Ending poverty in our generation: A new report

Children, who can see the end of poverty in their lifetime, smiling at a market in Uganda.

This article by Jenny Russell was originally published on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Impatient Optimists blog.

The 2015 target date for the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is fast approaching. With less than three years remaining, significant strides have been made toward achieving these ambitious goals, including lifting 600 million people out of poverty, helping 56 million more children go to school, and reducing the number of under-five deaths from nearly 12 million in 1990 to fewer than 7 million in 2011.

Clearly, the MDGs have provided a successful framework to direct political and financial commitments as well as practical solutions for children and others mired in poverty. That said, the job is far from done. Despite progress on the MDGs for health, for instance, millions of children still died in 2011 from mostly preventable causes. We can—and should—do better.

This is a critical moment in world history.  We must do everything possible to achieve the current MDGs to address poverty and then create a post-2015 development framework to finish the job.

We have the opportunity now to make a series of momentous breakthroughs in human development. For the first time, it is conceivable that every child has the right to learn, no child will die from preventable causes, and no child will suffer from absolute poverty. That is why Save the Children is working globally to ensure that, collectively, we learn from the current MDGs and contribute to the evolution of an ambitious new global development framework.

Last week, Save the Children released a flagship report, Ending Poverty in Our Generation, which outlines one of the first post-2015 proposals, building on the successes and lessons learned from the MDGs. We believe the core priorities for fostering a new framework should emphasize human development, equity, and accountability with a focus on our future – the children. To this end, the report identifies 10 goals we believe are imperative if the new post-2015 framework is to end extreme poverty in the next 20 years.

Save the Children’s 10 Goals for Post-2015 Development Framework

  • Goal 1: By 2030 we will eradicate extreme poverty and reduce relative poverty through inclusive growth and decent work
  • Goal 2: By 2030 we will eradicate hunger, halve stunting, and ensure universal access to sustainable food, water and sanitation
  • Goal 3: By 2030 we will end preventable child and maternal mortality and provide basic healthcare for all
  • Goal 4: By 2030 we will ensure children everywhere receive quality education and have good learning outcomes
  • Goal 5: By 2030 we will ensure all children live a life free from all forms of violence, are protected in conflict and thrive in a safe family environment
  • Goal 6: By 2030 governance will be more open, accountable and inclusive
  • Goal 7: By 2030 we will establish effective global partnerships for development
  • Goal 8: By 2030 we will build disaster-resilient societies
  • Goal 9: By 2030 we will ensure a sustainable, healthy and resilient environment for all
  • Goal 10: By 2030 we will deliver sustainable energy to all

Our starting point in developing these goals was the great successes in poverty reduction and development that have been made possible thanks to the MDGs. In addition, these goals were identified through extensive consultation across Save the Children’s global network and are informed by expertise accumulated over a century of development programming to improve the lives of children and their families.

We also looked at the gaps in the MDGs, including equity, participation and accountability.

The debate on the MDG successor framework is at an early stage—and as such these aforementioned proposals are offered as a contribution to a participative global conversation, not as a final word. However, the time is ripe to ensure that we remain as ambitious as possible.

Later this month, an influential United Nations’ panel, chaired by the presidents of Liberia and Indonesia and the UK Prime Minister, will meet to begin outlining the new development framework to replace the current MDGs.

The global community must ensure that important objectives are not overlooked or negotiated away at this early stage, and that the discussion moves beyond rhetoric and ensures a practical framework in which all children, wherever they live, can fulfill their potential. It will take more than business as usual if we are to succeed. It will require a resolute focus not on the easy to reach, but on the hardest to help.

Together, we can create a world where everyone has enough food to eat; everyone has enough education to flourish; everyone has clean water to drink; and everyone has access to healthcare when they fall ill.

If we are willing to take up the challenge, then we can be the generation that ends poverty.