Home » Industry » MDGs Lessons for Post-2015 Development Agenda

The world has started debating the post-2015 development agenda as the Millennium Development Goals developed in year 2000 come to an end this year.

It is important for Zimbabwe to reflect on the progress made and plan for the Sustainable Development Goals which replace the MDGs. Just recently Government and representatives from non-governmental organisations launched the post-2015 development agenda process at a local hotel.

Since 2000 Zimbabwe prioritised MDG1 on the eradication of extreme poverty, MDG 3 promoting gender equality and empowerment of women and MDG6, to combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

It was felt at that time that these goals would have a spillover effect to the attainment of 5 other goals.

Soon the world will be getting into overdrive as the MDGs come to an end. Based on various reports the world is off-track in ending poverty, tackling inequality and avoiding climate change.

Of importance again is that the world has the tools, knowledge and resources to fix some of our greatest challenges. During the launch of the post-2015 development agenda, one would not question much how Zimbabwe has progressed towards achieving this objective.

Out of the eight presenters drawn from Government, local and regional civic organisations, including the director of ceremonies, none of them was female. This did not go down well with women rights lobby groups, who felt that this arrangement poured cold water on the milestones reached since the launch of the MDGs.

It is no doubt that the proportion of women in decision-making positions is still very low, hence as the country gears into SDGs, this should be one of the major priorities.

Of course, Zimbabwe progressed well in terms of gender policies, which saw an improved number of girls accessing primary and secondary education in both urban and rural areas.

However, the scale is unbalanced at tertiary level where very few women compared to girls are enrolling, ultimately leading to under-representation of women at decision-making levels.

There has been significant progress recorded under goal 4 (reduce child mortality) as the under five mortality declined from 102 deaths to just under 80 deaths per 1 000 live births, according to the 2012 progress report.

The reduction in the rate of infection from HIV is plausible and a good sign for the achievement of Goal 6: combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

Far from that, there are a number of key issues that led to Zimbabwe failing to achieve a number of targets. Of importance is the level of involvement of ordinary Zimbabweans affected by the issues raised.

MDGs have been widely talked about at high level meetings with very few decision-makers purporting to represent a significant proportion of the country. For starters, these goals were set without consultation from grassroots. Voices of the people are important if at the end of the day, the same people are expected to do something regarding implementation of targets.

As we come to the end of the implementation phase of the MDGs, with less than 12 months left and nothing much expected in terms of achieving the remaining targets, very few Zimbabweans can list specific objectives and what more, specific targets on each objective.

Planning for the post-2015 development agenda will require adequate consultations from the grassroots to the top.

The post-2015 agenda should shift from a marathon kind of implementation to a phase by phase type of implementation.

All the 189 nations who adopted the Millennium Declaration went into a race from 2000, competing with each other in terms of achieving set objectives and targets but without learning from each other on how each country was progressing.

At a global level the final destination has been set with the targets being defined but the whole journey was not described, leading to varied outcomes and the marathon that the countries went into.

Of importance is also to acknowledge the fact that both Government and development partners in Zimbabwe failed to progress towards the achievement of MDGs. Of course, Government is responsible for the outcome but at the same time development partners had the resources as well to implement most of these targets.

Unfortunately, the targets were the same for all countries but as the journey began some started at various points, others had already made progress. Fortunately for nations such as Zimbabwe, for argument sake, may not be classified as one of the countries that failed to implement.

Targets were set in 2000 but implementation started later due to a number of issues. These included limited resources and secondly, the need to align indigenous policies with MDGs for smooth implementation.

Failure to achieve targets is not failure at all but what is important here is to look at where we started and where we are as a country. It goes without saying that much has been achieved.

Indigenous policy is key for national development. The popular Zim-Asset clusters such as value addition and beneficiation, food security, poverty eradication, social services and nutrition are key at a global level as well.

The post-2015 development agenda for Zimbabwe should therefore be drawn in line with Zim-Asset in order to buttress efforts being made to date and also taking over issues to the global 2030 journey for the SDGs.

There is also need to be very specific when agendas are being set.

It is widely appreciated that issues to do with older persons and disabled people were not specifically addressed as they were lumped in other targets hence most of the needs of these vulnerable groups have not been addressed.

The post-2015 development agenda should therefore ensure that specific targets for specific vulnerable groups should be clearly outlined in an effort to improve their living standards.

It should be noted that nothing was mentioned regarding universal pensions for old people as well as grants for people living with disabilities.

Even access to health and other important services was not addressed.

The MDGs’ implementation phase was marked by inadequate resources to finance projects. Many countries excelled in terms of developing plans but unfortunately, financial resources were not adequate.

Already, there is talk that countries should find resources to finance the SDGs. This will be a challenge, considering that most of the developing countries are even failing to finance their own strategic policies. In Zimbabwe, Zim-Asset is a good example.

Some of the challenges that African countries are facing are a result of developed countries. Climate change, which is a key issue today, has exposed many African countries, whose livelihoods depend on agriculture. Developed countries emit more thereby depleting the ozone layer.

2015 is definitely a time to reflect and be honest to each other, otherwise the next 15 years will not mean anything, especially if challenges highlighted spill over into the next implementation phase.

Source : The Herald