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Making Sense of the MDGs


  • Jan Vandemoortele


Several misunderstandings have arisen about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Most widespread is the view that each and every country must achieve the same numerical targets. This is obviously incorrect because the global performance is the aggregate of MDG-plus and MDG-minus countries. Another misconception is that a universal strategy exists for achieving the MDGs. This view contradicts the historical fact that different countries have applied different means towards achieving the same end – namely, human development. A third misunderstanding is that the cost of achieving the MDGs can be determined with precision over a multi-year period. Jan Vandemoortele1 identifies growing disparities within countries as the main reason why the global targets will not be met by 2015. He outlines four practical steps for formulating homegrown and endogenous MDG-based national development strategies. He underscores the need for a new partnership between the rich and the poor, one that is based on ‘ideas changing minds’ rather than on ‘money changing hands’ because a partnership that is primarily based on money is inherently unequal. Development (2008) 51, 220–227. doi:10.1057/dev.2008.7

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Vandemoortele, 2008. "Making Sense of the MDGs," Development, Palgrave Macmillan;Society for International Deveopment, vol. 51(2), pages 220-227, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:develp:v:51:y:2008:i:2:p:220-227

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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. repec:gam:jlawss:v:5:y:2016:i:2:p:22:d:70095 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Beja Jr., Edsel L., 2011. "Subjective Well-Being Approach to the Valuation of International Development: Evidence for the Millennium Development Goals," MPRA Paper 27865, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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