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The MDG Conundrum: Meeting the Targets Without Missing the Point


  • Jan Vandemoortele


The MDGs are being misappropriated to gain support for a specific development strategy, agenda or argument, mostly being used as a call for more aid or as a Trojan horse for a particular policy framework. As relative benchmarks, they are extremely difficult to meet in countries with low human development. Their misinterpretation as one-size-fits-all targets is leading to excessive Afro-pessimism, begging the question whether Africa is missing the targets or whether the world is missing the point. The global MDG canon is dominated by a money-metric and donor-centric view of development, and is not ready to accept that growing disparities within countries are the main reason why the 2015 targets will be missed. Copyright (c) The Author 2009. Journal compilation (c) 2009 Overseas Development Institute..

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  • Jan Vandemoortele, 2009. "The MDG Conundrum: Meeting the Targets Without Missing the Point," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 27(4), pages 355-371, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:devpol:v:27:y:2009:i:4:p:355-371

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Claire E. Brolan, 2016. "A Word of Caution: Human Rights, Disability, and Implementation of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals," Laws, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(2), pages 1-18, May.
    2. Stephan Klasen & Simon Lange, 2011. "Getting Progress Right: Measuring Progress Towards the MDGs Against Historical Trends," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 87, Courant Research Centre PEG, revised 20 Feb 2012.
    3. Lange, Simon & Klasen, Stephan, 2017. "How the New International Goal for Child Mortality is Unfair to Sub-Saharan Africa (Again)," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 128-146.
    4. Elaine Unterhalter & Andrew Dorward, 2013. "New MDGs, Development Concepts, Principles and Challenges in a Post-2015 World," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 113(2), pages 609-625, September.
    5. Tellería, Roberto & Ludeña, Carlos & Fernández, Soraya, 2011. "Policy alternatives and strategies for the Plurinational State of Bolivia following the end of trade preferences," Documentos de Proyectos 3922, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    6. repec:spr:ieaple:v:17:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10784-017-9366-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Meg Elkins & Simon Feeny & David Prentice, 2015. "Do Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers reduce poverty and improve well-being?," Discussion Papers 15/02, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.
    8. Oyvind Eggen, 2013. "Making and Shaping Poor Malawians: Citizenship Below the Poverty Line," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 31(6), pages 697-716, November.
    9. David Hulme & James Scott, 2010. "The Political Economy of the MDGs: Retrospect and Prospect for the World's Biggest Promise," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 11010, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    10. repec:gam:jlawss:v:5:y:2016:i:2:p:22:d:70095 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Christopher Selvarajah, 2014. "Foreign aid imperatives in the Greater Mekong Subregion: case studies of Australian, Japanese and Thai Aid Coordination," Asia-Pacific Development Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 21(1), pages 23-65, June.
    12. Bello Malam Sa’idu, 2016. "Modelling Future Composite Indices for Nigerian Millennium Development Goals," Asian Journal of Economic Modelling, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 4(1), pages 18-27, March.
    13. Frank-Borge Wietzke, 2015. "Who Is Poorest? An Asset-based Analysis of Multidimensional Wellbeing," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 33(1), pages 33-59, January.
    14. Jan Vandemoortele, 2011. "Forum 2011," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 42(1), pages 1-21, January.
    15. CDP subgroup on Accountability, 2015. "International Tax Cooperation and Implications of Globalization," CDP Background Papers 025, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
    16. Jacob, Arun, 2017. "Mind the Gap: Analyzing the Impact of Data Gap in Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) Indicators on the Progress toward MDGs," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 260-278.

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