World leaders must heed calls for bold development goals, says UNDP chief

24 Sep 13
Decent public services and more ‘honest and effective’ governments are among the outcomes people want from the next set of development goals, United Nations Development Programme administrator Helen Clark has told a UN summit

By | 24 September 2013

Decent public services and more ‘honest and effective’ governments are among the outcomes people want from the next set of development goals, United Nations Development Programme administrator Helen Clark has told a UN summit.

She urged member states to act on calls for a more ambitious set of development goals for the post-2015 period.

Speaking at the three-day social good summit in New York yesterday, Clark, who also chairs the UN’s development group, presented the findings of the global survey.

With the UN’s anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals due to expire in 2015, work is underway to define and develop a new set of aspirations for the period to 2030. The A million voices report forms part of this work.

More than 300,000 people across 88 countries participated in face-to-face meetings for the research, and a further 1 million in 190 countries responded to the My World survey. Particular efforts were made to capture the voices of women and excluded groups such as indigenous people, children, displaced people and people with disabilities.

A key message emerging from the exercise was the desire for a more ambitious agenda beyond 2015, which more ‘fully reflects shared principles of equality, accountability, security and sustainability’, Clark said.

‘People ask that we learn from and build on the existing goals. They call for a greater emphasis on the quality of basic services – not just access to them.’

She went on: ‘In almost all countries… people called for more honest and effective government, and for a say in the decisions which affect them.

‘They want governments which can deliver decent public services, manage natural resources sustainably and fairly, and facilitate peace and security. Participants from every region have in the global My World survey, consistently ranked honest and responsive government among their highest priorities.’

Clark also noted that people wanted to see actions to tackle factors that damage the global economy such as illicit financial flows and the toleration of tax havens.

But people who participated in the UN survey did not want their involvement to stop there.

‘They want to continue to have a say, to ensure that their views are taken into account, to monitor the real-time progress in their countries, and to hold their governments accountable for results,’ said Clark.

‘The have called for a revolution in data – so that regularly updated, reliable and disaggregated data is available about their communities, countries and world. They see a data revolution as the foundation for an accountability revolution.’

Addressing a high-level panel convened to consider the A million voices report, Clark urged UN member states to turn their hopes into action.

She said: ‘By listening and responding to these voices, UN member states can chart new territory – generating the kind of public ownership which could turn the world’s aspirations into action through an agenda monitored and championed by the people to whom it matters most.’

The findings of the report were also presented to world leaders during the 68th UN General Assembly.

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