The content of the post-MDG agreement is beginning to take shape as world-wide negotiations continue and countries prepare for the big decisions in 2014. The Millennium Development Goals come to an end in 2015 and the UN has launched a global consultation which will lead to decisions in September 2014 about the global priorities for achieving the sort of world we wish to create.
The European Union is the latest to publish its vision of the post-MDG world. In its report, A decent life for all: Ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future’ the EU says very clearly that eradicating poverty and fighting climate change must go together.
“Two of the most pressing challenges facing the world are eradicating poverty and ensuring that prosperity and well-being are sustainable. Around 1.3 billion people still live in extreme income poverty and the human development needs of many more are still not met. Two-thirds of the services provided by nature – including fertile land, clean water and air – are in decline and climate change and biodiversity loss are close to the limits beyond which there are irreversible effects on human society and the natural environment.
“These challenges are universal and inter-related and need to be addressed together by all countries. It is not sufficient to address the challenges separately – a unified policy framework is needed. Such an overarching policy framework is needed to mark out a path from poverty towards prosperity and well-being, for all people and all countries, with progress remaining within planetary boundaries. It should also be closely related to issues relating to governance, human rights and peace and security issues, which are enabling conditions for progress. It is estimated that 1.5 billion people are living in countries experiencing significant political conflict, armed violence, insecurity or fragility.”
In comments made in February by Helen Clark, who is leading the UN consultations, she also made the link between poverty and sustainable development and went on to suggest that the world should set some goals around reducing conflict and violence against civilians.
The social work community has anticipated these developments in our own policy development. The Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development includes a series of commitments which make a clear link between healthy communities, eradicating poverty and sustainable development. IFSW, with our partners, will continue to contribute to this global dialogue and make sure that the social work perspective is heard. The Melbourne world conference in 2014 will be focussed on these themes.
World Social Work Day on 19 March 2013 will focus on the related theme of promoting social and economic equality.
Read the EU report A decent life for all: Ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future.
Commentary on the EU report in The Guardian.
European Union blog and consultation site.