Publications

The world faces an unprecedented coincidence of global crises. They testify to the failure of the dominant model of development and economic progress that is oriented on a technocratic modernisation path, is blind to human rights and the ecological limits of the global ecosystem, confuses growth of Gross Domestic Product with progress in society, and regards poverty as a primarily technical challenge in which categories of inequality and social justice are neglected.

The Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives brought together 18 civil society activists and scholars from different disciplines from around the globe. Its members jointly drew lessons from the current crises, looked beyond conventional development concepts and goals, questioned the models and measures of development and social progress, and presented alternatives.

This report is the main outcome of the joint deliberations. It describes the root causes of the multiple crises, reconfirms the framework of universal principles and rights, reconsiders development goals and indicators, and draws conclusions for the post-2015 development agenda. It seeks to stimulate debates about alternative development paths, participatory and inclusive governance structures, and the transformation in politics and societies that future justice for all will require.

On 31 October 2011 the Reflection Group submitted a statement to the secretariat of the Rio+20 Conference to be held in June 2012. It was prepared during a drafting session in October in New Paltz, NY and highlights some of the issues and proposals that will come up in the final report of the Reflection Group again. The final report will come out in spring of 2012 after a final meeting of the Group.

Over the years since the Millennium Summit, the MDGs have proved to be an instrument of development policy that is both effective as publicity and suitable for campaigns. They are easy to understand and to communicate to a broader public. The civil society and UN campaigns on the MDGs have contributed to enhancing public awareness of the problems of poverty and hunger in the countries of the South – including not only those people especially concerned with development. Under the guiding motto of the MDGs, the UN, IMF, World Bank and OECD have overcome inconsistencies among their diverging development concepts and strategies – or at least they have managed to cover them up. Thanks to their unambiguous quantitative and timebound targets and the political commitments they entail, the MDGs provide a set of instruments to increase accountability of governments towards the people and check the effectiveness of their policies – in North and South. However, the last ten years have also shown up the problems linked to focusing the development discourse on combating the most extreme forms of income poverty and hunger and providing basic social services for the population. The MDGs bear a number of weaknesses and deficits resulting in terms of both their conception and their implementing strategies. The discussion about the Post-2015 Development Agenda, i.e. about the question what the future of the MDGs is going to look like after the year 2015, will have to yield answers to these weaknesses and deficits.