The MDGs and Beyond

Edited by: Andy Sumner and Claire Melamed

November 2010
Volume 41 Number 1

Do the MDGs still reflect what is important about how development happens and how policy influences that process? The MDGs were an approach born of a benign era of relative stability, stronger economic growth and fairly buoyant aid budgets.

We now face a very different world. Changes sparked by uncertainty, and a sense of multiple insecurities, could impact adversely on poverty levels. The economic crisis has led to significant changes in the context for international development and the crisis/post-crisis context is central to many MDG questions in terms of impacts on poverty and on development commitments over the next ten years.

Articles in this IDS Bulletin inform the debate in 2010, leading up to and beyond the UN MDG review summit, and reflect on the MDG experience so far. They ask what that experience means for the next five years and beyond. What have the MDGs actually achieved, and for whom? What can we learn from the MDGs about how the international community can best play a role in national processes of development and poverty reduction? Will the MDGs prove to reflect an international commitment to poverty reduction that goes beyond 2015, or are they the product of a specific moment, unlikely to be repeated?

The debate around what should succeed the MDGs after 2015 is still in its early stages and many fear talking about this will derail the momentum around them. As the articles here, and the conversations over this year and next will demonstrate, it is sure to go to the heart of what international development is all about.