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Post-2015 Development Responsibilities Should Be Clearly Defined

If the post-2015 development goals “are to be as effective as realistically possible, the debate must push well beyond the report of the U.N.’s High-Level Panel on the subject,” as “[t]he 12 goals proposed suffer from the same key defects as the [Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)]: they are general wishes that do not assign concrete tasks and responsibilities to specific actors, and they do not meet civil society aspirations for systemic reforms of global institutions,” Thomas Pogge, Leitner professor of philosophy and international affairs at Yale University and international president of Academics Stand Against Poverty (Asap), and Mitu Sengupta, associate professor of politics at Ryerson University and director of Asap Canada, write in The Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.”

“If stated commitments to solidarity and shared responsibility are to amount to more than lip service, future work on hammering out new development goals should specify plausible institutional reforms that could be implemented by the more affluent countries, and which would reduce the headwinds existing institutional arrangements are blowing against the poor,” they write. “The most powerful and influential agents must be given clear tasks and responsibilities — not merely in the arena of development assistance, but also in terms of tasks that must be taken into account in all their policy and institutional design decisions, at both the domestic and — especially — the supranational level,” the authors write, concluding, “A good start would be to commission experts to provide written assessments of the impact specific decisions can be expected to have on the world’s poor” (8/20).