• Sunday, April 20, 2014
  • A program of IPS Inter Press Service supported by the Dutch MDG3 Fund

    Missing the Point? A critical review of MDG

    14 Sep 2009


    Next time you read a story or a press release moaning about how country X will not reach the Millennium Development Goals, think twice – whose goal and whose target is it? We know the deadline but do we know the baseline?

    Instead of striking a balance between ambition and realism, the MDGs have become “money-metric and donor-centric”, “meaningless catch-all phrases.”

    So says Jan Vandemoortele, a Belgian national, a United Nations senior official and one of the architects of the MDGs, in a thought-provoking article in the July issue of  Development Policy Review of the Overseas Development Institute. (read it here)

    Unrealistic? A crowded classrom in Guinea Bissau...

    Unrealistic goal? A crowded classroom in Guinea Bissau...

    The author recalls that the MDGs were set up in 2000 as collective targets based on extrapolations of global trends.  They are vague by definition; they are not one-size-fits-all.

    Instead, one should look at countries’ historical backgrounds, natural endowments and specific problems, then adapt the Goals to each circumstance, as Mozambique, Cambodia and Ethiopia have done.

    Otherwise, this puts undue pressure on the poorest countries and, given that most of these are in Africa, nurtures Afro-pessimism.

    For example, the global target for education “is not realistic” for countries in conflict, he says.                              More »

    Wedding hell: child brides

    22 Jun 2009


    Too young to carry the burden of marriage. Photo: M. Sayagues

    In Bissau - too young to carry the burden of marriage. Photo: M.Sayagues

    She was a brave little girl, who believed in her right to choose how to live her life. Aged 12, as a minor she remained nameless in the news.

    She lived in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands, the green, misty mountains along the Mozambican border. On weekends, people dressed in flowing white robes, the men bearded, holding carved wooden canes, gather under the masasa trees. They belong to the Johanne Marange apostolic sect. Peaceful people – with a nasty habit of marrying young girls.

    More »