The recent meeting in New York of the UN’s High-Level Panel for the post-2015 development agenda marks a critical moment for the world’s poorest. The UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, along with his co-chairs President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, have the opportunity to bring about real and lasting change to the millions of people globally who are forced to live in extreme poverty. Key to their success will be setting an agenda that harnesses the opening up of information to empower the poorest people, wherever they are, to overcome vulnerability and grasp opportunity themselves.
Much progress has been made since global leaders first committed to the eradication of poverty in 1995. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been successful in focusing international and country efforts on poverty eradication and, over time, have prompted an alignment of donor aid policies.
Figure 1: Number of times “GDP per capita”, “Human Development Index” and “Millennium Development Goals” have been mentioned in books published between 1980 and 2006, as scanned by the Google Books Project
Source: Kenny C and Sumner A, Centre for Global Development
The MDG process has supported domestic efforts in prioritising human development and poverty reduction, with clear progress being made on the delivery of basic social services including health and education at a global level. The target of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water has been met, increasing access from 76% to 89% of the global population over 1990-2010. The primary education enrollment ratio has increased from 82% in 1999 to 90% in 2010 and gender parity in primary classrooms is now a reality. Preliminary data highlights that both the poverty rates and the number of people living in extreme poverty have been falling in all regions. The latter fell from 47% in 1990 to 24% in 2008, a reduction from 2 billion to 1.4 billion.
Figure 2: Aid from OECD to the education sector, 1995-2008 (US$ millions)
Source: OECD DAC
If, however, progress on tackling poverty is to be sustained and advanced it must go beyond top-down targets of service delivery and instead look to focus efforts on ways to empower people to take control over the decisions they face in their own lives.
The High-Level Panel has the opportunity to set an ambitious plan, to work with partners to create a global commitment to end poverty and help citizens to exercise choice and control over their lives. As such, we are calling for the introduction of a post-2015 framework that incorporates the following components.
You can read a full account of Development Initiatives’ post-2015 agenda here.
For further information on our policy recommendations for the post-2015 process please contact: Andrew Palmer at email@example.com
 United Nations, The Millennium Development Goals Report, 2012: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Resources/Static/Products/Progress2012/English2012.pdf
 The World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995 saw governments reach a new consensus on the need to put people at the centre of development. The Summit was the largest gathering ever of world leaders at that time. It pledged to eradicate poverty, create full employment and foster social integration.
Shelter Afrique Building
4th Floor, Mamlaka Road
PO Box 102802-00101
Development Research and Training (DRT)
Ggaba Road, Mutesasira Zone, Kansanga
P.O Box 22459