The MDGs’ success means that there is a lot of interest in expanding them to include a broader set of issues. However, many of the potential new goals lack unanimous support, and adding a lot of new goals — or goals that are not easily measurable — may sap momentum.
The MDGs were coherent because they focused on helping the poorest people in the world. The groups that needed to work together to attain them were easy to identify, and they could be held accountable for cooperation and progress. When the UN reaches agreement on other important goals like mitigating climate change, it should consider whether a different set of actors and a separate process might be best for those efforts.
The progress that the world has made in helping the poorest in the last 15 years is the kind of good-news story that happens one life at a time, so it often does not have the same visibility as a big setback, such as the outbreak of a new epidemic.
From time to time, we should step back and celebrate the achievements that come with having the right goals, the necessary political will, generous aid, and innovation in tools and their delivery. Doing so has certainly deepened my commitment to this work.
Bill Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Copyright: Project Syndicate