Last month I was invited to speak at TED Global in Edinburgh. TED is an organisation devoted to ideas worth spreading. So I wanted to share with you my talk and an idea we’re working on with partners at ONE that I think needs spreading…
In a few years’ time the Millennium Development Goals, which were agreed in 2000 to tackle extreme poverty and preventable disease, meet their goal-line: 2015. So we need to assess how we did on these goals and decide whether global goals like this are a good idea going forward, based on whether they’ve helped galvanise life-saving and transformative action. If we think such global goals are helpful catalysts for action then we need to decide “what the world wants” these new global goals to be – and we need to decide how we will decide!
So are such goals a good idea? Personally I think the Millennium Development Goals are very worthwhile, they have achieved a lot – like helped 6m more Africans with HIV get access to life preserving antiretrovirals and helped get 46 million children in school in Africa.
But there is more to do. Still 7.6m kids die of preventable treatable diseases every year. 178 million are “stunted”, a horrible term that means malnourished to the point of physical and cognitive lifelong impairment. And many people think new goals should be packed in with the old goals – such as on fighting corruption or environmental sustainability. These are all vital issues. But there will have to be trade offs, tough choices, we can’t work on everything.
But the real question here is what do YOU think the new global goals should be? And what do the poorest on the planet think, who otherwise could get squeezed out of the process. How can their views be put at the heart of the process to decide the world’s new goals? At the end of the day if the new goals are to be truly global goals everyone, everywhere should get a chance to contribute, vote and have their say in a structured legitimate way.
What’s exciting is that, unlike in 2000 when the first goals were agreed, internet and mobile phones have spread all around the world. People are more connected than ever. So, I’d like to explore how we could use this technology to involve people from around the world in co-designing an historic first: the world’s first ever truly global poll and consultation on “What the World Wants”. Let’s crowd-source the new Millennium Development Goals. I believe that through this crowd-sourcing we won’t just improve the quality of the goals, we will also increase the quality of support for getting the goals done.
You can watch my TED talk in full here:
The stakes are high. Hundreds of billions of dollars, tens of millions of lives and deaths, and perhaps the peacefulness and prosperity of the twenty-first century we live in together. So please consider what you think and what you want the new global goals to be.
There are many ways to take forward this conversation and the real effort to democratise and radically break open this expert discussion has not yet begun. I think this could be a fascinating exercise and experiment in twenty first century global governance. So please join in.
What do you think, how should we go about agreeing what replaces the Millennium Development Goals? Do you agree that they’ve been good so far, that there’s living proof of progress worth celebrating and building upon? What goals would you like to see included in the new package?
Tell me what you think in the comments below. And if you think this is an idea worth sharing, then do please share this talk.
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