OMNIA Magazine: Fall/Winter 2015

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OMNIA

A GLOBAL AGENDA TWO PENN SCHOLARS SEEK TO INFLUENCE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT DIALOGUE. Compiled by Loraine Terrell additional writing by Blake Cole

At the United Nations’ annual meeting in September, the assembled nations officially adopted an ambitious new agenda for global development. The Sustainable Development Goals include 169 targets grouped under 17 categories representing broad issues, running from Zero Hunger to Responsible Consumption and Production to Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. In the eyes of some observers, the proliferation of targets and goals in the newest plan—a successor to the influential UN Millennium Development Goals that launched in 2000—betrays a lack of focus. Among these are sociology’s Hans-Peter Kohler, Frederick J. Warren Professor of Demography, and Jere Behrman, William R. Kenan Professor of Economics. Kohler and Behrman are two of the many experts who took part in a major initiative of the Copenhagen Consensus, a think tank that focuses on “smart solutions,” based on benefit-cost analysis, to some of the world’s biggest problems. Known as Post-2015 Consensus, the project was intend-

FINDINGS: PRIORITIZATION OF DEVELOPMENT TARGETS AND

POLICIES ADDRESSING CHALLENGES IN POPULATION AND DEMOGRAPHY Highest Benefit-Cost Ratios

Probably High Benefit-Cost Ratios

Relatively Low Benefit-Cost Ratios

Achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health services by 2030, and eliminating unmet need for modern contraception by 2040.

Elimination of age-based eligibility criteria for retirement; development of public pension systems that are based on expected years of remaining life given fixed characteristics.

Maintenance and expansion of public pension eligibility at relatively young old ages.

Reduction of barriers to migration within low- and middle-income countries, as well as between lowand middle-income countries and high-income countries.

Select interventions, dependent on particular contexts, that make urbanization more efficient and equitable by achieving balance between functions for which there are considerable economies of scale (transportation, communication networks) and functions for which decentralization is likely to lead to the best responses to heterogeneous local conditions and preferences.

Family policies aimed at increasing low fertility in high-income countries (with the exception of expansion of early childhood education and high-quality daycare).