In the March/April 2013 issue of Foreign Affairs, development scholar John McArthur, a former manager of the UN Millennium Project, reviews the history of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and takes stock of their progress. As he writes:
From 1981 to 1999, extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa rose from 52 percent of the population to 58 percent. But since the launch of the MDGs, it has declined sharply, to 48 percent in 2008. Much of this was likely driven by MDG-backed investments in healthier and better-educated work forces in the region. The global MDG campaign has also prompted support for small subsistence and cash-crop farms, which has boosted growth in many low-income countries, such as Malawi.
“Looking forward,” he argues, “the next generation of goals should maintain the accessible simplicity that has allowed the MDGs to succeed and also facilitate the creation of better accountability mechanisms both within and across governments.” You can read the full article here; other perspectives on the MDGs and the post-2015 agenda are available on the Development Channel here.