In 2002, 191 United Nations member states signed the United Nations Millennium Declaration, unanimously agreeing to eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The momentum and inspiration behind this occasion was strong, heads of state were agreeing to a global dream that included a range of ambitions from achieving environmental sustainability to reducing the diseases that plague the third-world. It would be hard for someone to say that these are not "beautiful goals, but at the same time it is hard for even Jeffery Sachs, the head developer of the MDG action plan, to state that all eight MDGs will be achieved by the world's deadline of 2015. For this reason, Tony Blair called for "a big, big push forward" in Africa to reach the MDGs.2 However, what has instead resulted is a growing pessimism. In their Human Development Report 2004, top UN researchers, the backbone of the goals themselves, warned that at current rates of "progress" sub-Saharan Africa would not reach most MDGs until well into the twenty-second century.
[...] But, a lack of accountability results in limited effort for a push.” If we look back at history, William Easterly suggests that other goals, set by UN summits in 1977 and 1990, failed because of lack of accountability.2 Easterly blames collective responsibility and believes that "when the goals are not attained, no one agent can be held accountable. This weakens the incentive of any one agent to break its neck to reach the goals."5 Although Easterly blames aid agencies for their dysfunctional bureaucracy and dislikes their inherent need for collective responsibility, he fails to mention how bureaucratic aid agencies have, on occasion, been able to find accountability within. [...]
[...] Although thorough, the United Nations inevitably holds a bias towards their aid agencies and goals. Without a strong evaluation system, accountability is even more hidden. Coming up with a solution that solves the above setbacks is challenging. One solution to the setbacks of the MDGs would be to eliminate the goals themselves. William Easterly would be in favor of this. He states that "the only Big Plan is to discontinue the Big Plans. The only Big Answer is that there is no Big Answer."13 However, getting rid of the MDGs (the "Big Plan" of present day) would also be a mistake. [...]
[...] United Nations Millennium Development Goals. United Nations, 2008), http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ (accessed November 2008). United Nations, The Millennium Development Goal Report. New York: United Nations http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Resources/Static/Products/Progress2008/MDG_ Report_2008_En.pdf (accessed November 2008) World Health Organization, World Malaria Report. Geneva: World Health Organization http://www.rbm.who.int/wmr2005/tables/table_a21.pdf (accessed November 2008). Jeffery D. Sachs, The End of Poverty (New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2006) William Easterly, The White Man's Burden (New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2006), Mike Davis, Planet of Slums (New York, NY: Verso, 2006) Sachs, 82- Easterly Louis Galambos, "Institutional Networks in Global Public Health" (Shaffer 100: 29 October 2008) 7 Sachs Easterly Easterly Easterly Sachs Joseph Stiglitz, “Insider: What I Learned at the World Economic Crisis.” The New Republic 222 (16/17) [...]
[...] If repeated disease episodes are reduced in Uganda, then the country would become closer to achieving goal two, universal primary education.23 Of course, drastically reducing rates of malaria in Uganda would also lead to economic growth that is currently restricted by the financial burden of the disease, allowing Uganda to invest money in other MDG targets. This domino effect in public health has been seen before. For example, WHO introduced an antiretroviral campaign for low- and middle-income countries at the Barcelona Conference on HIV/AIDS in 2002. [...]
[...] For example, the latest Millennium Development Goal Report discusses the proportion of children sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets, but not how many insecticide bed nets were given out.20 There may be a gap between these two numbers that an independent group may easily be able to find. The “Malawi model” is the idea of selling bed nets for a reduced rate at antenatal clinics (targeting the most at risk population), as well as selling nets to richer urban citizens (in order to make a profit). [...]
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