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oxygen | 19 — 04.2013

Id in-depth

Beyond the GDP: a new measurement of well-being For all countries to reach the same level of progress, it is necessary to find a common understanding of development and therefore, common goals. While the UN sets out the goals to be achieved over the next 15 years, the world searches for new indicators that establish what the well-being of a nation is. by Donato Speroni

By 2014, the planet will have new global goals, approved by almost all countries, with the aim of guiding the policies of states and international governance. And this is one of the main commitments of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, confirmed at the Rio+20 summit in June 2012. A utopian bet? In order to answer, we need to analyze the outcome of the previous objectives, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), approved by the United Nations in 2000 and to be achieved by 2015. 2015: We can end poverty, proclaims the heading of the website dedicated to the UN Millennium Development Goals, and already the slogan tells us that the goal has not been reached. There were eight objectives, from the cancellation of extreme poverty and hunger, to gender equality and empowerment of women, from primary education for all children to the fight against AIDS, malaria, and other diseases that especially ravage the most backward countries. Each objective was made up of a series of indicators, more than 60 in all, whose constant verification would clarify if the world was on the right track with respect to the stated goals. For example, the objectives of the fight against extreme poverty and hunger included nine indicators: from the proportion of the world’s population living on a maximum of one dollar a day to the incidence of underweight children under five years of age. The Millennium Development Goals have not been fully achieved, but they have given a strong boost to the quality of the overall statistics: today, it is

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easier to monitor health in the world, even if the resulting diagnosis is not comforting. However, it should be noted that this picture is not entirely negative, mainly due to the tremendous progress in Asia, whereas Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, has remained far behind. The main flaw of the MDGs, however, was that they had been imposed from above, approved in the wake of the hopes for the beginning of the new millennium, but they hardly ever became a conscious goal of national governments. In politics, numbers that do not become tools of analysis, mobilization, and consensus end up having little meaning, and this is the error that Ban Ki-moon wants to avoid with the new targets for the years beyond 2015. Preferably, they would be established through an extensive process of discussion and sharing, and at the same time, take into account the changes in sensitivity gained over the years, especially related to climate change. In fact, the new objectives will be called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Having found the name and traced the path, we must admit that filling the SDGs with content is not at all easy. As the name suggests, the new global goals will give more importance to sustainability, and therefore to the environment. The Doha Conference which ended in December 2012, however, confirmed the great difficulty in achieving an agreement between countries on objectives which may serve to contain climate change. It will not be easy to add shared parameters concerning emissions of carbon dioxide or other climate-changing factors. Both the old MDGs and the new SDGs do not take into account the dynamics of the gross domestic product of many countries.

In politics, numbers that do not become tools of analysis, mobilization, and consensus end up having little meaning, and this is the error that Ban Ki-moon wants to avoid with the new targets

Oxygen n. 19 - Governance, futuro plurale  

La crisi economico-finanziaria e la rivoluzione nel modello sociale contemporaneo hanno imposto l’avvento di una nuova era che vede avanzare...

Oxygen n. 19 - Governance, futuro plurale  

La crisi economico-finanziaria e la rivoluzione nel modello sociale contemporaneo hanno imposto l’avvento di una nuova era che vede avanzare...

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