International Alert and the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) will be hosting a panel debate on the future of overseas development aid, Moving Beyond the Millennium Development Goals on 8 September at the RCS in London.
This event comes two weeks before the UN General Assembly will review progress against the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and coincides with the launch of a new International Alert report which questions the usefulness of the MDGs.
It is widely accepted that the MDGs will not be achieved by 2015. Progress has been especially slow in so-called fragile states, where institutions are weak and there is a risk of violent conflict. In such contexts, the MDGs – a very technical set of goals – are inadequate measures of progress, and are a distraction from the more political kind of programming which is needed. Alert’s report concludes that there is an important opportunity in 2010 – the tenth anniversary of the UN Millennium Declaration – not just to review progress against the MDGs but to ask deeper questions about what we actually mean by “development” and how to achieve it. Instead of simply asking what more needs to be done to achieve the MDGs, the international community needs to come up with a more effective narrative to guide development efforts.
The report’s principal author Phil Vernon, Alert’s Director of Programmes for Africa, will outline Alert’s contention that although progress has undoubtedly been made on conflict and fragility, for example the number of conflicts has actually decreased since the launch of the MDGs in 2000, these gains have often been in spite of the way aid works rather than because of it, and that they risk being lost unless governments and international institutions can adapt their practices to meet the complex realities of environments shaped by actual or threatened armed violence.
There will be a variety of other panellists with a range of perspectives, and our audience will be invited to share theirs too.
If you would like to attend this event please register at www.thercs.org/events.
Attendance is free of charge and refreshments will be provided.
We hope you can join us as we debate one of the most critical issues facing world leaders as take decisions with far reaching consequences for the world’s poorest – and most vulnerable.