First World Countries have an ever-expanding need to broad their trading markets and to that purpose they invest in emerging economies. They create a link which allows them to import raw goods and the odd regional product but the main goal is to have exclusivity in a steady market which they can regulate, monopolize services, numerous exports and government contracts. Through different initiatives, those governments show their goodwill but also let know how short sighted their vision is about the issue (Robinson. L, William 2004).

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Developing initiatives in the third world have failed continuously, decade after decade. The interventionist approach where NGO’s, intergovernmental agencies and charities aid in numerous affairs in the Third World has lead to all sort of outcomes but the one they are aiming for. The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is one of those initiatives (Saith, Ashwani 2006). They were not directly developed from the Millennium Declaration but from different conferences and meetings around the globe like the International World Summit for Children in 1990, the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, the Fourth World Conference for Women in 1995 and so on. The goals were declared fully in 2000 with the complete enunciation in a report jointly issued by the UN, the OECD, World Bank and IMF but due to a general criticism towards its unilateralism, they got the support of the US government and other organizations in the private sector that joined via partnerships (Saith Ashwan 2006).

What was a wish list from a club of the superrich, started to gain momentum but its implementation through the setting of monitored targets by the UN and its partners would not be effective enough. Countries with emerging economies and large budgets (such as the BRICs) had a chance to use these targets as tools but to a great number of nations, the setting of those goals was just of little use. The indicators used to measure poverty were of continuous discussions at every level. The measure of 1 U$ per day was declared absurd and narrow minded to begin with since it does not take into account the differences between local economies. Going into specific categories like Education, the report was focusing on Primary School enrollment and not taking into account drop-out rates, investment per student, gender equality to name a few(Avant, Deborah. Finnemore, S. 2010). The design of the report and its quantitative indicators was considered myopic and not qualitative at all. Going even further, the origins of the figures of the targets were unclear and the way to collect and update the data was even more confusing. Some countries and organizations managed to feed unreal information or even worst, deviate resources from their original destination just to reach those targets like in China or India were vast amounts of money were spent in populations near to the poverty line in order for them to cross it, thus leaving aside the ones that have crossed it already or the ones who had no chance to do so in the near future (Wilkinson, R. Hulme, D. 2013)

Despite its series of failures at every level, from methodological, statistic and even to the political ones, the MDG achieved something unquantifiable: it put on the spotlight of the global scene in a very clear and organized way the high levels on world inequality. It set up a reminder in the already evident and broke it down into categories. Sometimes, the daily cycles numbs the perception in our society and the MDGs were a reminder about pressing matters. The main question is where to go from now on.

Julian Betancur.

Ashwani Saith (2006) ‘From Universal Values to Millennium Development Goals: Lost in Translation’ Development and Change Vol. 37, No. 6, pp. 1167-1199

Avant, D. Finnemore, S. (2010) Governs the Globe? Cambridge University Press.

Robinson L, William. (2004) ‘Globalisation as Epochal Change in World Capitalism’, A Theory of Global Capitalism: Production, Class and State in a Transnational World, Johns Hopkins)

Wilkinson, R. Hulme, D (2013)The Millennium Development Goals and Beyond: Global Development after 2015, Routledge.


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