Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Post-2015 Blog Week: 'It is time for new ideas' by Gladys Nagawa, UWASNET

Gladys Nagawa is the Advocacy and Policy Analyst at UWASNET, the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network. Here she shares her thoughts on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and what they should be replaced by in 2015.

Overall, I think that the MDGs were a very good global framework, and were successful to some extent. The MDG target 7 of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water has been globally met, well in advance of the 2015 deadline and in Uganda, as of Ministry of Water and Environment Sector Performance Report of June 2011, access to safe water in rural areas is at 65% and in urban is at 66%. The MDGs have been successful in increasing international aid and its effectiveness, and in helping the government to plan their budget better towards the realisation of these MDGs. The goals addressed the needs of the poor and were particularly effective in improving gender equality and the issue of HIV/AIDS in Uganda.

However, the MDGs have also presented a number of challenges. Firstly, because the goals were global, and not regional, some of them were not appropriate for national circumstances, and were therefore not realistic. Some indicators were not really measurable – for example the education goal measured how many children were enrolled in schools, when the best indicator would be to measure how many children are actually learning, that is, acquiring knowledge and skills. We need to focus on the outcomes, as children can be enrolled in school but not actually learning. Similarly, although the progress reports showed that the drinking water target has been met, there is still great inequality between regions which is not measured at all. And the MDG sanitation target has still not been realised.

The MDGs did not have a clear mechanism of protecting the poor from the rich, and they also lacked a clear element of promoting human rights. 

I think that by 2015, the MDGs will have been around for long enough – it will be time for them to be put aside and for new ideas and a new framework to be developed. We need to look at new areas – especially around climate change, the environment, and sustainable development. This is particularly important in Uganda, where around 80% of the economy is based on agriculture, which is seriously affected by climate change.

However, at the moment, I do not honestly feel that my voice is being heard in the global planning process. We are the citizens, and we are not being effectively and efficiently involved!

My message to the UN is that the new framework must look out for the interests of the poor, and must include human rights. We need achievable, measurable and realistic targets that can bring about sustainable development for all.

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