NGOs: UN Strategy on MDGs Thin on Specifics

Non-governmental organizations have raised concern over the finalized United Nations text on achieving the Millennium Development Goals, saying the outcome document is a rehash of previous promises and generalized commitments.

The document was finalized on Sept. 9 after months of negotiations, and will be signed by heads of state in next week’s MDG summit. 

“This document lacks the adrenaline boost to accelerate the MDGs, and with only five years left, world leaders coming together in New York must commit to concrete actions that will ensure all people are lifted from poverty in our lifetime,” Emma Seery, a spokesperson for Oxfam International, was quoted by IPS as saying.

The document underscores the need for national ownership of development strategies, and economic and financial reforms to help achieve the MDGs. It also notes the importance of supporting women’s empowerment, inclusive growth, universal access to social services and good governance in realizing the eight development goals.

The final 27-page version, according to IPS, is “more specific in its language yet still general in its pledges.”

Oxfam’s Louis Belanger aired a similar concern. He said the document has few recommendations for specific actions or policy changes to help realize the MDGs.

“Oxfam’s main problem with this is that it’s not action orientated,” Belanger said as quoted by Reuters. “There’s little of the ‘how’ these commitments will be achieved.”

ARTICLE 19, a human rights group, noted that the number of references to “accountability,” “transparency,” “information” and “civil society” in the outcome document has decreased over time. The document has been revised several times in the last few months.

The document will be “seen by most as failing to really address the MDG issues, and failing to be a rallying point for the last five years of the MDGs,” according to the group.

Watch out for a more detailed Devex News comparison of the final declaration with previous drafts tomorrow.

Devex News – live breaking news coverage of the Millennium Development Goals and the Sept. 20-22 U.N. MDG summit in New York

About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.