It seems that the 'count down' to 2015 well and truly went public when Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general appointed his High-level Panel to discuss post-2015 plans to tackle global poverty on 31 July. President Yudoyono of Indonesia, President Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister are co-chairs of the 26-member Panel, drawn from civil society, government leaders and the private sector.
This is the public culmination of a process that has been simmering in the corridors of power for many months. Since the UN Summit of September 2010 there has been an increasing focus on what happens when the flag comes down on 2015 and we evaluate our performance on our promises to the poor. Cynics are likely to write this off as another piece of political procrastination to compound our failures in 2015. And there are those of us who fear that too much emphasis on post-2015 with another 3 years to go could result in a dismal loss of momentum. Already we have some nations like Kenya who have been talking about a 20-20 Vision, which in effect amounts to an admission that 2015 is off their agenda.
But its absolutely right that Bank Ki-moon's High-level Panel should start a serious conversation about post-2015, and even more importantly, devise a process which involves the global community at all levels. This forward thinking is in no way an admission of failure. If anything it should spur us on to do even more in the closing months before 2015 turns up. At the 'All African Parliamentary Conference on accelerating the MDGs' held in Addis Ababa last May I heard an impassioned speech from the Christian Aid delegate saying exactly that.
No one who has seen or heard the Secretary General on the subject can accuse him on slowing the pace and there are good reasons why a post-2015 Panel makes perfect sense.
1. The promises of the MDGs were novel but not radical promises.
2. The world has changed immensely since the MDGs were conceived in 1990 and launched in 2000.
3. Huge momentum has been created. A post-2015 panel will build on the strengths and re-evaluate the weaknesses.
4. In any case even if every promise was carried out that would only be a job half done!
The Panel provides us with an excellent opportunity to take part in the debate, as it gets under way. But we must also do something else: we must ensure that in every sense we are 'counting up' to 2015 in order make the post-2015 task that much easier.
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