At the 2000 UN Millennium Summit, the largest ever gathering of world leaders pledged to work together to help the world’s poorest people. They agreed on a set of targets that became known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The deadline they set themselves to meet these was 31 December 2015. With just over two years until the MDGs expire, how much progress has been made and what should happen next?
There have of course been successes: the world has already met the first MDG target of halving the world’s population living in extreme poverty (on less than USD 1.25 per day). But 1.2 billion people are still living in extreme poverty and vulnerability remains high. At the same time, problems in measuring poverty present barriers to effective policy making. Progress has also been uneven – not all countries, regions, age groups, social sectors or genders have benefited equally from the advances that have been made. The truth is, the quality of life has not improved for all.
This December, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will launch their new report on Ending Poverty. To coincide with this, Intelligence Squared will host a panel of experts to discuss the key issues that the report raises. How should we measure poverty? What can we learn from local solutions for tackling poverty? How can the fast progress made by middle-income countries like China provide lessons for Africa? How can we be “smarter” about how we use aid flows? How do we ensure that the next set of goals will be not just about “getting to zero” poverty, but about staying there?
On 5 December, thought-leaders from the world’s leading development think tanks, the OECD, academia and civil society offered different perspectives on these questions, and discussed what needs to be done to end poverty after 2015.