Could the Post-2015 Development Agenda Promote Poverty

Could the Post-2015 Development
Agenda Promote Poverty
Eradication as an International
Social Norm?
David Hulme
Brooks World Poverty Institute
University of Manchester
• Contemporary policy focus on monitoring
MDGs and Post-2015 Development Agenda
• Returning to Hulme & Fukuda-Parr (BWPI 96)
• Did the MDGs promote the ‘end of poverty’ as
a social norm…the moral unacceptability of
extreme poverty in an affluent world?
• Abolishing slavery, anti-apartheid, rules of war
• Norm emergence, cascade and internalization
• Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
• Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
• Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
• Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
• Goal 5: Improve maternal health
• Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
• Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
• Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
‘Human development meets results-based management
in an imperfect world’
MDGs Contribution to Poverty
• MDGs only weakly related to ‘MDGs
achievement’ in monitoring exercises-China!
• Very difficult to assess – history, other factors,
multiple criteria and scales
• My judgement – small net contribution but
NOT transformational (Millennium Moment)
• Good news – aid volumes, UK, EU
• Bad news – aid-driven, BWI-PRSPs, US…BRICs
The Framing of the MDGs
• Framed by aid/development agencies as a
planning/managing tool
• Sachs and the UN Millennium Project – high
modernism: experts solve poverty problem
• Neglect of re-shaping public attitudes and
mobilising grassroots political support
• Two main exceptions to this – Millennium
Campaign and GCAP… both flawed ?
The Post-2015 Development Agenda
• Burst into life 2012 – lots of activity now
especially UN HLP Report and SDGs
• Different from the MDG process
• A relatively clear UN process – ‘rules of the game’
• Key players - aid industry plus sustainability group
(Brazil and LA) plus Africa growth group
• Content – everything, even governance and
• Sustainability + poverty reduction +
growth…presented as win/win (not trade-offs)
Post-2015 DA: Who is Missing?
I think there are two big omissions
1. Great/emerging powers – US, China, India.
• Not a big issue for them or on the side-lines?
2. Civil society
• Grassroots contributions are consultative not
engaging or mobilising – UN-guided national
consultations; Beyond 2015; Southern Voices;
Post-2015 DA: the consequences?
• Very professional and structured processes:
shows ‘the people’ have been consulted and
produces polished documents and counterdocuments…but NOT public engagement
• Danger of repeating the MDG experience.
• Producing a complex/technical list for political
and professional elites…not a narrative or a
norm that actively engages civil society in
poor, emerging and rich countries
Post-2015 DA: What to do?
• A partial conclusion – this is where you all
come in with your ideas. How to seize the
opportunity of 2015 as a [big?] step forward
in the historical evolution of anti-poverty
(global justice) rather than a well-staged
international compromise for policy elites.
Post-2015 DA: What to do?
• ASAP – university campuses and student social
media across the world on Oct 17 2014?
• CSOs/NGOs/trade unions – could they engage or
too professional/dis-embedded/self-serving?
• Faiths – central for anti-slavery and end of
apartheid…cross-faith action?
• Celebrities – wrong messengers or useful for key
events (like Geldof and Band Aid 1985 in UK)?
• Change the message – focus on global and
national inequality. A message for all countries
(US, China, India, UK etc) not ‘us’ and ‘them’?
• My conclusion is the easy part – it looks likely that,
unless something impacts the Post-2015 Development
Agenda process, we shall get a technically improved set
of global goals that does not engage the public nor
contribute much to the creation of an international
social norm to end poverty…great rhetoric but little
pressure for action or accountability
• We can debate this conclusion but most of all I would
like to debate with you about - ‘what to do – how to
make ending poverty an international social norm for
an affluent world’
Readings 1
• R Wilkinson and D Hulme (2012) The Millennium
Development Goals and Beyond: Global
Development after 2015, London, Routledge
• D Hulme (2010) Global Poverty: How Global
Governance is Failing the Poor, (pp.246). London
and New York, Routledge
• A Greig, D Hulme and M Turner (2007)
Challenging Global Inequality: the Theory and
Practice of Development in the Twenty-First
Century, (pp296). London, Palgrave (with A. Greig
and M. Turner)
Readings 2
• D Hulme (2009), ‘Global Poverty Reduction and
the Millennium Development Goals: A Short
History of the World's Biggest Promise,’ Brooks
World Poverty Institute Working Paper 100,
University of Manchester
• S Fukuda-Parr and D Hulme (2011) ‘International
norm dynamics and the “end of poverty”:
understanding the Millennium Development
Goals’, Global Governance 17(1), pp.17-36
(download as BWPI Working Paper 96)

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