Sounding off on economic growth

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    By and large, the Millennium Development Goals represent a success story. More children are attending school, poverty is declining, and fewer people are dying from diseases like malaria, according to the latest U.N. report on the MDGs.

    That being said, progress toward achieving the MDGs has been uneven, so the work continues and needs to scale up if we want to reach all goals everywhere.

    “While we have made critical advances, we still have a lot more work to do to make sure that the poorest and most vulnerable communities have access to life-saving services and opportunities,” wrote Kathy Calvin, president and chief executive officer of the United Nations Foundation, in an exclusive commentary for Devex. “Additionally, progress on the MDGs has been uneven between and within countries, and we need to pick up the pace in several areas, including strengthening child, maternal and reproductive health, and expanding access to sanitation.”

    For many Devex readers who commented on our coverage over the past week, the solution seemed obvious: more investment in key development areas.

    A widespread lack of access to clean drinking water is derailing the global anti-poverty drive, Jacqueline Simone Ambrose argued. It’s the No.1 issue that governments need to address, and a set percentage of foreign aid should be allocated to it, she said.

    Gross domestic product should be replaced as the most common measure of a country’s success with indicators on the investment in poor people, the environment and employment, Pirthiman Pradhan suggested.

    A reader named Vestias, meanwhile, recommended a mixed economy model for developing countries which would “benefit the various social class[es].”

    We should improve the lives of those in need “not because, we have to give them their due, but it’s their right,” Sham Lal said.

    What measure, if not gross domestic product, best captures a country’s economic growth and development? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

    Aug. 18, 2014, marks the 500-day milestone until the target date to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Join Devex, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, to raise awareness of the progress made through the MDGs and to rally to continue the momentum. Check out our Storify page and tweet us using #MDGmomentum.

    The views in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect Devex's editorial views.

    About the author

    • Ma. Eliza Villarino

      Eliza is a veteran journalist focused on covering the most pressing issues and latest innovations in global health, humanitarian aid, sustainability, and development. A member of Mensa, Eliza has earned a master's degree in public affairs and bachelor's degree in political science from the University of the Philippines.