Unpacking the Post-MDG Process

The United Nations is driving progress to replace the current Millennium Development Goals with a new post-2015 agenda for international development. ACTION Secretariat Deputy Director, Danielle Doughman, unpacks the process, who's involved, and how you can engage.

What are the MDGs?

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were originally rolled out in 2000 as a global response to poverty reduction. 

Since that time, they have garnered massive international support and mobilized new resources to improve conditions for the world’s poorest. Three of the eight goals are related to health: reduce child mortality, improve maternal mortality, and combat AIDS, malaria and other diseases including tuberculosis.

What will follow the MDGs?

Now the MDGs are set to come to an end in 2015, and the global community, spearheaded by the United Nations, has its eye on the next iteration of global goals. The post-2015 agenda will be applicable to all countries, not only the least developed, with room for national ownership and priority setting.

There has been much debate on how health will be framed in a post-2015 development agenda. Some believe that a broad umbrella goal related to universal health coverage, or increased life expectancy, under which with disease-specific sub-goals would fall, would be best. Others are arguing to keep the MDGs intact, but take them forward into the next 10 or 15 year period with more aggressive targets and concrete linkages to the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. Many of these decisions are actively being discussed, so it’s important for all of us, especially those who care about global health, to engage on this issue.

There has also been debate as to how sustainable development goals will merge with the next iteration of MDGs. The development of SDGs, which aim to address the role of the environment in economic development, is also underway. To avoid international development siloes, duplication of efforts, and to allow for greater linkages between development agendas, the SDG and post-2015 MDG processes should be merged.

Who’s in charge?

The UN Secretary-General established a UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda. The Task Team is currently wrapping up a mapping process on the topics of inequalities, health, education, growth and employment, population dynamics, governance, conflict and fragility, environmental sustainability, and food security and nutrition, and over the next ten months will be engaging in 50 country consultations.

A report to the UN Secretary General from the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons, appointed to guide the post-2015 process, is expected in May 2013. The report will lay the groundwork for the MDGs Summit at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2013. After the Summit, it is expected much of the work to influence the agenda will be at the country level.

Learn more and get involved

The original process for establishing a set of MDGs – a small group of experts discussing behind closed doors –  was criticized for its lack of transparency. Moving forward, the UN and its partners have made efforts to be more inclusive and transparent. These are just a few of the ways you can engage:

  • Read up on the background provided by our partners RESULTS UK.
  • Share your thoughts at MY World, a global survey asking you to choose your priorities for a better world. Results will be shared with world leaders in setting the next global development agenda. To capture the thoughts of those not online, the offline version of My World is being rolled out in 20 countries.
  •  For civil society organizations, you can join Beyond 2015, a global civil society campaign pushing for a strong and legitimate successor framework to the MDGs. The campaign is built on a diverse, global base of more than 570 members – from small community based organizations to international NGOs, academics and trade unions.