So now we know that that High-Level Panel on post-2015 will be proposing a post-2015 framework aimed at ‘ending poverty and supporting the building blocks of sustainable prosperity’. This is a good start, but it throws up a whole series of new questions. Firstly, and most existentially, what do we mean by poverty? Is it just about money and access to services, or does it include other things like vulnerability, risk and fear? Secondly, more practically, how can a new agreement actually hope to make this happen? How could a new set of goals contribute to this global, national and local effort?
ODI’s new report builds on current research to suggest a range of possible answers to these questions. If poverty is defined in terms of the current MDG agenda, the key job of a new post-2015 agreement will be to focus attention on those who have been ‘left behind’ by progress towards the current goals. Inequality and social exclusion will therefore need to be built into a new agreement, as well as new initiatives on jobs, on agriculture, and on infrastructure to create the conditions for long term progress. A sustainability agenda could be built into these new objectives too. However, poor people define poverty more broadly than the current MDGs would suggest, and a post-2015 agreement could incorporate some broader concerns, such as the fear of violence, the desire for political freedoms, or the importance of risk and vulnerability. Even more broadly, a new agreement could include new goals for countries or institutions, as well as outcomes for people, such as addressing how institutions work or global environmental problems.
The outlines of a post-2015 agenda are still being drawn, and we do not yet know what our new global road-map will be. This paper sets out some possible paths towards turning high aspirations into global goals.