1Muenster June 18 th : 45 minutes; ½ hr Q&AI make many speeches to many types of audiences but you, Civil Society, are myabsolute favorite.It is Civil Society that was the prime mover behind the Millennium Goals in thefirst place by extracting promises from reluctant governments at the great UN Summitsof the 90s. And it is these promises that evolved into the Millennium DevelopmentGoals.It is your passion, energy and your efforts to try and give a voice to the poor thatmake them heard in the corridors of power.It is you, Civil Society, that insist on a rights based approach, acknowledging thatthe poor need to be empowered to demand government action responsive to theirneeds.It is you Civil Society that continues to give a human face to abstract statisticsand global averages ensuring that action becomes relevant to the marginalized; theimpoverished; the excluded; to women, and to indigenous people.It is my deep conviction that without civil society, we would not have had theMillennium Goals agreed upon in the first place, and even more, without you, we will nothave them implemented.Without your continuing relentless advocacy and campaigning, demandingaccountability and translation of the rhetoric we hear too often from our politicians intoreal action.And the world needs action, as the world has agreed on the wording, when, inthe year 2000 World Leaders gathered at the United Nations and signed the MillenniumDeclaration, in which they pledged that:“We will spare no effort to put an end to extreme poverty”“We will spare no effort to ensure ALL kids got to school”“We will spare no effort … to radically reduce child mortality, maternal mortality,All by the year 2015……to reverse the Aids Pandemic”Indeed in this century, for the first time in human history, our world has theresources; and it also has the knowledge to achieve these Millennium Goals. And all
2nations participated and signed this Declaration – at the highest political level. So wehave their commitments and the political consensus on what should be done and bywhom: the Goals brought together for the first timea shared vision on development, representing a “global partnership” based on ashared responsibility by all countries.Developing countries have accepted the primary responsibility for achievingthese Goals. But rich countries acknowledged, in Millennium Goal 8, that poorcountries cannot achieve the Goals unless rich countries increase and improve theeffectiveness of their aid, and change the rules of trade to foster development. (I willget back to these commitments, embodied in Goal 8)How have we done so far?First the good news:Over the last decade, the Millennium Goals have spurred action across theglobe. Many developing countries’ governments have improved their policies andgovernance; and developed countries have taken some – not enough - steps toincrease the level and effectiveness of their aid.Progress across a large number of countries and indicators has been theresult. The developing world as a whole remains on track to achieve the povertyreduction target by 2015. It has already achieved the target of halting and reversingthe incidence of tuberculosis and will meet or even exceed the drinking water targetby 2015. Major advances have been made in getting children into school in many ofthe poorest countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.Remarkable improvements in key interventions - for malaria and HIV AIDScontrol, and measles immunization, for example - have cut children deaths by morethan a third.And do not get discouraged by those who say that many poor countries are“off track”: The Millennium Goals were never meant to be achieved individually inevery single country: they were meant to be achieved at the global level. Otherwisethe poorest countries would be placed at a huge disadvantage. For instance,“halving the proportion of the poor population” would require a much higher level ofperformance from a country that started with 80 per cent of its population below thepoverty line than from a country where only 20 per cent of the population was initiallypoor.
3Thus, instead of monitoring progress per country in terms of how much “ontrack” or “off track” the indicators are from their 2015 targets, it is far more relevant toevaluate the commitment of countries, as measured by their effort to accelerateprogress in achieving the Goals. If you apply this method, comparing the rate ofimprovement of indicators before and after the adoption of the MDGs, the storyline isdramatically different. Eight of the top 10 countries whose MDG progress hasaccelerated most rapidly are from Sub Sahara Africa. And progress among leastdeveloped countries (LDCs) accelerated faster than among non-LDCs. So, let’savoid labeling these countries as “failures”, when they fall short of meeting the exacttarget levels by 2015.This progress, spurred by the Millennium Goals is unprecedented. Over thelast 60 years, multiple goals for economic and social development were set at theUnited Nations. The degree to which the “goals set” became “goals met” dependedon the degree to which they were known and owned publicly beyond thedevelopment agencies and U.N. bureaucrats. And the Millennium Goals havebroken all the records. These goals have proven to have popular power becausethey are clear and concise and time-bound. They put a human face on developmentefforts and have proven to be of great value as a framework for citizens’mobilization.We live in a world of sovereign states, where progress is decided by nationalpolicies and actions – on the first 7 Goals by developing countries, and on Goal 8 byrich countries. The MDGs will not be achieved at the United Nations. The U.N. cancreate a platform for Governments to make commitments. But it cannot enforcecompliance by Member States (The Secretary General cannot send the police to theGermany if it fails to live up…).Only citizens and their elected representatives, national parliaments, can holdtheir Governments accountable for the promises they made at the United Nations.Governments – both North and South – just need to live up at home to commitmentsthey already made, over and over again. And they will only translate these innational policies when persistent well organized domestic constituencies demand sofrom national governments. Citizen’s support is key: and how would that come aboutif not mobilized by civil society? .In developing countries the MDG’s continue to inspire civil society toempower citizens to demand their governments to deliver them and be accountablefor their promises, including in improving governance. And governance - the ultimatedecisive factor to end world poverty - only improves, not by foreign donors’ lectures
4and conditionality, but when their own citizens demand this and hold theirgovernments to account.In developing countries the Millennium Goals had an impact on the prioritygiven to poverty reduction. A survey of 100 civil society actors in a large number ofcountries revealed a strong belief that increased attention to poverty eliminationshas become a higher priority because of the MDGs..In rich countries the Goals have effectively been used by civil society toeducate citizens about global poverty and contributed to an emerging collectiveconsciousness that the persistence of extreme poverty in an affluent world is morallyunacceptable. The Goals became the framework for campaigns to increase aid andits effectiveness, and for reform of global trade rules. These campaigns helped tocement the political will of EU members to set a timetable and deadline to achievethe 0.7 per cent gross national income for development assistance. Public supportfor these Goals has been a crucial element for the unprecedented aid commitmentsin the EU, even if implementation has been disappointing.Indeed, THE key achievement of the MDGs is the extent to which they havemobilized public and political support for development. Today – with only 3 ½ yearsleft to 2015 debates have started across the globe: what about post 2015?Well: one thing is clear to me above all: any post-2015 agreement needs tomaintain popular momentum. And, as the goals’ objectives were limited to reducing“by half” or “two thirds”: even if achieved, there is a large unfinished post-2015agenda.That doesn’t mean that in the run-up to 2015 we shouldn’t evaluate how toimprove the instruments to achieve the Goals. Let me mention three shortcomings ofthe MDG framework (or rather in the way it has been implemented), that need to beaddressed:- it ignores inequality issues;- it de-emphasizes income-poverty;- it led to fragmentation and incoherence, and left gaps.First, inequality issues: Progress towards the Goals is measured in global andnational averages, ignoring inequality issues. This is lethal – as in fact the Goals willnot be achieved, in part because of disparities within countries. Or where they areachieved, progress may have totally left out the very poor and most vulnerable.
5Measuring only national averages, progress might reflect advances for thosepopulations that are easiest to reach, while excluding individuals at highest risk. Itputs a premium on action directed at those near the threshold. This might pull thoseaccessible populations across the poverty line, and even widen the gap betweenthem and those still below the threshold.Progress in these averages masks the “ugly underbelly of globalization”:growing inequality. Inequality was not on the political agenda when the MDG’s wereconceived – and proper data were lacking at the time also. But it gained hugecurrency since, culminating in extensive recognition in last year’s MDG Summit.The outcome document states: …We are deeply concerned, however, that …inequalities between and within countries remains a significant challenge… Webelieve that … combating inequality at all levels, is essential to create a moreprosperous and sustainable future for all.”The second flaw: the sectoral focus of most Millennium Goals reducedattention to income poverty, the first Goal. The goals led too often too simplisticsectoral budgetary targets and earmarks for the social sectors by both developingcountry governments and donors: these are easier and politically sexier than dealingwith the complexity of policy and program interaction that is critical to theachievement of the first Millennium Goal, halving poverty.The third flaw: This sectoral focus created policy fragmentation in the pursuitof individual goals, neglecting the need of integrated approaches to development:the Goals were largely derived from outcomes of earlier UN conferences whichfocused on specific sectoral issues, agreed upon by sector ministers, meeting underthe aegis of the corresponding UN agency, spurred by parts of civil society focusedon those specific issues.But also within sectors the simplification into Goals was damaging: the healthgoals only cover maternal mortality, child mortality, and some specific diseases,without linkage or integration with the broader health system, while effective healthservices depend on functioning horizontal systems (on infrastructure, perrsonnel),and need to focus on the full life cycle.So the MDG framework as such would enable synergies between goals, butin practice the Goals perpetuated the fragmented, incoherent nature of decisionmaking at both the global and national level: The various sectoral “silo’s”, includingthe related UN bodies and development communities, competed for politicalattention and funding for separate Goals.
6This has lead to fragmentized initiatives (repeatedly by the G8) and to global“vertical” funds which ignored the potential synergies among the Goals. Thus theMDG framework as evolved is not as comprehensive as the complexity ofinternational development requires.Now - given the huge public awareness created around the original MDG’s,and the pivotal role of such awareness in achieving actual results in the real world, Iwould be very hesitant to discard them or tinker with them too much – by addingextra goals or formulate completely different ones.But the international community could consider a conceptual instrument thatwould mitigate the flaws I mentioned. And this concept already exists: the idea of aGlobal Social Protection Floor, already high on the UN agenda. The Outcomedocument of the MDG +10 Summit last year refers to it repeatedly; and the Frenchgovernment has put this idea on the agenda of the G20 Summit they will host thisfall in Cannes.Let me explain this concept: The core idea is that no one on earth should livebelow a basic income level and everyone should be able to have access to at leastbasic social services. While adopted as a global concept, social protection floors arenationally shaped, by country specific institutional structures, economic constraintsand social aspirations.Of course, poorer countries’ options are more limited, but even some of thepoorest in Africa have successful examples – ranging from cash transfers to themost vulnerable in some countries, to extending basic health to near universalcoverage in Ruanda.Each country has to build on what it already has and what it needs most –step by step. As economies and fiscal space grow, the levels of protection can beexpanded.I am a Member of an Advisory Group for the promotion of a Global ProtectionFloor, convened by the ILO and the WHO; and headed by Michelle Bachelet. And forthis I wrote a paper on the relationship between the MDG’s and the GlobalProtection Floor. In this paper I describe how the concept of a Social ProtectionFloor would help dealing with these three flaws in the MDG Framework:The first issue, of inequality: Social Protection is focused on the poorest andmost vulnerable groups. Thus, it moves the attention away from “averages” to liftingthe floor for the most vulnerable and unprotected. And social protection makes most
7sense exactly for the poorest: the essence of poverty is, more than anything else,the permanent lack of security, be it uncertainty about the next meal or the nexthealth catastrophe. The poor do not have resources to fall back on.On the second flaw: the neglect of income poverty, the SPF concept wouldensure a renewed and comprehensive focus on income poverty. The mostsuccessful SPF-type programs are those that effectively provide basic incomesecurity for poor families, in the form of cash transfers like the Brazilian BolsaFamília.Regarding the third flaw (incoherence and fragmentation). Social protectionpromotes coherent and coordinated approaches to help guarantee services andsocial transfers across the life cycle. The concept can promote a “whole-ofgovernment” approach.So integrating the SPF concept into the mainstream of development policy asa broad-based systemic approach would effectively deal with the limitations andfragmentation of the MDG framework.But whatever the form of the future MDG Framework, reducing poverty in thepoorest countries, particularly in Sub Sahara Africa will continue to depend onadherence of rich countries to Goal 8.Comparing the performance of the developing countries with the efforts richcountries made, the verdict is clear, including by the hardnosed economists of theWorld Bank, the IMF and the OECD: rich countries are lagging in implementing theirpart of the deal: Goal 8.Today, ODA suffers a legitimacy crisis. Across OECD countries, including inparts of continental Europe where the public constituency for developmentassistance has been taken for granted for decades, support for ODA is taking adeep dive.While some might blame this on the financial crisis, the cause of this is morecomplicated. For example, in the Netherlands and Germany, hardly touched by thecrisis, with the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, governments are attempting towiggle out of their commitments without much visible public resistance.Apparently the campaign of some politicians and part of the media insistingthat ODA was not spent well has been quite successful. This is the more tragic as,
8yes, aid was wasted in the past, but the international community over the lastdecade has embarked on a serious internationally agreed program, spurred by theOECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), to improve aid effectiveness.Today there is a broad international consensus, based on the evidence ofwell-documented lessons learnt from the mistakes and failures of the last halfcentury on what contributes to aid effectiveness. At present, at least donorsacknowledge they are part of the problem – and have agreed to become part of thesolution. Concrete action has been agreed, reflected in the Paris Declaration and theAccra Agenda for Action on aid effectiveness signed by all OECD government andmany developing countries and NGOs.The most important lesson learned is that donors must realize: it is not them –or their aid - that develops developing countries, but that developing countriesdevelop themselves: that they are responsible for and have to be in charge of theirdevelopment. Without developing country “ownership” no aid yields lastingresults.The traditional mode of delivering aid consisted of individual projects,subjected to the donor’s procedures, often ignoring the overall policies andresponsibilities of the developing country government. This donor-led projectapproach to development led to a raft of small uncoordinated donor projects, which –even when successful – hardly made a dent on development. They were tiny islandsof perfection in oceans of despair, which collapsed back into the ocean once thedonor left: because who was supposed to pay for the maintenance and teacher ornurses salaries? Old fashioned aid also inhibited good governance. Accountability todonors –the paymasters - replaced accountability where it should be: to their owncitizens and parliaments.This project approach also has huge and wasteful transaction costs: there aretens of bilateral donors – and we keep counting – and tens of multilateral ones -ditto. And they force the recipient government to follow the different procedures foreach donor, often operating in the same sector, have meetings with them andprepare scores of written reports requiring exactly the same information.Clearly, already scarce capacity in poor countries should be focused onmanaging their development – not that their donors’ programs. Donors must stopthinking about "our” Dutch or German projects, and instead start to focus on “their” –the developing country - development process.
9Donors have to move away from building “our” schools or hospitals tosupporting “their” education or health policies, and stop imposing donors’ agendasand priorities.Ironically, aid effectiveness cannot be increased unless donors resist theirnatural temptation of wanting to control its detailed use by the recipient. However,despite all lip-service to ownership, donors seem to continue to be addicted to micromanaging “their” $/Euro’s. At the root of this is the fact that taxpayers/parliamentswant to know how their tax-Euro reduces poverty; and this seems critical to maintainand strengthen public support for ODA.In most donor countries income disparities are less than in recipient countries.So it is only fair that the relatively poor tax payers in OECD countries are assuredthat their development euro doesn’t benefit much wealthier, tax avoiding elites indeveloping countries. But these same taxpayers are happy to generously give tonon-profits, which provide livestock, seeds, or training to families struggling withhunger and poverty, helping them to become self reliant.Thus, the question is how to reconcile this factor with the critical need ofrecipient countries’ ownership. Well: using aid to finance Social Protection in poorcountries achieves this objective. Aid would help to directly lift poor families out ofpoverty.And the ownership of such protection floors is unquestionable: the conceptwas developed in and by developing countries themselves, a “genuinely Southernrevolution”. In Latin America the development of home grown government-fundedsocial protection was in response to the failure of adopted European insuranceschemes, which never reached beyond workers in formal employment, as selfinsuranceisn’t a viable option for poor people.At least 45 developing countries, including in Sub Sahara Africa, have cashtransfer programs reaching more than 110 million families. Cash transfers are anefficient way to reduce poverty; they have the potential to prevent future poverty byfacilitating economic growth and promoting human development; and theseprograms are affordable. And the poor know better what they need than policymakers. Indeed, these programs strengthen human agency, a person’s capability topursue and realize things that he or she values, as advocated by Amartya Sen asindispensable to development.Or, as State Secretary Beerfelttz phrased it: “Ultimately development policy isabout giving people the freedom to lead self-determined, socially secure and
10independent lives”. Indeed both the notion of social security and of the freedevelopment of one’s personality, article 2 of your “Grundrechte”, are deeply valuedin German society.Why not translate these wonderful principles in your development policies?By funding social protection programs Germany could both adhere to itscommitments regarding aid effectiveness and ensure the Bundestag and taxpayersthat German aid is used for what it is meant for: lifting the poor out of poverty…Now – why do I spend so many words on what your government should do?Many of you are working on raising funds and implementing nongovernmentalprojects, many of which contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Goals. And Iapplaud these efforts: each individual life improved by your efforts must becelebrated.But however much multiplied – these efforts will never add up to compensatefor the missing billions that your own government promised – but is not providing;and for the waste of billions of aid funds as your government is reluctant toimplement the agreed agenda to make its aid more effective.Ultimately only comprehensive government action can achieve theMillennium Goals and lift the billion plus poor sustainably out of poverty:1. Governments in developing counties must heed the needs of the poor andbe accountable to their citizens. So if you are engaged in development projects: donot build schools, but help your partners, civil society there, to empower citizens todemand education from their government; and2. Governments in rich countries must assist developing countries in theirefforts.The most important contribution that you – civil society – can make is to holdyour own government to account for this. Thus – let me say this in provocativeterms: your job is not as much to raise funds, but to raise voices. It is interesting thatin Germanic languages voices and votes (Stimmen) is the same word, because thisis exactly what this is about:The real problem is that government leaders come to the United Nationsmake beautiful speeches and promises and take back the plane to business asusual. And they get away with it. Living up to these promises requires publicawareness and citizen advocacy, suggesting to political leaders that they will win,
11not lose, votes if they support policies to achieve the MDGs. As politics and votersare local, achieving the MDGs had to become an attractive “vote-getter” at thenational levels.In rich countries, including in Germany, public opinion polls show time andtime again that the people want their government to be more forthcoming to helppoor countries to achieve the goals. What is lacking there? Is it transmission belts toensure that politicians realize that they can win, not lose votes by acting?I remember many years ago, when your own VENRO had a meeting withChancellor Schroeder during an election campaign, and that he told them, “Well, youare not exactly a mass movement.” And a former Italian Finance Minister, who is onthe issue personally quite decent, once told me: if you have to cut the budget you cutwhere it causes the least noise from your citizens; in Italy that is developmentcooperation…You see, politicians count their votes. This is where the problem is. TheMillennium Development Goals provide this perfect umbrella to bring about a massmovement. To create a grand alliance across many social actors, AIDS activists,women, health workers, environmentalists, teachers unions, consumerorganizations, local authorities, tapping into broad concerns of people to ensure that“globalization benefits all” as the Millennium Declaration literally promises.Organizing a mass-movement sounds like a lot of work – but the essence isthat politicians have the impression they will win instead of lose votes if they do theright thing on development. And they certainly had that impression in 2005 when alot of noise was made, including here in Germany, by “Stimmen gegen Armut”. Thiswas of crucial help to Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul to win budget battles in hergovernment. And at least during these years Germany lived up to the promises forminimum increases in ODA. But what happened since?Which brings me to my next point: it is crucial to present a broad politicalspectrum, reaching out to all political parties. Don’t get stuck in the prejudice thatonly Green or Social Democratic governments do a good job. Look at the U.K.:under a Conservative government it is the only G 7 country that is not just ringfencing the Aid Budget from cuts – it is actually making good on its promise toachieve the 0.7% of GDP for Aid. By 2013!How come? Because the development movement years ago understood theimportance of reaching out and creating a strong constituency for this across partylines.
12And take the U.S.: did you know that actually over the last 20 years it wasunder Bush that its budget for aid tripled? How come? Because some ChristianDevelopment ngo’s teamed up with the Evangelical Movement to ensure globalpoverty became a strong theme under Bush’s “compassionate” conservatism”…So, where are the European ngo’s ensuring some compassion for the globalpoor within European conservative parties?And while you are working to create broad movements, think about surprisingpartners. Why not some of the big private sector bosses? Again, an example: in theNetherlands in the 70’ies and 80’ies the CEO of Shell often publicly defended thedevelopment budget. And in the U.K. Oxfam UK got the CEO of Unilever on theirplatform to demand elimination of agriculture subsidies, which undermined thelivelihood of poor producers in poor countries.But the most important group to engage is Bundestag Members. After allmaking governments accountable is their job and mandate. Parliaments hold thepurse and set the laws of the land. That is where political will can and must begenerated.So go and talk to them. Tell them that you care.Tell them that you want Germany to keep its promise to achieve the 0.7% by2015, and that you want to see a credible time path of annual budgetary increases tomake that happen.Tell them you want your taxpayer’s money to be spent effectively for povertyreduction. That you want the commitments to improve aid effectiveness to beimplemented.Tell them that you want development aid delivered in a fashion that enablespoor countries to take charge and use it for their programs to achieve the MillenniumGoals. Instead of what is the case now: a whopping 70% of German aid – accordingto the OECD - cannot be used by developing countries to fund their programs.Tell them that you want aid to go to poor countries that need it. Instead ofwhat is the case now: more than ¾ of German aid leaks to countries that do notneed external concessional resources, many of which became donors themselves:China, India and Brazil are among the top 10 recipients of your aid. Less than 25%of bilateral aid goes to Low Income Countries, with only 1 in the top 10 recipients:Afghanistan…
13Tell them you do not want aid to be used for lubricating your export marketsor for geo-politics, but for achieving the Millennium Goals in poor countries.And tell them you want them to act NOW as with only 3 ½ years left, we are inthe home stretch of the MDG’s.So let’s act. While government leaders take planes back home to business asusual, I know that you do not. And indeed, we need action now; children indeveloping countries cannot afford to wait.And neither can this world afford for yet another generation growing up in richcountries to have no clue of how their peers live elsewhere, and who are illiterate onhow their own society shares responsibility for this situation.We are the first generation that can put an end to poverty. Please act andrefuse to miss that opportunity.