Category Archives: MDGs

Unfinished business: women and girls front and centre beyond 2015

This post, by Emily Esplen, Policy Analyst on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights at the OECD, is based on a speech prepared for the Secretary General of the OECD for a joint workshop of the DAC Network on Gender Equality and the UN Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality on the MDGs and post-2015. This blog is a part of the Wikiprogress series on Post-2015.

There is no chance of making poverty history without significant and rapid improvements to the lives of women and girls. Millennium Development Goal 3 (MDG 3) recognised that gender equality is important both as a goal in its own right and as a prerequisite to the success of all other development goals. That gender equality and women’s empowerment is one of only eight global goals has proven to be a powerful stimulus for action.

Yet despite hard won gains, we are a long way from achieving gender equality. All over the world, women and girls continue to face discrimination, exclusion, poverty and violence on the basis of their sex. The figures are stark. Gender parity in primary education has not been achieved in 68 countries. Women still face gender pay gaps, occupational segregation and glass ceilings. They hold less secure jobs than men, with fewer social benefits. 800 women die every day from preventable pregnancy and childbirth related causes. One in three women experience violence in their lifetime.

We must do everything we can to achieve the MDGs by the end of 2015. This means meeting existing aid commitments and investing in the right strategies to accelerate progress for women and girls in the time that remains. Finishing the job we started with the MDGs will also require an ambitious and inspiring post-2015 framework that builds on and expands the priority given to advancing gender equality in the MDGs.

Agreeing an ambitious agenda 


This was the focus of much lively debate at a workshop in early November in Paris, which drew together gender equality advocates from the United Nations, governments and civil society. Participants echoed the strong consensus emerging from across the globe that addressing the “unfinished business” of gender equality and women’s empowerment means putting women and girls front and centre in the post-2015 framework.This will require a strong stand-alone gender equality goal and the comprehensive integration of gender-specific targets and indicators across the new framework.
Now is time to go beyond business as usual and step up our efforts to empower girls and women. Participants were unequivocal that a new framework will need to address the structural factors that underpin the widespread persistence of gender inequality. This calls for a transformational agenda that is anchored in and aligned with existing international human rights standards. Priority must be given to addressing the disadvantage experienced by the most marginalised women and girls.

Fighting for the targets and indicators that will really make a difference 


When the time is right, we need to be ready with the targets and indicators that will really make a difference to the lives of women and girls. Already clear areas of consensus are emerging about what is needed. We know that quality secondary education has huge pay-offs for women’s empowerment. We know that putting an end to early marriage would transform girls’ lives – enabling them to stay in school, fulfil their potential and make choices about their futures. We know that expanding women’s economic opportunities is a key driver of development with multiplier effects for societies, economies and women themselves. We know that women’s capacity to influence the decisions that shape their lives is a basic human right and a prerequisite for responsible and equitable governance. We know that ending violence against women is essential for women’s full participation in economic, social and political life. Each of these must be priorities in the post-2015 framework.

Backing up political rhetoric with action


Building a framework with teeth will require adequate and sustained financing, and strong accountability mechanisms. Political promises must be backed up with the resources required to do the job. We need to gather and use high quality data to monitor our progress and build evidence about what works. We also need to track governments’ expenditure and the proportion of aid focused on achieving gender equality, and hold ourselves to account for the promises we make.

Towards a universal agenda


At the OECD, we know that there is no country in the world where gender equality has been achieved. That’s why we need to keep a strong focus on gender equality beyond 2015. It is also a potent reminder that gender equality is a universal concern that applies to all countries, including OECD countries.
The OECD aspires to play the role of “best supporting actor” in support of these global processes – recognising that real progress is only possible if countries themselves own the agenda and are in the lead. Bringing gender equality and women’s rights to the centre of government attention is a challenge for the months ahead.
Arriving at global consensus will not be easy. With gender equality and women’s rights we can never afford to be complacent – it is not a done deal. And the post-2015 agenda is a high-stakes game. But success is within our grasp if we build a broad base of support and work together with our allies in the global south to position gender equality as a “must have”.

Paving the way toward the MDGs and beyond

This blog is by Susan Nicolai from the UK-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and is part of the Wikiprogress post-2015 series
Global development targets were high on the agenda at the 68th United Nations General Assembly held a month ago in New York. While this involved what one colleague described as the ultimate post-2015 talk-fest, as much or more time was spent on the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and last-ditch efforts to speed progress before their end date. A range of heads of state, world leaders and celebrities weighed in with their own calls to action and reported pledges of over USD 3 billion. Covering the final two years of MDG implementation, it is vital to make the most of these commitments.
Here at ODI’s Development Progress, we asked a range of development experts how they would focus these efforts to accelerate MDG progress. Our eight contributors spanned the continents and hailed from a range of backgrounds, having worked with civil-society groups, policy think-tanks, the United Nations, and the World Bank.
We asked a simple question: ‘What do you see as the single most important thing needed to accelerate progress toward the MDGs?’ Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answers were as complex as the messy world of development. Still, some headlines came through.

Think long-term, no quick fixes

There was a strong call for a shift away from focusing on targets towards greater sustainability of approach. Charles Abugre argued that, for Africa and elsewhere, development efforts need to shift from a narrow MDG focus toward broader structural transformation. Writing from Latin America, Andrea Ordoñez called for development of long-term finance strategies as key to ensuring that development gains can be sustained. Hania Sholkamy, based in the Middle East, explored the fact that progress is not linear, contending that the processes surrounding rights and basic justice deserve more attention as they ultimately determine sustainability. Gonzalo Pizarro, who has worked on MDG efforts with a number of countries, reminds us that development has always been long-term, didn’t start in 2000, and won’t stop in 2015.

Tackle inequity and uneven progress

As recently captured in a think piece by Kevin Watkins, there is widespread recognition that inequity and uneven progress have slowed MDG achievement and threaten progress in any post-2015 framework. Debapriya Bhattacharya and Towfiqul Islam Khan stress how poorly the group of 49 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) has performed in terms of the MDGs, largely achieving only slow progress or appearing off track. Ordoñez highlights how high levels of inequality risk people falling back into poverty, especially in the face of economic shocks. Renosi Mokate, calling for a specific focus on the sub-Saharan African region, which is lagging behind, claims that‘business as usual’ approaches will not be enough, and that more attention should be given to women and children.

Address political context and bottlenecks

A number of contributors highlight the need to factor in political context more, as a key determinant underlying development action and its bottlenecks. Sholkamy calls for much more attention to be given to political context, particularly given the fact that fragile and conflict-affected states have performed so poorly on MDG achievement. Shantanu Mukherjee, working with the MDG Acceleration Framework, a systematic way for countries to development their own MDG action plan, explains how that process can help a country consider its efforts toward addressing a specific MDG and more effectively work with a range of partners to address bottlenecks and constraints to progress.

Local leadership, national plans

The central role of national and community leaders came out strongly in several of the blogs. Pizarro takes this as his central theme, using a consultation in Belize on water and sanitation to illustrate how homegrown solutions are most effective and often counter ‘expert’ assumptions. Mukherjee explains how MDG Acceleration Framework action plans are integrated into national plans, and Abugre emphasises the steady implementation of national plans alongside a review of policies to ensure they link to a broader, transformative agenda. Several writers went further, referencing the weakness of MDG 8 on global partnerships, and stressing the need to move away from aid-dependency in poverty-eradication efforts towards support for nationally driven change defined on its own merits.

Invest in better data

There is an urgent need for better data and qualitative evidence, according to a number of the authors. Abugre and others would like to see better data systems put in place over the next two years to strengthen accountability as part of a renewed development agenda. Mukherjee highlights how MDG processes have already collected a wealth of information, and that a greater focus on sub-national data is important to help customise approaches to tackling inequalities. Sholkamy calls for a broader set of ‘meta-data’ that would incorporate process, and warns against becoming ‘stuck in a methodological rut of indicators and proxy indicators’.
In the time remaining for MDG achievement, it is clear that discrete interventions alone will not ensure delivery. Perhaps it was unfair to ask what single thing was most needed to accelerate progress toward the MDGs; but fair or not, the question certainly led our contributors to define what they saw as ultimately important. Long-term thinking, a focus on those left behind, better awareness of political context, country-level analysis and plans, and investment in better data: these are all needed in the last stretch down the MDG road and form an essential part of the foundations for a post-2015 development agenda.

Susan Nicolai 

This Blog first appeared on the ODI site, here. 

68th UNGA – What’s happening?

This blog gives a provisional agenda for the 68th United Nations General Assembly, held from 24 September until 1 October, 2013. It is part of the Wikiprogress Series on Post-2015. The OECD has been very involved in the post-2015 debate. Check out this paper on what the OECD could contribute to the Post-2015 development agenda and framework.

To watch the 68th UNGA live from 23 September, click here. You can also follow discussions in the Twittersphere using the following Hashtags: #UNGA,  #post2015 and #beyond2015

24 September – 1 October, 2013
As of 19 September 2013

Monday 23 September
11:00 – 12:30
Launch of the knowledge gateway for women’s economic empowerment
(No. 16 UN Agenda)
14:00 – 15:00
One Million Voices: Data Analysis from My World
(No. 36 UN Agenda)
(link to event on 25 Sept 18:15)
·         My WORLD Survey
·         Claire Melamad, Head of Programme, Growth, Poverty and Inequality, ODI
·         Paul Ladd, Head, Team on the Post 2015 Development Agenda, Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP
·         Serin Falu Njie, Deputy Director, Policy, UNMC
·         Amita Dahiya United Nation Volunteer in India country office
Civil Society Voices on Post-2015: Messages from the National Level
(No. 10 UN Agenda)
15:00 – 17:00
Stability and Peace: Finding the Heart of Sustainable Development
(No. 52 UN Agenda)
·         Quaker United Nations Office &  Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding
·         Andrew Tomlinson (Quaker United Nations Office)
·         HE Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Minister of Finance the Federal Republic of Nigeria
·         Ms Ann Sofie Nilsson (Director General of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs)
·         Mr Theophilus Ekpon (National Peace Summit Group Nigeria)
·         Dr Zhang Chun (Shanghai Institutes for International Studies)
·         Ms Carolyne Zoduah (AGENDA)
·         Mr Jay Naidoo, Chair of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition)
15:00 – 18:00 (actual 10:00 – 18:00)
MDG Success: Accelerating Action and Partnering for Impact
(No. 9 UN Agenda-web link)
·         Executive Office of the Secretary-General
·         UN Member States
·         Interational Organisations etc
15:00 – 17:00
What People Want: A report from global conversation on the post-2015 development goals
(No. 15 UN Agenda)
·         UNDG
·         Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General
·         Helen Clark, UN Development Group Chair
·         Monique Coleman, Actress and Global Youth Ambassador
·         Elizabeth Ford, The Guardian, Moderator
·         others (tbc)
17:30 – 20:30
Investments to End Poverty’ Report Launch and Reception
·         Development Initiatives
·         Rajesh Mirchandani, (BBC World Affairs Correspondent)
·         Homi Kharas,  (Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution)
·         Judith Randel, (Executive Director, Development Initiatives
·         Tony Pipa (Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID)
·         Winnie Byanyima, (Executive Director, Oxfam International)
Tuesday 24 September
UNGA General Debate commences (All Day)
7:30 (Breakfast) 08:15 – 09:45
International Youth Voices on Post-2015
(No. 18 UN Agenda)
·      BMZUNICEF & Mexico

·         Ahmad Alhendawi (UN Sec Gens Envoy on Youth)
·         Gudrun Kopp (Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany)
·         Dr. Roberto Dondisch (General Director for Global Issues, Foreign Ministry, Mexico)
·         Global Youth Representatives
08:30 – 9:30
Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation Breakfast Meeting
(Not in UN Agenda)
·         Mexico,  United Kingdom, Indonesia & Nigeria

Co-Chairs of the Global Partnership:
·         Hon. Armida ALISJAHBANA, Indonesian Minister of National Development Planning
·         Hon. Ngozi OKONJO-IWEALA, Nigerian Minister of Finance
·         Hon. Justine GREENING, UK Secretary of State for International Development
·         José Antonio Meade Kuribreña Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs
·         Helen Clark (TBC) UNDP Administrator
09:45 – 11:45
(No. 22 UN Agenda – link)
·         OECD OSG/PCD &  Italy
·         Lapo Pistelli, Italian Minister for Development Co-operation
·         Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development
·         Ann-Sofie Nilsson, Swedish Director-General for International Development Co-operation
·         Winifred Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International
·         Private sector representative
·         Dev country representative
Voice, agency and participation – intimate strategy session – Clinton Global Initiative
(Not in UN Agenda)
·         World Bank
·         TBC
11:30 – 13:00
Tackling the unfinished business: Accelerating MDG progress
·         UNDP & World Bank
·         Heads of State
·         Ministers
13:15 – 14:30
Multidimensional Poverty and Multidimensional Measurement
of the Post-2015 development agenda
(No. 25 UN Agenda)
·         Germany, Colombia,  Mexico &  Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI)
·         President Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia (TBC)
·         Sabina Alkire, Director, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (confirmed)
·         Gonzalo Hernandez Licona, Executive Secretary of CONEVAL, Mexico
·         Bruce Mac Master, Minister of Social Development, Colombia
·         Arssenio Balisacan, Minister Socio-economic Planning, Philippines
·         Shamsuddeen  Usman, Minister of Planning of Nigeria
·         Gudrum Kopp, Parliamentary Secretary of State Germany
·         Representative from UNDP
·         Representative from World Bank
13:00 – 14:30
Side event “The Right to Education in the Post 2015 Development Agenda”
(No. 56 UN Agenda)
·         Global Campaign for education, Education international Universal Peace Federation,  OAFLA & First Ladies Community Initiative
·         TBC
13:15 – 14:45
Side event of the Leading Group on innovative financing for development :
Innovative financing for development :
what role in the means of implementation of the post-2015 Development Agenda ?
(No. 20 UN Agenda)
·         Leading Group on Inovative Financing for Development (FFD)
·         President Francois Hollande
·         Mr Philippe Douste,Blazy UN USG UNDESA  Innovative Financing for Development
·         Mr Alfredo Moreno, Minister of External Affairs – Chile
·         Mr. Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissionner Dvp
·         Mr. Pascal Canfin, minister of Development, France
·         Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor to the UNSG on post-2015
·         Heidi Hautaula, Min of Internat Dev, Finland
·         Rebecca Grynspan, Deputy Admin UNDP
·         President of the Leading Group (Nigeria rep)
·         Mr. Mark Suzman (MD of International Policy and Advocacy, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
·         + more
15:00 – 17:00
Réunion de Haut Niveau sur les OMD – L’Afrique au-delà de 2015 : Quels objectifs pour quel modèle de développement
(No. 26 UN Agenda)
·         Morocco
·         TBC
14:00 – 16:00
MDG 2013 Countdown – girls and women transforming societies
(Not in UN Agenda)
·         Ford Foundation
·         TBC
15:30 – 18:00
OECD Side Event – Global Partnership for Effective Development –
Domestic resource mobilisation within a future global partnership for development
(No. 27 UN Agenda)
·         United Kingdom, Indonesia &  Nigeria
·         Minister Ngozi
·         Minister Meade
·         Mr. Thabo Mbeki
·         Director-General Ortega
·         Zeinab Badawi (TBC Moderator)
·         Others TBC
Wednesday 25th September
All Day (09:00 – 18:00)
UNGA President Special Event on MDGs and post-2015
08:00 – 09:45
The Power of Numbers
(No. 28 UN Agenda)
·         Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation – Sweden, Colombia & Sweden
·         TBC
08:00 – 09:30
Looking to 2015 and beyond: The role for anti-corruption and governance
(No. 33 UN Agenda)
·         UNDP, UNODC & Transparency International
·         Panel TBC
·         Director general of SIDA
·         Assistant Secretary General of UNOHCHR
8:30 – 10:30
Women delivering development:  integrating women, reproductive health and environmental issues into the post-2015 agenda, sustainable development goals and FP2020
(No. 64 UN Agenda)
·         Center for Environment and Population
·         TBC
09:30 – 11:00
High-Level Ministerial Meeting on the Humanitarian Crisis in Central African Republic and the International Response
(Not in UN Agenda)
·         OCHA
·         France
·         EU
·         Ms. Valerie Amos, Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
·         Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for Internatioal Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response
·         Others
10:30 – 13:00
UNGA President Special Event on MDGS and post-2015 – Roundtable 2
·         President of UNGA
·         Ireland
·         South Africa
·         Roundtable 2 Co-Chairs:
·         Prime Minster Bangladesh
·         Deputy Prime Minster Ireland
·         UN Member States
·         Observers
·         NGOs etc
10:30 – 13:30
The voices of people living in poverty in the post-2015 agenda: Inclusion, participation and dignity
(No. 60 UN Agenda)
·         Caritas Internationalis, CAFOD and Trocaire
·         TBC
11:00 – 13:00
Global Education First Initiative Anniversary Event: Learning for All High-Level Meeting on Coordinating the Financing and Delivery of Education
(Not in UN Agenda)
13:15 – 14:45
Freedom from violence for every woman and girl
(Not in UN Agenda)
·         Finland, Liberia, UN Women
·         TBC
13:00 – 15:00
Tackling Water Risks to Secure a Sustainable Future Ministerial Lunch
(No. 31 UN Agenda)
·         Switzerland,  Netherlands,  Colombia,  UNSGAB & World Water Council
·         Michel Jarraud, Chair of UN-Water and Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization
·         Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (tbc)
·         Didier Burkhalter, Vice-President and Foreign Minister of Switzerland
·         Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands
·         Patti Londoño, Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs of Colombia
·         Juanita Castaño, member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation
·         Benedito Braga, President of the World Water Council
13:15 – 14:45
Effectiveness and accountability in the post-2015 development agenda – lessons from the MDG experience
(No. 30 UN Agenda)
·         UNDESA Germany
·         TBC
Note: The side event will publicly launch the preparations for the DCF Germany High-level Symposium, on “Accountable and effective development cooperation in a post-2015 era” (Berlin, March 2014)
15:30 – 17:00
Deauville Foreign Ministers Meeting
(Not in UN Agenda)
·         United Kingdom
·         TBC
12:00 – 15:00
A Transformative agenda for sustainable development in Nigeria and Africa: Lessons, actions and emerging perspectives
(No. 34 UN Agenda)
·         Nigeria
·         TBC
18:00 – 20:00
Global Education First Initiative Reception and Launch of the Learning Metrics Task Force Report
(Not in UN Agenda)
·         Center for Universal Education at Brookings and Partners
·         TBC
18:15 – 20:00
MY World Partner Recognition Event and Award Ceremony
(No. 36 Un Agenda)
·         MY World Team (UN Millennium Campaign, UNDP, ODI),  United Nations Volunteers, United Nations Foundation, UNICEF & M&C Saatchi
·         Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Special Advisor of the United Nations Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning
·         Mr. Richard Dictus Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme
·         Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah
·         (Other) Members of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons
Thursday 26 September
10:00 – 12:00
(No. 46 UN Agenda)
·         Philippines National Economic and Development Authority &  OECD/PARIS21
·         Arsenio M. Balisacan, Secretary Socioeconomic Planning, Philippines
·         Jose Ramon Albert, National Statistics Coordination Board, Phillipines
·         Neil Fantom, Manager, World Bank Open Data Initiative
·         Chris Gingerich, Deputy Director, Data and Analytics, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
·         Judith Randel, Exec Director, Development Initiatives
·         World Bank
·         Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
·         Development Initiatives
13:15 – 14:45
Ensure stable, secure and resilient societies in the Post-2015 Development Agenda
(No. 42 UN Agenda)
·         Finland,  Guatemala,  UNDP,  PBSO, UNICEF, Timor Leste, UN PBSO, Saferworld & IEP
·         H.E. Heidi Hautala, Minister for International Development of Finland
·         Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),
·         H.E. José Luís Guterres, Minister of State and of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste
·         Representative of the Government of Rwanda
·         Ms. Ekaterina Parrilla, Secretary for Planning and Programming, Guatemala
·         Mr. Vasu Gounden, Executive Director, The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
Friday 27 September
08:30 – 14:30
Global Development after 2015: The Role of Foundations and Civil Society
(No. 44 UN Agenda)-Link
·         UNDP,  Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation (in collaboration with WINGS, OECD netFWD and EFC)
·         Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation
·         Heather Grady, Vice President, Rockefeller Foundation
·         Others TBC

We look forward to keeping you informed!

Wikiprogress Team

How to engineer a “data revolution”? The OECD’s view on post-2015 goals monitoring

This post, written by the OECD’s Charlotte Demuijnck, provides an overview of the OECD’s input on target measurements in the post-2015 development framework and agenda. The OECD paperStrengthening National Statistical Systems to Monitor Global Goals on post-2015 goals monitoring is the fifth thematic paper in series which outlines the Organisation’s position on the global debate in the lead up to the UN 68th General Assembly which begins on Tuesday, 17 September 2013. This post is part of the Wikiprogress Post-2015 series.

The paper is the fifth in a series of OECD’s contributions to the post-2015 agenda. It proposes steps needed for efficient tracking of the post-2015 development goals. Despite the positive impact the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) process has had on the production and availability of data, as well as on the development of national statistical capacity, the paper highlights the need to agree on a better statistical strategy to overcome the remaining challenges for post-2015 monitoring.
As emphasised in the paper, the MDG process has significantly helped at improving national statistical capacities. Countries have risen to the challenge of delivering high quality, internationally comparable data, mainly using household surveys. As the paper states: “the average number of surveys produced each year in Ethiopia and Ghana almost doubled since 2000”. In addition to domestic funds, development co-operation was a significant driving force in this improvement. Ghana, for example, relies entirely on external support for data production.
However, some issues remain for proper tracking of the post-2015 agenda such as gaps in the data collection and analysis, as well as the exclusion and under-utilisation of national data in the MDG monitoring process. Apart from household surveys, other sources of MDG monitoring have not been sufficiently developed.As a matter of fact, only 6% of Sub-Saharan countries have complete civil registration systems and about 250 million people are missing from existing surveys. According to the authors, inadequate and under-investment in assistance for data production explains the gaps in MDG data. Another issue is that of the exclusion of national data from the global monitoring exercise leading to huge discrepancies between UN-reported data and national estimates. This has become more problematic as Murray*, among others, has questioned the validity of UN estimates and methodologies. The paper explains that the under-use of national data is due to non-compliance with international standards and poor co-ordination. To solve this issue, “better alignment of national and international efforts to strengthen statistical capacity” is recommended. In this regard, prior consultation and nationally-defined indicators should drive the post-2015 monitoring process.
 A quote from the PARIS21 webpage
Acknowledging the call for a “data revolution” by the High Level panel (HLP) of Eminent Persons onthe post-2015 development goals, the paper emphasises the OECD’s expertise and experience in creating a global statistical strategy and partnership. Indeed, the OECD, and more specifically, the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) offers a ready-made structure on  which to found this global statistical strategy. PARIS21 was mandated to act as the Secretariat for the implementation of the Busan Action Plan for Statistics (BAPS) in 2013, a global initiative to support National Strategies for the Development of Statistics(NSDSs). Several recommendations are given to support the “data revolution”. First, the post-2015 statistical strategy should include more data sources such as the use of mobile technology, social media etc. It should also aim at developing national statistical capacity for more reliable and relevant data in the monitoring process. In this regard, the BAPS represents “an explicit and high-level political commitment” to prioritise national statistics development. Finally, the HLP also recommends the creation of a Global Partnership on Development Data for which, according to the paper, “the logical starting point” would be PARIS21 – as the only international initiative for inclusive data co-operation.
For more information on the side event:
In conclusion, the post-2015 agenda needs to rely on existing initiatives and framework for an effective “data revolution” and global goals monitoring. To that end, the paper supports the OECD’s position as the Best Supporting Actor in the global development debate, with its highly valuable expertise and experience.  
– Charlotte Demuijnck
*Murray, C.J. (2007), “Towards good practice for health statistics: Lessons from the Millennium Development Goals health indicators,” The Lancet, 3/369, pp. 862-873.

Zambia: What Comes After Universal Primary Education?

During the month of September 2013, Wikiprogress and networks are focusing on ‘Education and Skills‘, building upon ‘International Literacy Day’ on 8 September 2013. This blog post, written by Global VoicesGershom Ndhlovu, discuses education in Zambia as well as what the OECD proposes for post-2015 education goals.
Looking at African literacy rate rankings shared by The African Economist last month, 37 of Africa’s 52 countries now score above 50 percent, while 17 countries now score above 70 percent.
For a continent that is ranked the poorest to have such relatively high scores, there is hope that education and literacy levels could keep soaring with sustained efforts after the 2015 deadline passes for achieving eight UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including universal primary education.
Certainly Zambia, which ranks 17th in Africa with just over 80 percent literacy levels, could climb the ladder if the current efforts of government, non-governmental organisations and individuals to improve education bear fruit.
Despite educational advances and an increase in the number of universities in Zambia, the lower education ladder is still problematic with many pupils failing to move up in the educational system.
School, and then what?
An OECD paper outlining recommendations on education for a post-2105 development framework suggests that educational targets and measurements are important once more universal access to primary and secondary schools has been achieved. The OECD notes that despite gains in school enrolment and attendance around the world since the MDGs were launched in 2000, many young people still leave school without the knowledge and skills they need to find jobs and thrive.
In Zambia last year, around 60,000 pupils failed grade seven out of 337,706 who sat for the exams.
Commenting on a story about grade seven results in the Lusaka Times, a reader, Chongo B.C, wrote:
The grade seven results for 2012 have been very impressive as compared to the past years. This has been a tremendous improvement. However,the Government through the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Childhood should make sure that it provides adequate classrooms for these pupils to learn effectively. Above all, it should reduce the pupil-teacher ratio in classrooms in order to provide conducive learning environment. This will ensure quality education and productive citizens who will be useful in the society.
Another reader, Xhoisan X questioned one of the most touted policies by successive governments:
Please educate me. I was made to understand that Zambia now has compulsory education up to secondary school. So what are these results [the education minister] is announcing?
While the primary school progression rate may look bad, it is the sieve at grade nine that sends the most pupils into the wilderness. According to the Times of Zambia, only 100,824 candidates passed out of the 291,018 who sat for the examinations in 2012.
There are a number of factors that affects pupil progression to higher education but the biggest problem appears to be lack of classroom space at the lower levels with a teacher/pupil ratio in Zambia of 1 to 63 for 2011 according to the World Bank.
The government has embarked on building more classroom space at primary, secondary and tertiary levels to absorb as many pupils and students as possible. Opening a school in rural Zambia last year, President Michael Sata said:
Our aspiration is to put together a well-organized, valuable and reliable public education system through substantial investments in educational infrastructure. As Government we have an obligation to structure and shape the future of our general populace, particularly the younger citizens, who constitute a greater part of our population.
President Sata also laid out his government’s plans to build the universities in an inaugural speech to parliament in 2011, and he has so far commissioned the construction of Palabana University, formerly a dairy training institute, Chalimbana University, formerly a teacher in-service training school, and Robert Makasa Univesity, formerly Lubwa Mission. These new universities will exist in addition to three existing public universities, University of Zambia, Copperbelt University and Mulungushi University.
Although the government is making an effort, there are many challenges that make gaining access to education impossible for many people, among them the severe poverty that afflicts many households.
Looking to the future
As the OECD notes, while the importance of universal access to primary education would be retained, a post 2015 education-related goal is likely to incorporate the secondary education level and include a stronger focus on learning. The OECD itself supports a Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) where countries can measure results in comparison with one another.
While its not clear what the Zambian government would do to meet such standards, at least infrastructurally a start has been made. The construction of primary and secondary schools would ideally match the level at which public universities are being created, coupled with the training and recruitment of more teachers.
At the individual level, realising the predicament of children from poverty-stricken homes, a Zambian living in the United States, Isabella Mukanda Shamambo, has established an education centre called Beyond Universal Primary Education for All going by the acronym, BUPE (meaning “gift” in some Zambian languages). Introducing the project on the Community Prayer Centers website, she writes:
The near success of one of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals has left a generation of kids with 7th grade education roaming the streets of many major cities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, the need has arisen for a universal Secondary education which most cannot afford. Kids roam the street of Ndola [city in Zambia] selling plastic bag in the hope of going back to 8th grade. Others wander the streets, hope of a better future completely lost.
The most progressive policy the Zambian government announced in 2012 were plans to upgrade 1,570 so-called community schools which are run mostly by NGOs to cater for vulnerable groups from poorer areas of urban and peri-urban areas. This is likely to help contribute to the attainment of MDGs and beyond.
Optimistically speaking, with the achievement of universal primary education around the corner, in Zambia in particular and Africa in general, we should prepare to take a confident leap beyond the 2015 Millennium Development Goals to focus on improving the curriculum and promote higher levels of learning.
This post is part of a series by Global Voices bloggers for the OECD engaging with post-2015 ideas for development worldwide. The OECD is not responsible for the content in these posts.
See the Wikiprogress post-2015 portal for more on this topic.
Creative Commons License

Written by Gershom Ndhlovu

This post first appeared 22 July, 2013 on the Global Voices blog.

What Should International Development Look Like After 2015?

This blog post, written by Global Voices‘ Ayesha Saldanha, is part of the Wikiprogress Series on Post-2015. It gives an overview of the Millennium Development Goals, the discussion around the new development framework, and what the OECD suggests for Post-2015.
In 2000, the member states of the United Nations made a historic commitment to achieve eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. The MDGs focus on some of the world’s most pressing development issues, such as poverty, gender, health and basic literacy. With 2015 fast approaching, a conversation has started about what progress has been made, and what still needs to be done. What should the post-2015 goals be?
The MDGs are: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality rates; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and developing a global partnership for development.
Progress so far has been uneven, both between regions and countries, and within countries.
In May 2013 the United Nation’s High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP) presented its recommendations for global development priorities beyond 2015. These have been greeted with both praise and criticism.
On Twitter the hashtag #post2015 is being used to debate the post-2015 development agenda.
On his blog, Matt Andrews of Harvard’s Kennedy School questions whether developing new goals is worth it:
As groups meet to develop post-2015 MDGs I ask: What were the MDGs meant to achieve? Did they achieve this? What evidence is there? Does the evidence really support having post-2015 global goals and targets? Or should we just focus on growth…
Economists Richard Kozul-Wright and Jayati Ghosh write at the Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog:
Making inequality part of the development policy agenda has already gained traction. But to make lasting progress, it will be necessary to move beyond MDG-style targets and instead consider a global new deal allowing different economic strategies providing benefits for all.
Image from UN Millennium Development Goals Facebook page.
Image from UN Millennium Development Goals Facebook page.
It has been argued that a key weakness in the MDGs was that they were written without the participation of the people whose lives they were meant to improve. As Megan Williams of the Australian Council for International Development notes at Make Poverty History Australia:
Over 15 years ago, a group of people sat in a room at the United Nations and imagined what it would take to eradicate extreme poverty, and in what time frame it could be achieved. Without much outside consultation they presented eight Millennium Development Goals to the world, which in the years following, galvanised popular action, were written on billboards, marched through streets and painted on buildings. […] This time instead of being locked in a room discussing what comes next, the conversation is spilling over into boardrooms, parliaments and communities around the world.
This video posted on YouTube by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) shows how the UN gathered the opinions of people around the world to present to the HLP :
Indonesian student Andhyta Utami (@Afutami) has uploaded a presentation offering a young person’s perspective of the post-2015 agenda.
At the Local First blog, John Coonrod of The Hunger Project comments:
In the year 2000, world leaders created the Millennium Development Goals – eight time-bound goals to significantly cut poverty in all its forms. MDGs such as access to pre-school, primary education, good nutrition, safe water and sanitation all require effective local governance. Yet very little was done to “localize” the MDGs.
Coonrod then lists ten priority actions he believes the world community should take to ensure that the post-2015 agenda adheres to the principles of “Local First”, including investing in grassroots civil society and guaranteeing that women’s voices are heard.
Chudi Ukpabi, a international development consultant, focuses on Africa in a blog post at The Broker:
Tackling issues like poverty, inequality, food security, water security and environmental degradation will remain necessary for international development after the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015. It is my contention that – in the upcoming decades – African countries will need to define and bring their own priorities in terms of social, economic, cultural and political issues, into the debate.
Also at The Broker, Saskia Hollander responds to the HLP report:
It is all too easy to be fooled by rhetoric. Despite its promising transformative discourse, the HLP falls short of recognizing and tackling the economic and political power structures that hamper the desired transformative shifts.
And Indian campaign Wada Na Todo Abhiyan expresses its concerns:
We commend the Panel for their efforts to reach out to a diverse set of stakeholders and make the process participatory, which was a point of discontent with the way the current MDGs were formulated, and appreciate parts of its intent but also have some serious concerns around the fundamentals of the Report. At a glance, the huge shift as the Report states is of “partnership”, i.e. of turning to the private sector as well as civil society “within market principles”, making us quite worried and wary. Further, this big shift comes without a clear articulation of corporate accountability; it is limited to government “prompting” the multinationals, suggestions for companies to internally strengthen their mechanisms, “integrated reporting” and corporations being accountable to their shareholders (which they anyway are).
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which helped to develop the MDGs, is calling for a development agenda not only aimed at the global and universal level, but also at the national level with specific targets adapted to the capacities of countries. It has summarised this two-level approach:
1. Level one: Establish a small set of global goals reflecting universally-agreed outcomes.
2. Level two: Each country translates the global goals into specific targets and indicators which reflect their specific level of development, context, responsibility and capacity. They should also include equality dimensions including gender equity and, where possible, make full use of data disaggregated by sex.
Acknowledging that the world has changed since the MDGs were formulated, the OECD has focused on eleven elements to help adapt to the new realities.
On his blog, Dan Smith of International Alert calls for the debate to continue:
My worry is that the positions taken in the HLP report, more than two years before the UN General Assembly votes through the new development goals, will be about as comprehensive and nuanced as official position-taking will get. From here, I would expect positions to narrow, to lose their challenge and depth while gaining in technocratic legitimacy. Accordingly, it seems time the debate gets properly under way so that doesn’t happen.
This post is part of a series by Global Voices bloggers for the OECD engaging with post-2015 ideas for development worldwide. The OECD is not responsible for the content in these posts.

This post first appeared 9 July, 2013 on the Global Voices blog.


What can OECD’s PISA bring to global education post-2015?

This post by Charlotte Demuijnck, provides an overview of the OECD’s input on education in the post-2015 development framework and agenda. The OECD post-2015 paper on educationis the first thematic paper in a series which outlines the Organisation’s position on the global debate in the lead up to the UN General Assembly in September 2013. This blog is part of the Wikiprogress series on education.*
The OECD’s contribution on education to the post-2015 framework: PISA for development is the second in a series of contributions to the post-2015 agenda. This paper provides a brief overview of progress to date with the education-related MDGs and looks forward to what global education goals could look like beyond 2015.
Building on the success of the universal access in primary schooling since the establishment of the MDGs, the emerging consensus of the international community on the post-2015 agenda is that education-related goals and targets should remain included in the post-2015 framework. As a matter of fact, the UN High Level Panel report released in May 2013 advises that one of the next universal goals be “Provide Quality Education and Lifelong Learning”. In this regard, the paper on education reflects the Organisation’s converging views towards this consensus. In fact, the OECD’s true contribution to the debate lies in its innovative and efficient approach to forming future education goals, which are both qualitative and measurable.
As emphasised in the Education paper, “experience since 2000 has underlined that schooling doesn’t necessarily produce learning” (p. 1). Although important progress has been made towards the education-related MDGs, challenges remain strong. The paper gives two directions for the post-2015 agenda: the new development agenda should focus on the quality of learning and should shift focus from primary to secondary education. However, such perspective requires dealing with issues of regional inequalities and statistical capacities at the national level, problems which were not sufficiently tackled in the pre-2015 framework. To that effect, the OECD expertise and policy instruments constitute a substantial input.
Particularly relevant is the Programme for International Student Assessment(PISA), which started in 2000 and is based on a qualitative and causal approach to education outcomes. As intelligibly detailed in the paper, PISA addresses both “cognitive and non-cognitive learning outcomes”. As such, it provides “the most comprehensive and rigorous international assessment of learning outcomes in education” through the testing of 500 million 15 year-old students from both developed and developing countries. As a matter of fact, more and more developing countries like China or India “have expressed an interest [in PISA], following the successful participation of a large number of middle-income countries in previous PISA cycles” (p. 3).

As explained in the paper, “PISA for development” translates the ways in which PISA could become a performing tool in defining realistic and achievable goals in the post-2015 agenda. Based on lessons from PISA, “PISA for development” will help define “how to measure learning, the likely pace of progress towards achieving  a learning goal,” as well as how to avoid setting over-ambitious learning goals  and targets.
More importantly, PISA for development has concrete benefits for the post-2015 education-related goals and targets: as a single world reference, this OECD policy instrument is a comparable, credible and robust measure of progress for educational quality and equity at the global level. Precisely, PISA for development can help identify the world’s top performing and most equitable education systems. It offers developing countries insights for personalised reforms and is a driver for improved instutions and capacity building.
All in all, this paper reflects the OECD’s pioneered position in the education field and the ways in which the Organisation can bring cutting edge ideas and efficient policy instruments to support more equitable and higher levels of learning in the world. Throughout the paper, the reader can see the OECD’s firm commitment to contribute to the global debate on future education and the ways it intends to do so. 
Charlotte Demuijnck

*Education and Skills will be the Wikiprogress focus in September 2013. If you would like to contribute a blog or an article on education, please contact

WIR Africa: land grabs; FGM/C; MDG Report; tropical disease

This Week-in-Review is part of the Wikiprogress Series on its Networks, highlighting Wikiprogress Africa.

Hello everyone and welcome to another Africa-themed review of progress articles, reports and initiatives. Among this week’s highlights:
  • Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity. This World Bank publication on land administration and reform in Sub-Saharan Africa provides simple practical steps to turn the hugely controversial subject of “land grabs” into a development opportunity. Poor land governance perpetuates and traps people into poverty, according to the report, which stipulates a ten point program to scale up policy reforms and investments in a way mutually beneficial to land owners and investors.
  • Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change by UNICEF shows that female genital mutilation/cutting is a declining phenomenon globally. Teenage girls are less likely to have been cut than older women in more than half of the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where it is concentrated. The paper identifies intriguing trends in who is performing the cutting, the severity of it and people’s attitudes toward it. Extracting data from the report, the Guardian produced an interactive map of female genital mutilation/cutting, showing where in the world it is most prevalent and what the main variations are between countries. 
See video below on FGM/C in the Côte d’Ivoire.
Romina Rodrigue Pose, one of the authors, highlights the main points of the report in this blog post 
and shares her personal experience of the field research through this slideshow (below).

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
  • The Skoll World Forum asked a handful of speakers their reflections about the timely issues in international development and how they can be addressed. Among them, Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist of the AfDB, states in this post how governance and country ownership are important for development progress. He argues that there is consensus that good governance should build on effective states, mobilising civil society and efficient private sectors – three factors which are critical for sustained development.
  • How Africa’s natural resources can lift millions out of poverty. In this article, Caroline Kende-Robb, Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel report, bases her points on the recently released Africa Progress Report 2013: Equity in Extractives. Shestates that natural resources can lift millions of African out of poverty through transparency in the concession deals, tackling tax avoidance and evasion, and inclusion of citizens in the decision-making process. The revenues of these natural resources when spent on education, health and job-creating policies can sensibly improve the quality of life of individuals, as was the case with Botswana, which passed from a poor to stable, democratic and upper middle-income country in 40 years.

We hope you enjoyed this review. Stay tuned the same time next week for another read on the week that was.
Yours in progress,

MDG implementation in the time distance perspective: Gaptimer Progress Chart

 This blog, written by Professor Pavle Sicherl, discusses the importance of transparent and easily understood statistical measures and presents the Time Distance as an appropriate measuring method. The blog is an update of a previous publication in The Guardian and is part of the Wikiprogress Post-2015 Series.

On July 1 UNDP issued in New York the new MDG Report 2013. The new Report brings two positive messages: it has new additional data and a brighter picture. For additional understanding, we present the MDG implementation in the time distance perspective (using data from this Report) that could be useful also for the post-2015 agenda.
While setting sensible goals and providing data about implementation are both necessary preconditions for any post-2015 interventions, we also need statistical measures that are transparent and easily understood by everyone. Time distance is a novel statistical measure that complements rather than replaces other methods, useful especially as descriptive measure for benchmarking and monitoring. Measuring implementation with time distance has the advantage that it is intuitively understandable to policymakers, civil society, experts, media, and the general public.
UNDP Report 2013 in the two page summary overview started the first sentence on the first indicator: ‘The world reached the poverty reduction target five years ahead of schedule.’ The first row of the Gaptimer MDG Progress Chart also shows that the 2015 poverty reduction targets have already been achieved even earlier in three world regions (also China was an excellent performer with time lead of even 13 years, reaching the 2015 target in 2002). This is an update of the publication in The Guardian based on the older data from the 2012 MDG report.
 Gaptimer Progress Chart of MDG implementation for world regions
Are we on the track, ahead or behind in time measured by S-time-distance in years
(+ time lag, – time lead) comparing with the line to the 2015 MDG targets around 2011

Source: Own calculations based on data from UN, The Millennium Development Report 2013, New York

© P. Sicherl, 2013

Monitoring implementation with time distance deviation is like comparing train or bus arrivals with the respective timetables. In the context of the MDGs, it amounts to comparing the time of actual implementation with the time stipulated by the schedule to the 2015 target. We are therefore measuring the gap in time. For time distance methodology see my working paper on OECD Statistics Directorate publication. The Gaptimer statistical chart above uses the same identifiers as Formula 1 on TV: minus at time distance and green colour signify that one is ahead in time, and plus at time distance with red colour that one is lagging in time at the chosen point. The point is to ascertain if the developing world is on track, ahead, or behind schedule to achieving MDG goals.

In general the Gaptimer MDG Progress Chart presents in a single table at a glance results for 100 cases across 10 MDG indicators and 10 units (7 world regions, Developing Regions, China, and India) expressed in time lead or time lag providing stories of the situation from the novel time perspective. There are many green colour fields indicating cases where targets have been reached or indicators are ahead of the line to target, to show the many positive developments in the developing countries. The situation differs among the world regions, but the overall situation shows that the number of cases ahead of the line to target (21+15) is exceeding the number of cases behind (18+14). In absolute terms progress has been made in all selected indicators and in all world regions (though it has been quite uneven across regions as well as across countries within the regions). Furthermore, for countries with delays the application of the overall MDG targets at the regional and national cases may be unrealistic. With respect to the percentage of available country cases when the 2015 target was already achieved the values are very similar: 48% of countries cases of 5 selected indicators from all 8 MDG areas were ahead of the line to target. In about 7% of available cases no progress was registered.
Summary of country results for 5 indicators over developing regions around 2011
Source: Own calculations based on data from UN,, 2013, New York
© P. Sicherl, 2013

For more detailed analysis, below we provide Excel files of results of time distances in which time lead or time lag from the line to the respective MDG 2015 targets are shown for 112-137 developing countries respectively for the five selected indicators. This monitoring method can be applied much more widely. Firstly, world regions can be exchanged with countries, regions within countries, or socio-economic groups, sectors, etc. Secondly, units could be products of an enterprise, budget activities or operational projects, etc., and with e.g. relevant KPIs as horizontal entries.

EXCEL FILES of S-time-distances for selected developing countries:
The telling power of the time distance is very relevant to see the reality better. There is a strong case that in the post-2015 agenda we will need in addition to some overall targets also targets at the national levels in selected fields, and with the extension to national level importance of the time distance method will grow significantly. Easily understandable time distance measure helps to interpret information at many macro and micro levels for decision making, strengthening the capacity of decision-makers to understand what is really happening and to encourage broader participation.
Pavle Sicherl is Founder of Sicenter (Socio-economic Indicators Center) and professor of economics at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.,

For more details about the Gaptimer progress chart of the MDG Report 2013 Implementation, read this article