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Millennium Development Goals: Tool or token of global social governance?


  • Keijser, C.

    () (UNU-MERIT)

  • Beshay, Y.

    () (UNU-MERIT)

  • Al Raee, M.

    () (UNU-MERIT)

  • Avenyo, E.

    () (UNU-MERIT)

  • Bierbaum, M.

    () (UNU-MERIT)

  • Amoateng, E.

    () (UNU-MERIT)

  • Sinha, R.

    () (UNU-MERIT)


In this paper we argue that the Millennium Development Goals MDGs experience suggests that Global Social Governance GSG exists and that the MDGs have been an effective tool in creating a global accountability framework despite shortcomings mainly arising in the formulation process. The paper first discusses the historical emergence of the MDGs, leading to questions of ownership and responsibilities of developing and developed countries respectively. Subsequently, we assess whether the MDGs comprehensively reflect development concepts and address the question whether the MDGs had an impact on national policies, and ultimately on peoples lives. Eventually, these questions and their answers are intended to stimulate and inform discussions on the post-2015 development agenda as a - potentially improved - GSG tool.

Suggested Citation

  • Keijser, C. & Beshay, Y. & Al Raee, M. & Avenyo, E. & Bierbaum, M. & Amoateng, E. & Sinha, R., 2014. "Millennium Development Goals: Tool or token of global social governance?," MERIT Working Papers 2014-024, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2014024

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anand, Sudhir & Sen, Amartya, 2000. "Human Development and Economic Sustainability," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2029-2049, December.
    2. Caterina Ruggeri Laderchi & Ruhi Saith & Frances Stewart, 2003. "Does it Matter that we do not Agree on the Definition of Poverty? A Comparison of Four Approaches," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 243-274.
    3. Nelson, Paul J., 2007. "Human Rights, the Millennium Development Goals, and the Future of Development Cooperation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 2041-2055, December.
    4. David Hulme & Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, 2009. "International Norm Dynamics and ‘the End of Poverty’: Understanding the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 9609, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    5. Tatyana P. Soubbotina, 2004. "Beyond Economic Growth : An Introduction to Sustainable Development, Second Edition," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14865, June.
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    More about this item


    Millennium Development Goals; Global Social Governance; post-2015 development agenda;

    JEL classification:

    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


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