Setting smarter development goals
OVER THE NEXT 15 years, a rough calculation suggests that at least $2.5 trillion will be spent on development assistance. Where this spending goes will largely be dictated by 169 development targets that the United Nations has endorsed for the next decade and a half. Next week, government ministers will return to New York to discuss the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda, amid growing recognition of the headache of trying to pursue so many different well-meaning ambitions at once.
This situation was inevitable. The Sustainable Development Agenda was the result of a painfully inclusive and economically uninformed process, in which government representatives and regional blocs, NGOs, agencies, and advocacy groups tussled over which development goals should be given the UN stamp of approval.