European NGOs set out their vision of a new approach to tackling poverty

03/05/2013 at 2:41 pm 1 comment

beyond2015

Human rights and a focus on the multidimensional scope of poverty should be at the centre of the agenda that replaces the Millennium Development Goals – due to expire in less than two years’ time – according to a new position from CONCORD’s Beyond 2015 European Taskforce.

The report was presented to the European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, and the European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potocnik on 2 May in Brussels.

A new Irish development policy

On the same day that European NGOs set out their ideas, the Irish Government published its new Policy on Development. Like the NGO paper, this new policy was based on a long process of consultation, which saw the Government receive some 165 submissions from across Irish society.

(Read the Dóchas submission here)

Irish NGOs have welcomed the new Policysaying it addressed their concerns about the lack of cross-government approaches to extreme poverty, and that it showed refreshing and more political thinking on the part of the Government.

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Photo: EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs at the presentation of the report.
 

The United Nations established 8 anti-poverty goals in the year 2000, with huge progress achieved in areas such as healthcare, education and millions more have access to safe drinking water.

Yet poverty still affects billions of people across the world.

And the world is a very different place to when the goals were designed at the turn of the century. A number of challenges, such as climate change, have emerged while others such as inequality have taken deeper root, while the systems by which we live our lives have been shown to serve the interests of only a select few, unsustainable and destructive in the long term.

photo

Report launch in Brussels

A new approach to tackling poverty

The NGO position paper published in May proposes that poverty be looked at from a multi-dimensional perspective that encompasses a shortage of capabilities, choices, security and power as well as resources such as income. “Measurements of Gross Domestic Product fail to capture the entire picture as benefits of growth are not shared equally. We therefore propose focusing on a well-being measure rather than having a goal on income poverty alone which would be used as an overarching indicator comprehensively measuring the outcome of the whole framework”.

The interlinked nature of issues must be reflected in a comprehensive post-2015 framework which addresses all three dimensions of sustainability (social, economic and environmental).

Given the nature and scale of the global challenges the world is facing, it is no longer possible to imagine a framework which is designed predominantly for implementation by developing countries. The post-2015 framework must be universal, with global goals pertaining to all countries and all countries contributing to their achievement.

First and foremost, the principles of human rights like equality, and nondiscrimination, participation, empowerment and responsibility. Therefore the most marginalised must be prioritised including girls’ and women’s empowerment through gender equality.

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Report launch in Brussels

Principles

 

1. The Progressive Realisation of Human Rights and the Application of Human Rights
Principles
1A. Equality and Non-Discrimination
1B. Meaningful Participation and People’s Empowerment
1C. Responsibility and Accountability

2. Well-Being as a Measure of Individual and National Progress
2A. Moving Beyond GDP to Measure Progress

3. Focus on Structural Change

4. Sustainability, Now and in the Future

5. Policy Coherence for (Sustainable) Development

6. Universal Framework with Universal Goals

7. Common but Differentiated Responsibility

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Report launch in Brussels

21 Goals

21goals

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. R Storey  |  03/05/2013 at 8:16 pm

    As usual there is a lot of ‘pie in the sky’ thinking here however there are signs of an improved approach.
    The realisation that ‘Business as usual is not an option’ is to be welcomed.
    The emphasis on poverty and human rights has been recognised in the past however there is clearly more practical linkage with the greater attention to governance, responsibilities and transparency by donors with the beneficiaries themselves.
    If equality and genuine participation of beneficiaries is indeed to determine success then this will be a great advance however the acid test will be how far donors will go in allowing financial participation in budgetary control and transparency.
    The new measure of well-being rather than the nonsense of GDP as a growth measurement relevant to the poor is welcome. As the gap between rich and poor in the developed world also intensifies there needs to be a re-alignment of thinking on poverty at home with poverty overseas so that the 0.7% of GDP is no longer pursued at the expense of the poor here.
    There is recognition that taxation, trade and corruption are to be live issues and it will be interesting to see if NGOs can shift gear to addressing the root causes of poverty and inequality.
    For starters they will need to shed a lot of the extravagancies of high salaries, luxuries and ‘silver spoon’ lifestyles which create insurmountable obstacles to dialogue with the poor and oppressed.

    Reply

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