The world after 2015

In year 2000, UN member states agreed on something totally new: a concrete set of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) with specific targets and indicators. The aim of the MDGs was to free people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations by year 2015. During the years much has been done: less people live in extreme poverty, much more children get to start school and child and maternal mortality has decreased. However, in many of the goals progress has been too slow – and new problems have arisen on top of the old ones.

As 2015 is fast approaching the discussion on their review and what happens after the MDGs has also intensified. Last summer, Rio+20 brought the idea of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the forefront. Recently, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appointed the High Level Panel to prepare for the future of the MDGs. At the moment, UNDP is coordinating the post-2015 consultations around the world.

MDGs and the goals for post-2015 were very much also on the agenda in the Helsinki Process + 10 Conference in Helsinki last spring. So far we do not know what the SDGs look like, or what their relationship to the MDGs will be. I think we all wonder, whether the international community can agree on one set of new development goals or do we continue on two tracks: MDG+ and SDGs. In Finland, the preliminary thoughts have favored the one-track-approach even if there might be goals with different targets for developing and developed countries.

The international development agenda has been based on mainly three pillars: economically, environmentally and socially sustainable development. Recently the UN report Realizing the Future We want for All brought up a fourth pillar: that of Peace and Security. The Secretary General of the UN has on different occasions said: “There is no peace without the development and no development without the peace”. I believe in that more and more every day. It is vital to integrate these four pillars, otherwise we cannot expect sustainable results as an outcome.

An important aspect in the discussion is the means of implementation. At the moment, Finland is chairing the “Leading Group on Innovative Financing”. Among other things, our aim is to clarify the concept “innovative financing mechanisms”, to link innovative financing to efficient allocation of funds as well as enhancing development results particularly on country level in events, and to integrate the global action against illicit financial flows and tax havens.

Many developing countries will have all the chances to end their aid dependency, alleviate poverty and reduce inequalities in the forthcoming years on their own – thanks to their natural resources. This can of course happen only if these resources are managed in inclusive, green and responsible manner.  More attention should also be paid to the impact of illegal capital flight to the poverty reduction.

The task ahead of us is huge – we are talking about our common future, nothing less. This is why all the processes and preparations need to be as inclusive as possible. I would like to encourage all of you to share your expertise on these complex issues: Let’s use this forum also for the ventilation of ideas for the post-2015.

Heidi Hautala

Minister for International Development and Ownership Steering Issues. Ms Hautala was a Member of the European Parliament from 1995 to 2003 and 2009 to 2011, where she chaired the Subcommittee on Human Rights. Ms Hautala was the leader of the Finnish Green Party from 1987 to 1991. Heidi Hautala is engaged to work also in organisations on the side of her work in the Finnish Parliament. She is the former President of Service Centre for Development Cooperation and a current member of the executive bureau of the peace mediation organisation Crisis Management Initiative.