings have arisen about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Most widespread is the view that each and every country must achieve the same numerical targets. This is obviously incorrect because the global performance is the aggregate of MDG-plus and MDG-minus countries. Another misconception is that a universal strategy exists for achieving the MDGs. This view contradicts the historical fact that different countries have applied different means towards achieving the same end – namely, human development. A third misunderstanding is that the cost of achieving the MDGs can be determined with precision over a multi-year period. Jan Vandemoortele1 identifies growing disparities within countries as the main reason why the global targets will not be met by 2015. He outlines four practical steps for formulating homegrown and endogenous MDG-based national development strategies. He underscores the need for a new partnership between the rich and the poor, one that is based on ‘ideas changing minds’ rather than on ‘money changing hands’ because a partnership that is primarily based on money is inherently unequal.Development (2008) 51, 220–227. doi:10.1057/dev.2008.7

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-06-01

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