#KAPTalks interviews: sustainability of development results

Ryszard Kapuscinski’s works addressed leading development issues of the 1970s, 1980s, and (arguably to a lesser extent) the 1990s.  Have the world’s development challenges changed since then?  What was the biggest challenge then and what is it now?

Kapuściński witnessed the end of the colonial world and the development challenges of his time were mainly linked to the painful process of state building. Today’s biggest challenges are global, ie not specifically limited to the developing world – climate change, asymmetrical conflict, trade barriers, irregular migration. Therefore, the Sustainable Development Goals have been adopted as a global agenda for all.

Some people dismiss sustainable development as an aspirational vision, others an unattainable fantasy, and still others absolutely necessary to our future. In this age where few seem interested in working for the collective good of all, what’s your argument to convince others that it is necessary to change the way we develop?

The development policy was born some 70 years ago and has come of age. Yet, the world community is still struggling to meet some of the objectives set back then – eg the 0,7% GNI ODA ratio formulated in 1968 by the Pearson Commission. Development policy today is rightly looking beyond the task of dealing with post colonial legacies and focuses on common global goods like access to water, limiting effects of climate change and dealing with migratory pressures. Discussion on the definition of ODA should continue at OECD DAC as further updates seems necessary.

What is the biggest challenge/hindrance to successful development?

What area of development or Global Goal do you think sustainable development hinges on? Which one is at the core of all the others?

Despite white spread perception, the main hindrance to successful development of not access to funding. The main obstacle remains sustainability of the results achieved – or still to be achieved – which hinges on much more than money – international burden sharing in dealing with global challenges, ownership by partner countries, maintaining peace and stability.

What’s the most striking thing you have personally witnessed in relation to development? i.e. a challenge, opportunity or just personal observation about a human story.

Firstly, it is the appearance of new players – private donors with global outreach, middle income countries turning into donors, South-South cooperation. Secondly, it is really striking how important the security/development nexus has become and how military and civilian institutions have developed into both providers and recipients of aid.

 

#KAPTalks interviews: multilateralism helping effective solutions

Kapuscinski challenged us in his writings to see the world as it is, and at the same time to see it in fundamentally different ways to convention. Sustainable development likewise challenges us to understand not only where we want to get to, the first sixteen ‘goals’, but through the seventeenth and the broader 2030 Agenda to shape pathways to success based on a fundamental reappraisal of both where we are and how ambitious action can be effective in today’s world.

More of the same, in a nutshell, will not get the job done. This is not just because we made bad decisions in the past, but because the world around us is changing, demanding new approaches to old as well as new problems and opportunities. The fall in global poverty and inter-country inequality over recent decades, for example, largely resulted from China’s rise, a driver that will not repeat itself any time soon. Automation will reshape labor markets and the basis of international competitive advantage in years to come in ways that require different development models as export-led growth becomes less likely for many developing countries. Climate change is now upon us, and means a world of growing numbers and impact of shocks, with livelihood, security and political implications.

Actually, we are overwhelmed by solutions as much as by oft-repeated problems. Perhaps for the first time in human history, we have the science, the technology, the finance, and the know-how to deliver on sustainable development. Our greatest challenge is in how best to organise the delivery of well understood and quite affordable solutions. Our failure to organise is widespread, from weakened multilateralism, to corporate disfunction, to inadequate civil society organisations, and to short-term financial markets. The state formations, civil forms of action and the market institutions we have inherited are proving inadequate to harness the potential of our inventiveness and make it widely available. Digitalisation provides the prospects of a frictionless world of networked opportunities, certainly, But without institutions that can form and oversee equitable rules, this technological surge is more likely to drive further instability and injustice. Our vision of society’s underpinned by human rights and individual choice is threatened by the deterioration of our belief in election-based democracies, the equalising effects of information, and our capacity to sustain empathy at scale in the face of disruption and uncertainty.

 

Our capacity to organise is inter-twinned into our evolutionary process. It is more than anything what makes us able to actualise our imagination in becoming what we are, a technological species. As a civilisational building block, we exist as long as we can organise in ways that are commensurate with new challenges and opportunities. Reforming the UN is but one tip of this imperative. We need likewise to reinvent the purpose and logic of business and the state, and their respective interfaces with each other and the underlying, organic dynamics of self-organisation.

 

#KAPTalks interviews: Kapuscinski’s concern about voices of people

When Ryszard Kapuscinski was addressing development issues, the world was clearly divided into blocs: the First World of advanced capitalist countries; the Second World of communist and socialist states; and the Third World of impoverished nations. There was little connection between these worlds and even less understanding or desire to be informed of others’ conditions. Kapuscinski’s great contribution was to bring these divides into focus and to help people in one bloc understand what was happening in other blocs, especially in the Third World. Today, such distinctions are irrelevant. Thanks to social media there is a torrent of information about everyone’s lives, sometimes accurate, but sometimes distorted. With globalization, people are also more concerned with, and aware of, what is happening in other countries. There is a greater continuum among countries along the development scale. Countries can no longer be easily classified into simple categories—both China and India have space programs as well as pockets of abject poverty. Should they be called underdeveloped? In many instances, the challenges of development today are as much about the distribution of income and differences in living standards of people within countries rather than between countries.

Many of the issues that Kapuscinski wrote about remain relevant today. His stories of revolutions, coups and wars have today morphed into stories of “fragile states,” but the basic concept is the same. States without governments that enjoy the support of their own populations provide staging posts for outbreaks of violence and extremism and cannot be expected to develop. The nature of violence may have shifted from wars and revolutions to non-state actors and criminal elements, but the problem remains.

Kapuscinski was intimately concerned with people and people’s voices. He would find the idea of working for the collective good rather strange. But this does not mean that sustainable development is merely aspirational. It means that we need to find ways to connect global problems and issues more closely with people’s own lives and livelihoods. For example, it is no accident that China is emerging as one of the world leaders in low-carbon technologies. This is largely because China’s cities have become so polluted that citizens cry out for better solutions. The hugely positive impact on the rest of the world is a convenient by-product. What remains unclear, however, is whether these win-win incentives will be sufficient to achieve the pace and scale of the needed global change. So far, there are still plenty of win-win solutions available. We’ve not yet tested the frontier where real trade-offs might become necessary.

These connections between global issues and national issues must be made by leaders at the State and community level. Kapuscinski wrote extensively about leaders and their personal idiosyncracies. These could easily become the most important obstacles to development. Then, as now, the foibles of leaders were revealed. In The Emperor, he was characteristically forthright: “the King of Kings preferred bad ministers. And the King of Kings preferred them because he liked to appear in a favorable light by contrast.” Such idiosyncracies, and the personal patronage that leaders use to retain power, remain central obstacles for development, creating the conditions for widespread corruption, bribery and flattery, as well as the dimming of individual enterprise towards betterment of family and community. All of which we refer to today as “bad governance” but that was described by Kapuscinski as the lack of institutions and reliance on personalities in all political systems.

Yet despite these failings, there has been astonishing progress since the time when Kapuscinski was writing. In his long career, he never witnessed the transformation of societies in the same way as modern development practitioners have. Take the case of Lao PDR, one of the poorest countries in the world in the mid-1980’s. When I first went in 1988, Laos had a GDP per capita of only $308 according to the IMF. Small boys would turn their heads to look at my car, such was the rarity. They “fished” for bats to be made into soup in the capital city of Vientiane. Shortly thereafter, Laos started a program of reforms and development of its considerable hydropower and minerals sector. Today, in the span of one generation, Laos has achieved a GDP per capita of $2,700. Even adjusting for inflation, it is four and one-half times richer than thirty years ago. Development progress has been halting and uneven, with many of the problems of governance so richly detailed by Kapuscinski, but progress in material conditions of the people has been real: life expectancy has risen from 54 years to 67 years (1990 to 2015); expected years of schooling has risen from 6.7 years to 10.8; over one third of the population now has at least some secondary education; and so on. While still a poor country, Lao PDR offers opportunities for a new generation that were unthinkable for the last. It is being transformed.

 

 

#KAPTalks interviews: leave no one behind

Ryszard Kapuscinski’s works addressed leading development issues of the 1970s, 1980s, and (arguably to a lesser extent) the 1990s.  Have the world’s development challenges changed since then?  What was the biggest challenge then and what is it now?

In the period of the 1970s and 80s, development was largely seen in terms of modernisation and economic growth. Key challenges turned on enabling countries to establish stable, growing economies through an appropriate balance between industrialisation and agriculture and rural development. Concerns with poverty reduction and social development challenges such as health, education and gender were growing in significance, but often marginalised. And as the neo-liberal era of the 1980s set in, the state-led development agendas of the 1970s gave way to the promotion of free markets. Through the 1980s and into the 1990s, dealing with the fallout of structural adjustment and related programs through a renewed emphasis on human development came to be seen as a critical challenge, with states and civil society organisations frequently assuming responsibility.

The last few decades have witnessed major progress in these aspects of economic and social development in many parts of the world. Yet they also reveal a series of paradoxes and contradictions. First, growth has accelerated in many countries but has been accompanied by growing inequalities of many kinds. Global income growth has been very unevenly shared, concentrated in rising middle classes in India and China and in a booming global elite, but with the poorest percentiles locked out, and a declining shared of growth amongst the middle classes in the developed world. Old industrialised countries, emerging middle income ones, and poorer countries are almost all experiencing rising economic inequalities. These intersect – nationally, and in terms of people’s lived experiences – with other kinds of inequaity – social and gender, cultural, political, and in terms of place and knowledge. Inequalities matter fundamentally because they are unfair and unjust, but they also affect other development proprities. Inequality can hamper economic growth, and certainly reduces the impact of that growth on poverty reduction. Health and nutrition are worse in countries with higher income inequality. Inequalities are threatening our democracies, and contributing to rises in conflict – and more.

Second, dominant development paths are proving deeply unsustainable in environmental terms, with climate change, biodiversity loss, land and water degradation and pollution threatening our ability to thrive on a pressurised planet. What were relatively marginal development issues in the 1970s and 80s have moved centre-stage, with growing attention going hand in hand with growing evidence of trends in human-induced climate and environmental change, and its devastating impacts on lives, livelihoods and societies across the world. Development has, by necessity, become sustainable development, and a central challenge is to find and unlock pathways which can ensure human thriving while avoiding further threats to our biophysical life support systems.

Third, the burden of insecurity, and its counterpart, lack of inclusion, affects historic numbers of people across the world on a daily basis. Both nation states and the international community have invested intensively in military security, yet conflict and violence affect many people’s lives. Many face complex, protracted emergencies in which political insecurity intersects with disease epidemics and natural disasters. We have a growing migrant crisis as unprecedented numbers of people leave their countries to escape war, repressive regimes, political alienation or economic hardship. While political participation is given more attention, there is growing distrust in political institutions. Technological innovations offer once unimagined opportunities, yet are also exposing people to new threats, exclusions and invasions of privacy.

In this context, development needs to move from a narrow focus on economic growth and poverty, to navigating complex challenges in ways that reduce inequalities and build more sustainable, inclusive and secure futures for people and societies. (i) Reducing inequalities, (ii) Accelerating sustainability and (iii) Building inclusive and secure societies can be seen as the major defining challenges of our time. Yet there are no single motorways or roadmaps to progress in this new era of development. Multiple and flexible pathways of change and transformation that adapt and respond to diverse contexts, needs and priorities will be required, supported by new ways of thinking, acting and collaborating.

Some people dismiss sustainable development as an aspirational vision, others an unattainable fantasy, and still others absolutely necessary to our future. In this age where few seem interested in working for the collective good of all, what’s your argument to convince others that it is necessary to change the way we develop?

Climate change, biodiversity loss, the degradation of land, vegetation and water resources, pollution whether of the air we breathe or of rivers and oceans increasingly choked with chemicals and plastic – these problems are inextricably linked and affect people across the world. They are the consequences of dominant development pathways which have brought prosperity to some, but at deep cost to non-human nature and people’s safety, health and livelihoods locally and globally. Indeed, there is growing evidence that current development paths risk irreversible damage to the earth’s biophysical life support systems, with further shocks and stresses in store that will affect us all, undo development progress and block it for future generations. There is therefore an urgent need to seek new development pathways that are both sustainable, and equitable. These will require transformative, not just incremental change, recognising that business as usual is not an option, and fundamental shifts are needed in some of the key structures, institutions, systems and norms that shape our societies and economies, along with the transformational politics to deliver these. While this is a major challenge, it is not unattainable. Transformations to sustainability are already happening in some places and around some issues, led both by top-down international and government action and policies, and crucially by grassroots action by citizens in rural and urban settings. Building the political momentum to intensify and grow these initiatives, and to challenge the ‘lock-ins’ that block pathways to sustainability, are key tasks ahead.

What is the biggest challenge/hindrance to successful development?

What area of development or Global Goal do you think sustainable development hinges on? Which one is at the core of all the others?

The Global Goals lay out an ambitious and important agenda for both people and planet, to which all countries have committed. This is a vital and positive step in meeting the challenges of sustainable development. All 17 goals are important, and it is in their combination that progress by 2030 and beyond can be expected. There are also important synergies and tensions between the goals which need to be acknowledged and addressed. For instance meeting the goal for food production could compromise the water goal if agricultural strategies do not take into account surface and groundwater needs; on the other hand opportunitie exist for multiple wins in addressing food, energy and water together. Addressing climate change goals and targets could compromise goals around poverty, tackling inequality and gneder equality if technological and market schemes dispossess local people of rights and livelihoods; on the other hand appropriate policies and strategies could address all these goals together, for instance by building on grassroots initiatives with women’s leadership, or building in appropriate safeguards. Because of these interactions, it is not appropriate to define any particular goal as the most important for sustainable development. People do not live their lives in separate silo-like goals, and nor should responsive, transformative development.

Alongside the significance of the SDGs themselves are their cross-cutting principles and approaches. The imperative to ‘leave no one behind’ is a vital step in forging a development agenda that is genuinely inclusive, and which tackles extreme forms of marginalisation – whether related to poverty, ethnicity, disability, peace, gender or intersections of these. The SDGs are also universal, applying to all countries and people. This is a is a major step in dismantling the problematic divides between so-called North and South, developed and developing country, which have pervaded so much aid and development discourse and practice. Instead, we can now look properly to development as positive change for everyone, everywhere. We can fully acknowledge and address the global-local interconnections between people and places around challenges such as climate, finance, food, and pandemics. And we can forge a development agenda that is about mutual and multi-way learning and co-operation in all directions.

What’s the most striking thing you have personally witnessed in relation to development? i.e. a challenge, opportunity or just personal observation about a human story.

I’ve witnessed and experienced many striking things in relation to development, but a story from recent times illustrates some of the themes I have addressed above: the importance of interconnected challenges in a complex world, and the importance of combining different forms of knowledge and practice – grassroots as well a sglobal, social as well as technical – to address them.

The spectre of a deadly disease emerging in a remote place, spreading rapidly to become a global pandemic is the stuff of nightmares. This ‘global outbreak narrative’ fuels popular media, and now a new wave of global ‘pandemic preparedness policy’. Ebola has become paradigmatic, topping the World Health Organisation’s latest priority disease list. This isn’t just because Ebola is a particularly dramatic haemorraghic fever transmitted through body fluids and killing more than half those infected, but also because in 2014-2015 the global outbreak narrative came true. The Ebola epidemic that began in the village of Meliandou in the Guinea-Sierra Leone-Liberia border region in December 2013 spread fast through the towns and trade routes of this highly-peopled, mobile region, and cases – and fear of them – reached neighbouring countries, Europe, the US and the world. By January 2016 when all countries were finally declared Ebola-free, the death toll was just over 11,000, with 17,000 survivors struggling with the medical and social fallout. It was a devastating crisis – but it could have been much worse. The story of grassroots and social knowledge is critical to this.

Why was this? The problem was that by August 2014, when the World Health Organization belatedly declared the epidemic to be a so-called „public health emergency of international concern”, it was already out of control, with scientists predicting not thousands but millions of deaths. The early international response by humanitarian agencies had foundered, largely for socio-cultural reasons. Many villagers suspected that both the virus, and alleged attempts to control it, were plots to repress their livelihoods and practices, or even kill them. Villagers stoned response agencies’ vehicles and dug trenches across their bush roads to keep them out. People hid and cared for their patients in their remote farm camps rather than bring them to Ebola Treatment Units, and sometimes ‘stole back’ patients treated there. Funerals were quickly identified as a key moment for transmission, when bodies are at their most infectious, and local practices involve touching and visits by kin – yet people resented and resisted the external teams sent in to conduct so-called safe burials. And as the response scaled up, so did local anxieties about it.

Really worried about what was unfolding, a group of anthropologists in Sierra Leone and the UK who had worked for decades in the region on various development-related issues wondered what we could do. We set up an Ebola Response Anthropology Platform, and established links with networks of concerned anthropologists that also emerged in West Africa, Europe and the US. Together. We mobilised social science knowledge in real-time to re-shape the public health and humanitarian response, away from the top-down approach that was clashing so badly with local values and fuelling resistance that magnified the crisis, and towards a more respectful, community-engaged approach that appreciated and built on people’s own social and cultural logics, practices and innovations.

Take funerals: our work showed the need to see them as part of a longer period of caring for the extremely sick by kin; and their social and cultural significance, ensuring people become ancestors, social faults are addressed, and matters of inheritance settled. At one point there was a stand-off in a Kissi village where a pregnant woman had died of Ebola; villagers insisted that the fetus be removed before burial, to avoid the social fault of ‘maa’, in which regenerative cycles of generations are mixed, with devastating consequences for land, crops and people. The burial team refused because of the infection risk. Mediation by an anthropologist and a local healer helped broker a creative alternative; a sacrifice that would appease the relevant spirits without the fetus being removed. As in examples like this, communities were willing to adapt their practices to balance social and infection risk; but agencies needed to appreciate their social significance to support this balancing. Such understanding fed directly into new guidelines for ‘safe and dignified burials’ with community involvement.

Or take local anxieties about the response: far from being the ignorance based ‘rumours’ that agencies initially assumed, our work showed their logics embedded in the region’s experience of development and inequalities. The idea that foreign agencies might be trying to depopulate an area to take land – or that Ebola is being spread by white miners – are all too feasible given people’s lived experiences of land and resource grabs and disposession. One of the most devastating incidents in the epidemic, when villagers in the Guinea forest village of Womeh out of fear attacked and killed a 6 person Ebola sensitisation team, happened less than 10 km from Mt. Simandou, the planned site of the largest integrated iron-ore mine and infrastructure project ever developed in Africa by Rio Tinto Group, BSG Resources and the Aluminium Corporation of China (Chinalco). Ebola also became embroiled in longstanding ethnic and political tensions. For instance in Guinea, the epidemic’s epicentres in the forest and coastal regions are also heartlands of ethnic groups opposed to the Malinke-led party in power. A politicised response by government was easily interpreted as genocide. By explaining these tensions, we were able to support agencies to tailor their messages and teams – for instance by working through ethnically trusted or neutral officials.

Our Platform directly shaped humanitarian and development strategies. It supported the UK government’s strategy in Sierra Leone, becoming a first-time social science sub-committee of the UK Government Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), directly advising the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientist. Impacts included the decision to develop Community Care Centres for initial triage and isolation of cases, as a more acceptable and accessible alternative to the large Ebola Treatment Units which people so feared. We also directly informed the social mobilisation efforts of the Sierra Leone government and NGO-led Social Mobilisation Action Consortium, highlighting how community learning and behaviour change was turning the epidemic round, and how to build on this in ‘Community Lead Action on Ebola’ efforts which eventually reached 67% of communities in Sierra Leone.

International agencies have recognised this. Margaret Chan of WHO said in 2015 ‘we have learned the lessons of community and culture’, and WHO’s re-vamped Health Emergencies Programme has a major emphasis on community engagement, as does UNICEF’s new Health Emergency Preparedness Initiative (HEPI). The importance of social science knowledge has been recognised – at the invitation of UNICEF and USAID we’re now running a broader social science in humanitarian action platform, and agencies are calling for the development of social science protocols to be ready for quick use in further outbreaks, of all priority diseases.

Outbreaks and potential pandemics will recur in our current and future development era – although when and where we cannot be certain. These are part of the protracted crises that affect so many. What I think we can be sure of is that alongside medical technologies and epidemiology, social knowledge – and the ability to mobilise it in real time – will be critical parts of the world’s ability to be ready and respond, and crucial to addressing humanitarian and development issues.

 

 

#KAPTalks interviews: bold leadership needed

Ryszard Kapuscinski’s works addressed leading development issues of the 1970s, 1980s, and (arguably to a lesser extent) the 1990s.  Have the world’s development challenges changed since then?  What was the biggest challenge then and what is it now?

I disagreed with Kapuściński, when he claimed: “We know everything about the global problem of poverty. What we can’t figure out is how to reduce it in practical terms. [The moment we try] there appear obstacles that cannot be surmounted, and interests one cannot go against

In fact, when I founded the UN Millennium Campaign in 2002, I insisted: we are the first generation that can put an end to extreme poverty: we know what to do, we have the resources, and we have the commitments of the world’s governments to do what it takes. But it requires political will: and lack of that was a challenge at the time – and even more, today. Political will only materializes when politicians feel they can win elections by doing the right thing: it is up to us, citizens and civil society to make these issues vote-getters.

And indeed, the Millennium Development Goals were broadly achieved, as (according to the UN SG in 2003) “There has been …most importantly mobilization far beyond governments by Civil Society, among parliamentarians, faith-based communities and local authorities.” Alas, in the present climate of growing xenophobia and nationalism, it became much harder to mobilize citizens in favor of international responsibility and solidarity and get the message to politicians.

Some people dismiss sustainable development as an aspirational vision, others an unattainable fantasy, and still others absolutely necessary to our future. In this age where few seem interested in working for the collective good of all, what’s your argument to convince others that it is necessary to change the way we develop?

Everybody wants a better life for their children and grandchildren. Obviously already much of the quality of life as we enjoyed it, clean air and waters, beautiful fauna and flora, is being lost. We are failing the imperative to pass on this planet to the next generation in as good shape as we inherited it from our parents. And to care about the planet implies caring about people, as poverty is the greatest polluter. This is what sustainable development is about…

 What is the biggest challenge/hindrance to successful development?

The real problem is that government leaders come to international meetings, make beautiful speeches and sign up for ambitious promises; and then take back the plane from New York or Paris home, to business as usual, instead of meeting with their Cabinet members to discuss what their signature implies, per sector, for all the different portfolio’s Ministers hold – from health to finance and trade, and regularly monitor implementation of the actions agreed.

And they can get away with this, as they are not being held to account by their own citizens and Parliaments, the only ones that can do so, as the UN cannot send the police to a country that fails to live up to its promises. There is no point in producing global norms and goals unless they are translated in concrete political action at country level.

And it is not only lofty UN Declarations that gather dust without being implemented. Treaties might suffer this fate: the 2007 Lisbon Treaty requires all EU’s policies to be consistent with its external policies, including fostering sustainable development whose primary aim is the eradication of poverty and helping the environment. But until this day the EU’s common agricultural policies continue to pollute the environment and hurt poor producers in developing countries.

What area of development or Global Goal do you think sustainable development hinges on? Which one is at the core of all the others?

 Goal 1 – Poverty – is in my view – the overarching goal. I see all other goals as instruments and/or issues to be tackled in order to achieve this first goal. And given the relationship between poverty and the health of our planet, reaching the first goal is also paramount for environmental sustainability.

What’s the most striking thing you have personally witnessed in relation to development? i.e. a challenge, opportunity or just personal observation about a human story. 

On more than one occasion I met poor African women, empowered by a little extra income, thanks to access to minimal resources or assets, proudly telling me that now they could afford to send their daughters to school and how that would ensure she would have a much better life that they had. These encounters never failed to move me deeply; and to make me realize that this is at the heart of what the development is all about.

#KAPTalks interviews: Global Goals need more work

When Ryszard Kapuscinski was putting pen to paper, the biggest global challenge was human poverty, including high mortality among children and mothers, widespread malnutrition and persistent illiteracy. Since then, respectable progress has been made. Perhaps the most striking statistic is that some 18,600 fewer cases of infant and child deaths occurred each day in 2015 compared with 1990; notwithstanding the significant rise in the world population over that period. But progress was not observed across the board. Deforestation, overfishing and pollution has continued unabated, jeopardising the planet’s biodiversity, and greenhouse gas emissions have soured. The picture can be summarized by the one-liner Progress for people, regress for the planet.

Whilst human poverty still requires hard work, it no longer constitutes the prime global challenge. The most pressing one now is twofold: sustainable and equitable development. The world is not facing two separate challenges—environmental and societal, with fragmentation and polarisation of all sorts—but one complex inter-connected challenge in which inequality occupies a central role. Evidence shows, for instance, that people in more equitable countries are more environmentally friendly across the board: they consume less water for personal use, produce less waste and emit less CO2.

Girl in a jacket

Although the SDGs represent a better framework to respond to this dual challenge than did the MDGs, they are too muddle-headed to be effective. The goals regarding climate change and inequality rank in thirteenth and tenth position respectively—suggesting they do not really constitute top priorities. Moreover, their relevant targets are flawed. The stated target for inequality aims to ‘progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40% of the population at a rate higher than the national average’. The metric for inequality is faulty because it fails to capture the entire distribution and ignores the top 10%. Inequality is not only due to the poverty of the poor but also to the wealth of the wealthy. It is perfectly possible for a country to meet the above-mentioned target and yet witness an increase in inequality. If faster income growth for the bottom 40% is based on transfers from the next 50% whilst the top 10% of the distribution are left unaffected, then the country will indeed see a rise in inequality. A hollowing out of the middle class is being observed in many a country.

The significance of high inequality cannot to be underestimated, because it influences the way people feel, think and act. We do not only crave for status and constantly compare ourselves with others, we also mimic the behaviour of others, especially those at the top, to whom we look up in awe whilst feeling contempt for those lower on the social ladder. We inadvertently internalise the values, the opinions and even the interpretation of events of those whom we admire. This can have deleterious effects on our moral sentiments, giving rise to more incivility. People voluntarily abstain from acts that are individually beneficial but socially harmful as long as others do so too. But once wealth is perceived as an entitlement to selfish behaviour, it will quickly cascade down the social ladder and good behaviour quickly evaporates. Psychology professor Paul Piff conducted experiments that show that respondents who were made to feel rich were ‘more likely to break the law while driving, to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies, and to cheat to win a prize’. Other studies reveal that individual tendencies of self-absorption, bragging and self-aggrandisement are most prevalent in more unequal countries. In short, high inequality harms more than just the economy; it affects all aspects of development.

Considerable work remains to realise the potential of the SDGs. The good news is that several of their flaws can be fixed. First, each and every country must cut the long list of SDG targets to a manageable level by prioritising them to fit the reality on the ground. Second, the fuzziness of many SDG targets must be swapped for conceptually clarity, because wooly targets cannot be verifiably monitored. Third, numerical outcomes must be tailored to reflect local realities. It is unreasonable to expect that all countries will progress at the same rate. Global targets are always collective in nature, and must never be imposed on each country individually. Selection and adaptation are urgent steps, given that the SDGs have gotten little traction so far. One thing I have learnt is that development is always context-specific, driven by local priorities, local actors and local institutions. There can be no universal agenda with one-size-fit-all targets for all countries. International and regional organisations are yet to take effective steps to encourage and support member states in selecting and adapting the SDGs to their specific situation.

Finally, more fitting indicators must be selected to monitor progress. Regarding income inequality, the Palma ratio—income share of the top 10% divided by that of the bottom 40%—is a better metric because it covers more of the distribution than just the bottom 40%. In addition, all vital statistics and other relevant indicators for human development must be equity-adjusted, by attaching more weight to the lower quintiles than to the higher ones. Given the increased availability of better and more disaggregated data, it is now possible to adjust key national indicators to reflect inequalities within a country, following a straightforward methodology for producing equity-adjusted statistics. By embedding inequality into national statistics, countries will occupy a different place in international rankings, depending on how unequal they are. This is likely to generate a much-needed focus on inequality across the board, which is overdue because high inequality constitutes a major hindrance to achieving sustainable development. 

Jan Vandemoortele, PhD., co-architect of the MDGs, served with UNDP and UNICEF in various countries and at headquarters.

#KAPTalks interviews: democractic empowerment of majorities

Ryszard Kapuscinski’s works addressed leading development issues of the 1970s, 1980s, and (arguably to a lesser extent) the 1990s.  Have the world’s development challenges changed since then?  What was the biggest challenge then and what is it now?

There have been significant changes in the leading approaches to development: in the agents and agencies taking charge of it, in the theories and values guiding them, in the goals they prioritize, and in the academic analysis and journalistic commentary accompanying development work. Still, the real challenges are akin to what they were half a century ago. Billions of human beings still are at risk of undernourishment, malnutrition, communicable diseases or death from neonatal or maternal conditions. Billions still lack clean water, sanitation, shelter, electricity, basic health care or elementary education. Back in Kapuscinski’s day, the world was rich and productive enough to avoid these massive deprivations but instead chose to spend its riches on an incredibly expensive arms race, an incredibly destructive war in South East Asia and an extravagant but exciting space program. Today, with global average income some 130% higher in real terms and after spectacular advances in science and technology, humanity is even much more capable of avoiding such deprivations. But this will not happen so long as a small global elite runs this planet, capturing 46% of global wealth for its 36 million millionaires while confining humanity’s poorer half to less than 1%.

While inequality remains the key foe of development, there has been a significant shift from inequality’s international to its intra-national component. While the logarithmic distance between the poorest and richest countries has remained about the same, international Gini inequality has declined as some very large developing countries have been rapidly catching up to the global average.

For the world’s poor, this decline in international inequality has been nullified by significant increases in intra-national inequality – not merely in India and China, but pretty much everywhere in the world (least so in Latin America, where intra-national inequality was at nosebleed levels even in the 1960s). So the poorer half of the world’s population is still left behind economically, still socially and politically marginalized if not excluded. But the countries in which most of them live now command much more influence on the international stage. While the high-income countries peaked at 85% of the world economy in 1992 and have since declined to 64%, China’s share bottomed at 1.7% in 1981 and has since increased to 16%. Where developing countries had little or no influence on the design of the global economy 50 years ago, they have substantial influence today, especially where they engage in South-South collaboration (as in BRICS or IBSA). Today’s problem is that, all too often, this influence is exerted in behalf of small Southern elites rather than for the benefit of the majority – and also that the world’s poor find themselves increasingly disempowered, excluded and ignored by the politicians of their own countries.

Some people dismiss sustainable development as an aspirational vision, others an unattainable fantasy, and still others see it as absolutely necessary to our future. In this age where few seem interested in working for the collective good of all, what’s your argument to convince others that it is necessary to change the way we develop?

The expression “sustainable development” brings together two different projects: to avert climate change and to eradicate poverty. These two projects are superficially at odds as is often pointed out by saying: “just imagine what the world would be like if those who are now poor attained the affluent lifestyles common in Germany, Japan or Maryland! Our planet would be ruined even faster.” This appearance is often exploited and entrenched by those who, for whatever reasons, oppose either project. They are quick to exclaim either that we should not vigorously fight climate change because doing so would impose intolerable burdens on the poor or that we should not vigorously fight poverty because doing so would accelerate environmental disaster.

I have two main arguments against such claims of tension.

First, severe poverty can be eradicated through economic growth or through a reduction in economic inequality (or through some combination of the two). Adopting the former method, we might seek a quadrupling of the gross world product, hoping that doing so would “lift all boats,” thus quadrupling the income of the world’s poor as well. Such an anti-poverty strategy would court ecological disaster. But then the horrendous magnitude of accumulated inequality makes it possible for us to adopt the latter method instead: to make enormous progress against poverty even without any further global economic growth. We could, for example, quadruple the income of humanity’s poorer half (from 4.5% to 18% of gross world product) by shrinking the income share of the richest quarter by merely one sixth (from 85% to 71%). To be sure, the fourfold income increase in humanity’s poorer half would have adverse ecological effects. But these would be largely or wholly offset by the ecological benefits of reduced income in the richest quarter (fewer private planes and yachts, reduced air travel, smaller cars, less waste of consumption goods, etc.).

Second, as longitudinal and cross-country studies spectacularly confirm, poverty eradication has a massive negative effect on total fertility rates (average children per woman), especially when it comes with improved educational and employment opportunities for women and girls. Some poor populations in Africa – Niger, Angola, Mali – still have TFRs over 6, while the EU’s TFR is 1.58 and TFRs in more than 100 mostly affluent countries have fallen below 2.00 (implying that their populations will decline). Humanity’s future population size is one crucially important factor in humanity’s future ecological footprint. The UN Population Division currently forecasts that humankind will number between 9.6 and 13.2 billion in the year 2100 (90% probability), with pretty much all of the increase occurring in the less developed regions (mostly in Africa). With a serious anti-poverty offensive, TFRs among the currently poorest populations would fall much faster than predicted and humanity could peak at 9 billion in 2050 and return to the current 7.5 billion by century’s end. By reducing the size of the year-2100 population by one third (relative to the current median projection of 11.2 billion) and the size of later populations by even more, a serious effort against poverty could bring dramatic relief in the struggle to avert climate change, resource depletion and other ecological hazards.

The arguments I have sketched will convince those who are interested in working for the collective good of all. The rest are, I fear, hard to convince, especially if they are affluent. Rich people are above all mobile and can use golden passport programs to relocate away from areas that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change or poverty (into the US Northwest, perhaps, or into safe parts of Canada, New Zealand, Chile, Russia or South Africa). And they will rationally prefer doing so over giving up even just one sixth of their income for the sake of eradicating poverty and preserving our beautiful planet. Once they will have pulled out their investments – or even have gone short – they will care nothing about the fate of Venice, Mumbai, Rio, Cape Town, Christchurch, Miami or Bangladesh.

What area of development or Global Goal do you think sustainable development hinges on? Which one is at the core of all the others? 

The fundamental problem of sustainable development is the problem of political empowerment or, to put it negatively, the problem of regulatory capture. Political power in this world has been seized by a small international elite of super-rich financiers, tycoons and politicians who, abetted by armies of well-trained accountants, lawyers and lobbyists, capture an ever-increasing share of the social product. Their fortunes and machinations are shrouded in secrecy as over a hundred secrecy jurisdictions compete to keep their assets hidden under layers of anonymous accounts, shell companies and fake trusts. Such people dominate politics in most developing countries and thereby control the basic resources on which we all depend: food, fossil fuels, metals and other minerals. They dominate politics in the United States, where the practice of bribing elected politicians through future employment or contributions to their campaigns and political action committees (PACs) is protected by the Supreme Court. And through their exorbitant influence on national governments, they also dominate international rulemaking through treaties and conventions as well as through the associated international organizations and agencies (WTO, IMF, OECD, etc.) in charge of interpreting, refining and applying international rules.

These rich and powerful people are, for the most part, not evil, nor even ill-disposed toward the poor. But they do have a special affection for their own fortunes and therefore use their disproportional political power toward defending and increasing their own outsized shares of the social product. They do so by evading their tax obligations (even in civilized and public-spirited Scandinavia, the richest 0.01% of the population – with wealth above USD 40 million – evade about 30% of their taxes on average). They do so by deploying their financial and political power to reduce or eliminate taxes on the rich and social safety and social mobility programs for the rest of the population. And they do so by organizing and supporting elaborate propaganda efforts designed to show that things are getting better and better for ordinary people (the Gates-Pinker-Roser team) and that those in power care deeply about preserving our planet and “leaving no one behind” (the Millennium/Sustainable Development Goals exercises and the Paris Agreement).

This is not to say that the global elite acts in close coordination, as part of some grand conspiracy created and sustained at Davos or Bilderberg meetings. Political, finance and business leaders often compete, clash, even destroy one another as they seek to enhance their own power at one another’s expense. Still, the net effect of their exertions favors their shared interests over those of the vast majority of the human population who are feeling increasingly confused, helpless and demoralized, often blaming unloved minorities or themselves for their economic, social and political marginalization. Though disunited, the elites together maintain a public culture and institutional arrangements that systematically impede human development and keep billions in at a level of severe poverty that has long ago become wholly avoidable.

The democratic empowerment of these majorities is the fundamental problem of development. And a formidable problem it is! Over the last forty years, the elites have greatly increased their economic advantage over the rest, keeping billions in conditions of severe poverty where they must focus their energies on the survival of their families rather than on fighting for political reform. This increasing gap is magnified by huge advantages in education and especially in technology – such as surveillance, big data, disinformation, artificial intelligence, all of which are overwhelmingly used by and for the elites. Democratic movements exist (witness the Bernie Sanders campaign) and still have a genuine chance to win here and there. But without some important democratic victories in the near future, we will slide farther into a world of extreme inequality in which the lives of the vast majority will be blighted by poverty, marginalization and increasingly severe environmental burdens. We don’t have much time.

#KAPTalks interviews: go beyond project-level development

Taming Cerberus: the new challenge of international development

The framing of the Sustainable Development Goals provides an important reminder that there is still far to go in building ‘the world we want’. To take just one example, 22% of all children under five were stunted in 2017: that is 150 million children whose current life and future prospects are blighted by undernutrition. The SDGs set clear goals on all aspects of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.

It would be wrong, however, not to recognise the progress made since the UN’s first Development Decade in the 1960s. At the beginning of that decade, for example, and to take one country example, Tanzania, about a quarter of children could expect to die before the age of 5; by 2016, that had fallen to under 6%. Higher living standards, better nutrition, improved health care, and the impact of immunisation have all played their part. And, yes, of course, there is still more to do, in Tanzania and many other countries.

It is remarkable, however, that in 2017, there are only 34 countries officially classified as ‘low income’, with per capita income of $US 995 or less. Most of those turn out to be conflict-affected, or otherwise fragile states. Syria is on the list, Afghanistan, North Korea . . . These are not text book ‘developing countries’ with the usual problems of Government capacity and budget shortfalls. Instead, they represent a different kind of challenge, requiring large amounts of humanitarian aid, but also deep engagement in peace-making, peace-keeping and reconstruction. Development agencies need to work in new ways, often in close cooperation with foreign ministries and the armed forces. The UN, of course, has unique legitimacy in these contexts.

There is a further issue, which is that the SDGs provide an excellent vision of a desired end-point, but a rather poor road map of how to get there. Should action be taken uniformly on all goals simultaneously, or do choices need to be made? The answer, of course, is that development strategies need to be locally-specific and locally-owned. Beware, then, SDG box-ticking.

Furthermore, reaching all or some of the SDGs means hitting a moving target, because the world is changing fast. There are three fundamental drivers. First, the uneven impact of globalisation, driving political discourse in many countries as some citizens advance and others are left behind. Second, automation, which will create and destroy jobs on a global scale. And third, climate change, with mountains to climb if Paris targets are to be met, again with global consequences. This is about taming Cerberus, the mythical dog with three fierce heads, but a single body. Indeed, in all these cases, the test facing policy-makers is to manage disruptive change on a world scale: in effect to deliver an industrial revolution which manages the social disruption associated with transformation, and manages public policy and the sequencing of interventions so as to deliver benefits to all.

Can it be done? Yes, if a path can be found between free-market neoliberalism and inward-looking populism. History teaches many lessons about: the role of people’s voice, including unions and civic organisations; the need to secure basic service provision, including social protection; the role of the state in supporting innovation; and the regulatory foundation of equitable and sustainable growth. The free market left to itself will not deliver these public goods; nor will policy which ignores the need for global engagement and collaboration.

Development actors can no longer concentrate on project-level interventions. Instead, they need to look beyond the SDGs and recognise the complexity of present and future challenges.

 

Challenging inequalities and unsustainabilities

When: 2nd November 2016 at 4:00 pm GMT / 5:00 pm CET (check time around the world).

Wherethe Paccar Theatre, Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin

You can join the lecture by:

  • coming to the event in Dublin (registration required – below)
  • following livestreaming from the event at kapuscinskilectures.eu
  • asking your questions to Melissa Leach via Twitter using #KAPTalks hashtag

[registration]

Across the world, the rise of multiple forms of inequality, and growing environmental problems such as climate change and resource degradation, present defining challenges of our era. These challenges are interlinked, and affect people locally, nationally and globally with devastating consequences for wellbeing and security, and for the achievement of global development goals. Yet pathways to more equal and sustainable futures are possible. These involve innovative combinations of top-down and bottom-up strategies, and novel alliances between states, markets, technologies – and crucially, the knowledge and action of citizens themselves. As examples from urban and rural settings in Asia and Africa show, power and politics are critical in enabling such pathways to unfold, and shaping whether they add up to the transformational change needed to secure more equal, sustainable futures.   

Development goals – brilliant propaganda?

[<a href=”//storify.com/kapulectures/thomas-pogge-how-sustainable-are-our-development-g” target=”_blank”>View the story „Ways to improve sustainable development goals” on Storify</a>]

Development assistance in a new world

Extreme poverty has been halved and people have never been richer, healthier or better educated. More than 600 million people have been brought out of poverty in China alone. But average global improvement is of little help for the over one billion people still living in extreme poverty. The world will come together this year at the UN to agree on the complete eradication of extreme poverty by 2030 and a new set of sustainable development goals. For the first time in human history, we have the knowledge and resources to eradicate poverty while preserving the planet.

Most important is policies. We must learn from success and do more of what works. Child mortality has been reduced by two thirds in Ethiopia and that alone has saved more lives per year than the number of people dying in all global wars combined. Schoolchildren in Vietnam are now doing better at school than children in much richer OCD countries. Korea has gone from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the richest in a few generations. Young Koreans are 390 times richer than their grandparents were!  Lithuania has successfully transitioned into a democratic market economy and is now one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. There are so many stories of successful development. We must replicate these successes on a global scale.

Money is also important. Global aid remains stable at record high levels and reached $135 billion last year. Development aid has increased by 66% since 2000. And new donors are adding to this. China is now a major provider of aid. India, Indonesia and Brazil are giving as well as receiving aid. The United Arab Emirates is the most generous country in the world, giving 1.17% of national income to development assistance. Turkey is above the OECD average, hugely generous to Syrian refugees and increased spending by 8% last year. Hungary and Estonia increased development aid more than anyone at 25% and 19% last year. We need more and better aid! But we also need to use aid to mobilize the two biggest sources of development finance in the world: Private investments and tax!

Come and learn more when Erik Solheim, Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, an alliance of the world’s main donors, talk about development aid in a new world.

When: 13th May 2015 at 5:00pm EEST / 4:00pm CET (check time around the world).

Where: International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University, Vokieciu st. 10, Vilnius.

You can join the lecture by:

  • coming to the event in Vilnius
  • following livestreaming from the event at kapuscinskilectures.eu
  • asking your questions to Erik Solheim via Twitter using #KAPTalks hashtag

Register here for the event:
[registration]

Human relations at heart of development

There remains a unshakeable assumption in the international policy community that development in one country can be switched on and off from central controls elsewhere in the global system. You see this logic with everything from Education for All to the MDGs. Whether it is cross-national tests of achievement or even the global rankings of universities, the kind of forces that drive change in schools and universities are largely enabled or inhibited by humans who inhabit these institutions.

The kinds of issues, moreover, that wreak havoc on societies and their systems of education are largely ignored in international policy scripts that privilege academic achievement in science, mathematics and literacy. This technicist and instrumentalist view of education has exposed developmental agendas to even greater threats, the unravelling of human relations that are so crucial to both people and performance across the world.

Prof. Jansen made these arguments real by presenting his research on race, intimacy and leadership at the University of the Free State in South Africa — and how many students made the transition from tolerance to embrace in segregated communities. According to prof. Jansen „Any analysis that begins and ends with condemnation, rather than pressing for an understanding of the underlying dilemmas of inequality, poverty, segregation and violence cannot begin to resolve the human challenges in specific territories without which development remains an elusive project.”

Education – a key driver for development

Transition to „a developing world”

[<a href=”//storify.com/jomajko/transition-to-a-developing-world” target=”_blank”>View the story „Transition to „a developing world”” on Storify</a>]

Urban at heart of Sustainable Development Goals

Truly universal post 2015 development agenda

The debates on the Post 2015 Agenda offer the opportunity to reconsider development in light of the new realities and to overcome the old and often still paternalistic approaches of development policy. Therefore, a truly universal Post 2015 Agenda must not just become an updated set of MDGs. It should contain universal sustainability goals and a program for structural transformation which defines the necessary financial, regulatory and institutional means of implementation in all countries of the world, and this in line with their differentiated responsibilities and capabilities.

When: 29th October 2014 at 6:00 pm EET / 4:00 pm GMT (check time around the world).

Where: University of Helsinki,  Fabianinkatu 33, Small Hall (4th floor)

Register for the event by October 24

You can join the lecture by:

  • coming to the event in Helsinki
  • following livestreaming from the event at kapuscinskilectures.eu
  • asking your questions to Jens Martens via Twitter using #KDL hashtag

Kinky development – why „1$/day” doesn’t solve poverty

Foreign Policy Magazine named Pritchett as one of the top global thinkers and described his work as: “Pritchett’s solution is straightforward: Do a better job of measuring the things that matter. Rather than counting post offices, ask whether the mail is getting delivered. Rather than tallying the numbers of enrolled students, find out if they’re learning anything. This may be easier said than done, but at least it’s a start.“

When: 15th October 2014 at 5:00 pm CET / 3:00 pm GMT (check time around the world).

Where: Metropolitan University Prague, Dubecska 900/10, Prague 10, Room 117

Registration mandatory: http://registrace.mup.cz

You can join the lecture by:

  • coming to the event in Prague
  • following livestreaming from the event at kapuscinskilectures.eu
  • asking your questions to prof. Pritchett via Twitter using #KDL hashtag

New Age of Sustainable Development

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs delivered a special lecture for the Kapuscinski Development Lectures on sustainable development and post 2015 development agenda. „Economic model driving the world economy really has reached its limits. Traditional patterns of economic development will no longer suffice. We need rather urgently new direction. It is our responsibility. Let’s move forward together to a new age of sustainable development” – said prof. Sachs in his lecture. Watch the video lecture.

Prof. Sachs answered questions coming from the online audience from around the world during the live video chat.

Effective poverty reduction beyond MDGs

As the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, it is important to evaluate and plan for the future vision. Although the MDGs have been generally successful and some goals have been met, such as halving extreme poverty, there are still many lessons to be learned. Economic development, decent work and job opportunities, inequality and sustainable development will be high on the post-2015 development agenda. Organized jointly by the European Commission (EC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and in partnership with Devex and the Global Association Masters in Development Practice, José Antonio Ocampo, Professor and Director of Economic and Political Development Concentration at Columbia SIPA, and Esther Duflo, Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT, discussed effective policies in poverty reduction beyond the Millennium Development Goals, as part of the Kapuscinski Development Lecture Series. 

John Coatsworth, provost of Columbia Universityopened the lecture and noted this was the first to be held outside of Europe.

Andris Piebalgs, European Commission, stated that the goal of Kapuscinski development lectures series is to discuss the post-2015 MDGs and to shape the development debate in the years to come. The European Union is committed to poverty eradication and provides an example for social and economic development that allows dignity for citizens. It is crucial that no one suffers from a lack of access to housing, water, education and health, but also to jobs, justice, institutional access and dignity. Mr. Piebalgs indicated that the EU could provide policy coherence for the post-2015 MDG discussion. He added that development “used to be solely based on how much money was being spent on aid, but now we are shifting to a focus on outcomes and outputs and the success of development.”

Helen Clark, UNDP, thanked the European Commission for their strong partnership around the world and the work with EU accession members and future members. For the post-2015 MDGs, “over a million respondents took part in the World Survey and Global Debate, showing an appetite and interest in engaging in the debate.” Many voices were heard, including the young, indigenous people, women, people with disabilities, displaced persons, and LBGT. People want their governments to be honest and responsible and their leaders to be more ambitious in current topics such health and education. They want to expand to new areas such as addressing increasing urbanization, energy, inequality, marginalization, decent work, and sustainable development that does not push growth at any price if destructive.

Poverty Eradication in Post-2015 Development Agenda

In his speech, Professor Ocampo addressed post-2015 macro issues, highlighting that the current debate has been highly participatory by including not only states, but also civil society, the private sector, foundations and academia. He stated that the MDGs have been successful because they are concise, human-oriented, visible, useful for advocacy and design of development strategies, backed by significant institutions and measurable, which represents a huge improvement in the monitoring of UN goals from the past. On the other hand, the major criticisms of the MDGs have been the high centralization of defining goals and targets viewed as donor-centric. There was a lack of participation by member states and no economic issues were addressed, such as productive and decent employment. The goals also included incomplete targets in many areas, for instance gender and environment and many were irrelevant to middle-income countries.

The vision of the post-2015 MDGs has been headed by a UN Task Force and has been based on the fundamental principles of respect for human rights and equality. A high level panel summed up the ambition, “our vision and responsibility are to end extreme poverty in all its forms in the context of sustainable development.” Professor Ocampo pointed out that extreme poverty is not the only issue at the center, but also inequality between and within nations. He called for adopting a universal agenda, applicable to both developing and developed countries. As a result, developed countries need to address their own domestic challenges related to unemployment and inequality and also assist developing countries. The agenda also needs to leave “ample space for national policy design as it’s important to build ownership of strategies”. Goals should be few, practical and measurable.

Professor Ocampo sees the main issues on the table as figuring out what GDP means and implies, including future economic development, addressing inequality, increasing social services and changing the rules for global finance and trade. “Domestic inequality, primarily income inequality, is the most important issue in high and middle-income countries, and 60% of the world in the beginning of the 21st century continue to live in nations where income inequality is increasing.” He views inclusive development as having four ingredients: productive employment, universal social services, redesigned care economy and redistributive fiscal policies.

While peace and good domestic governance are difficult to measure, they are a core element of well-being. The broader UN agenda has linked peace and security to sustainable development; but because there are no specific goals, a framework is needed in order to improve peace and good governance.

Making Poverty Reduction More Effective

Esther Duflo, MIT, gave a presentation on making poverty reduction effective and defining the new role of international assistance. She began her talk by breaking down the two perspectives on foreign aid, the optimist and the pessimist. While many think aid can eradicate poverty, others believe aid is useless or worse. Professor Duflo stressed that broad sweeping statements cannot apply from country to country and we need a more modest objective, because eliminating poverty is a very broad goal. Since poverty is not going to go away with one approach, she suggested “experimentation and imagination.” Currently, policy makers lack imagination and are prisoners of ambition, as they promise too much and want to solve the problem all at once. This is not only a problem of aid, developing country’s governments often have the same mindset and challenges.

Professor Duflo stated that aid has traditionally filled a gap in financing, such as building bridges, or other infrastructure projects. But she pointed out that money is fungible and will reduce return to further public and private domains. She predicts, “Aid will eventually become irrelevant” unless a venture capital approach is implemented. Capital could finance investment in new technologies and new approaches to development. She further outlined 3 stages for this: basic research, making products market ready, and scaling-up and diffusion. Such capital is lacking in the development sector, even if there is potential market. The Acumen Fund and the Omidyar Foundation demonstrate how this can work. Ideas in development have huge social value, but many might not have a market yet. Therefore, markets need to be developed and linked to social programs and redistribution.

Professor Duflo urged the audience to stop to thinking of aid as providing things and technical knowledge and to get away from the mindset of “you don’t know, we know.” To illustrate this point, she provided results of her studies in improving educational quality in India. In many countries, including India, learning levels in schools have actually reduced because current MDGs only target enrollment and equality between genders. By focusing on the children lagging behind, 

low-paid employee came to schools and provided weekly remedial classes.  Even though the evaluation showed large increase in test scores and evolved to become Read India, attendance and school commitment to the program still lagged. Through a series of experiments in different states, 

Professor Duflo and her team finally found a system that works with the government. She added, “the system does not come out of anyone’s hat, it needed time and money and experimentation.”

Her message was that aid must become a venture capital model for development innovation so it does not become obsolete. It is important to facilitate research, promote replication and scaling up, and foster a culture of learning in governments to support their own growth.At the end, Professor Duflo stated that “Agencies are not ready to accept failure and risk yet, but the mindset will need to shift. I’m not sure if can be done, but it is worth trying and necessary to be optimistic. An excellent start will be if even a small amount of money can be set aside for experimentation and see the results. There is movement in this area. USAID, for example, has an innovation fund…there is now the Global Idea, which the UK and Sweden have supported, to expand innovation. It is just a matter of pushing it along.”

Inequality, development and development aid

Income inequality
The perception of inequality may be different from objective measures. There exist misperceptions and differences in concepts in ways people see inequality. Example: Brazil, US, China and Netherlands.

When people think of inequality, they might focus on Sen’s capabilities, as the sets of outcomes people can reach. These opportunities are: endowments, health, talents, education, equal access to facilities, no discrimination (in housing markets) as well as quantitative opportunities. Equality is also the democratic aspect of society; when people have a say in the sharing of public goods.

Ex ante model
In this model, two kinds of opportunities interact. This creates a feedback through accumulation of factors. From the left we see the market which determines growth: the structure, the distribution of opportunity and outcomes and endowments. These relationships are two-directional, as the distribution of outcome influences what they have and what they get.

Major inequality channels
The level of inequality depends on the structure of markets and the discrimination of people. You can explain conflict by several groups who don’t have access to resources. Also, it seems there exist a negative relationship between degree of inequality and growth – more inequality in human capital and access to markets is really bad for development. A more efficient society is one where parents of talented kids can afford to send them to school.

It is difficult to observe access to opportunities and how to aggregate access to justice, school and healthcare. What matters is the difference across groups, not between groups. Focus on going from development to inequality of outcomes in projects: development will make a country more or less unequal in terms of income. We need to find a way for relating inequality to the rate of growth, and make use of a conceptual proxy, since at the moment we don’t have strong empirical cross country evidence.

When we look at opportunities, you think of human capital. The question is if it is possible to redistribute human capital, e.g. between to grades of schooling and access to markets. You need to figure out how to accumulate human capital among poor people, e.g. through access to microcredits. Behind equalization of opportunities, is the accumulation of opportunities!

Policy interventions: 3 areas for affecting inequality
These instruments are essentially compliments to each other:
– Standard: taxes, transfers. Problem is they may impact the work of the economic system and make economy less efficient, which in turn will lead to rich people having less incentive to invest in business, since it’s less profitable to them and society, when they are taxed. Or rich people have enough money to not be affected by this taxation. You may end up with distortion costs and efficiency losses through taxes.
– Pro-poor accumulation of factors: Efficiency enhancing: microfinance, accumulation of factors in the poorest part of the economy. Possibly benefitting people who don’t have access. Goes through improving opportunities.
– Controlling and regulating the way markets behave: through regulation of markets. We have to accept that markets have an effect on distribution. E.g. minimum wage will improve the income of people with the job.

What matters is more public social protection and redistribution in improving opportunities. We need good policies that evaluate efficiency gains and inequality.

Conclusion for development aid
What kind of social policy must be promoted?
– accumulation among poor in assets
– better access to justice
– health
– Standard redistribution: cash transfers.

We need guidelines for thinking about how development aid policies in countries should be like. The point is to make sure that the inequality you are creating in order to ensure growth will not translate to more inequality in possibilities over time.

How reduce poverty – aid that works

During the lecture, professor Hulme introduced ideas from his recently published book “Just Give Money to the Poor”. In this book he describes a different way of development aid; he called it “a development success story.” Many parts of the book are available on the Brooks World Poverty Institute website.

Cash transfers or broader concept of how social protection is provided for the populations has been slowly spreading across the world. It is not mentioned in the Millennium Development Goals. However, this concept is rapidly growing and in 2010 at „MDGs + 10 meeting” which was held in New York, there were frequent references to the need for cash transfers, to having social protection and social platforms for population. These days’ cash transfers are used by more than 110 million families in at least 44 countries; that is approximately 750 million people benefiting from cash transfers in low income and middle income countries. This number even increases as China introduces this concept, too. So, it may reach 1 billion people in low income and middle income countries. The ideas and impetus to introduce cash transfers have not come from aid donors or rich world, but it has came from the Global South, more specifically South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, India, followed by Indonesia and China. Professor Hulme stressed the need for political consensus in order to promote these programs; politics and cash transfers have to go hand in hand.

Professor Hulme introduced what he was going to talk about. The message was 4 findings, 2 debates and 5 principles. The findings are that recipients in low income and middle income countries use money well, although these are only small sums of money. It is also an efficient means of reducing poverty in a short term. People can increase household income, reduce hunger, improve nutrition and get children go to school. However, there are also long term benefits. This concerns literacy, physical well being of children and of populations. Cash transfers can also contribute to the economic growth and make it more pro-poor. There is also some evidence that it can help with the political evolution of countries. Professor Hulme mentioned affordability of cash transfers, too. He argued that it can be afforded on a modest scale and then it can be developed over time.

Professor Hulme introduced two debates, about conditions and targeting. There are two kinds of evidence. Both, conditions and targeting can be good and bad. So, it needs to be debated and it has to be approached very contextually. One has to think about the country, locality and objectives of the programme. These programmes of cash transfers can go ahead if they are fair, assured, practical, make a difference also with a small amount of money and if they are popular in political terms.

Cash transfers are payments which are regular (people get them on a regular basis, usually monthly), long-term (people can get them for a few years or for a whole life), rights based (people are entitled to have them, it should not just be a charity) and tax-financed (ideally financed from the domestic tax, donors can help in establishing the schemes and financing them in the early years). They should be a form of a social assistance not a social insurance or a labour market regulation.

There are 5 types of cash transfers: social pensions (people are entitled to get them reaching a certain age), child benefits (e.g. in Southern Africa countries), family grants (for poorest families), disability allowances (in African and Asian countries), and cash for work programs (people get money for working on public works such as in India).

South Africa is a good example to be used as a case study. It has social pensions and child benefits. Around 2,3 million people, this is 85% of people aged over 63 get the social pension although they have not contributed to it. Child benefits have expanded a lot over the last four years. 8,5 million people receive them which is over 55% of children under the age of 16. In this case, there is targeting, but it is unconditional. Although, it is a big sum of money (3,5% of the GDP), there are benefits of reducing poverty in a short term. These schemes are diffusing across the Southern African region. Namibia, Lesotho and Botswana already use the scheme of social pensions and there are other countries in the region which are considering their introduction. Professor Hulme noticed that South Africa has enormous problems with not generating employment, so the cash transfers are not enough in themselves. Other fundamental changes in the macroeconomic structure are needed.

Another example, which professor Hulme used, was Brazil. He introduced the scheme of Bolsa Familia which goes to around 11,6 million families with per capita income under 30% of minimum wage, so it is targeted and there are conditionalities, too. Social pensions go to 6,6 million of people. So, all in all, 39% of the population gets cash transfers (it is 1,5% of its GDP). Brazil has had excellent economic growth over the last ten years, and inequality and poverty has reduced.

Results of many studies showed that poor use money wisely, mainly on family, that there are benefits for the next generation (regarding nutrition, education, etc.) and it does not discourages the work. Cash transfers can offer short-term and long-term benefits. Concerning short-term benefits, the grants are used by whole family, around a half of it is spent on more and better food, children are taller and healthier with increased school attendance and higher potential to learn, and it contributes to the reduction of inequalities, e.g. in income, food consumption and access to education. The most important long-term advantages are that the money is spent locally. Other people are probable to get employment as money is spent for buying local. So, it stimulates the local economy, it increases investments and it encourages job seeking.

There is an existing stereotype that cash transfers make people lazy. Professor Hulme argues that it is not true. He said that cash transfers provided a necessary base for poor people. They know how to invest money locally to have a profit. The problem is that they lack cash to take opportunity. Cash transfers also reduce risk aversion. Poor people are conservative about taking risk. But households which get cash transfers can think about taking small risks. Closely related to risk is also planning. Risk represents an enormous problem for poor families; very often they would face questions such as will my family starve if I try a new crop and I fail? Should I risk buying a fertilizer? Or, can we afford a bus fare to look for the job? Therefore, cash transfers are very important, because they represent a guarantee of the future income, it permits risk taking and it provides a sort of insurance in the case of failure. Cash transfers also allow small farmers and entrepreneurs to take a micro-credit, because in the case of failure it may be paid by cash transfers.

There are 4 assumptions that have to be taken into account if the political leaders or aid donors decide to implement this strategy. Is poverty partly caused by lack of predictable income? Are opportunities available? Can we trust poor? Is giving money to the poor ethically right? Professor Hulme thinks that if cash transfers are applied contextually the answer to all the questions is yes and therefore cash transfers should be introduced.

There has been a change in the elite or middle class attitudes in the last decade in developing countries. There is a gradual rejection of the attitude that growth is enough, that the poor are lazy, that we cannot afford welfare or social protection. And there is an increasing consensus that if a country wants to have national development, there is a need for growth, human development and human security. It is accompanied by understanding that poor are good “economists”. A very important fact is that costs of social protection constitute only 0,5 -2,0 % of GDP and therefore it should not represent a real problem for the economy.

Among scholars there are 2 ongoing debates: conditions and targeting. There are arguments for and against conditions. In Mexico, there are highly conditional programs. In South Africa, programmes are unconditional. Arguments for are that one can improve the long-term impacts and change the culture of certain social groups. On the other hand, paternalism and low quality of existing services are main arguments against conditions.

Targeting is the second part of the debate. If you target you can give money to those who need it most. Targeting is different from country to country as well as from program to program, i.e. South Africa: pension is untargeted; meanwhile child benefit is targeted on poorest half. Arguments against targeting are that it is difficult to do it accurately, it is divisive and may be seen as unfair, it brings opportunities for corruption or manipulation and it represents additional administrative costs. The problem with targeting is also when you try to target the poorest of poor, i.e. in Africa it has proved to be problematic as people can say “we are all poor”. Professor Hulme in this case emphasized the necessity to apply contextual knowledge and to avoid taking extreme sides for or against it.

Cash transfers need to be seen as fair. This means that most citizens must agree on “who gets grants”. They need to be assured on a weekly basis, a monthly basis or annually. It needs to be practical, so you have to be able to deliver it. It needs to be more than a few cents. It should make at least 20% of poor household income. And finally, they should be popular and politically acceptable. Politicians, middle class and elites should support them. They should not just be a single programme, but they should become a part of an evolving social policy framework.

Professor Hulme thinks that cash transfers provide immediate poverty reduction and social protection; they may increase good governance and reduce risk. They increase investments and impact next generations. They are a necessary step on the way to a national welfare system. However, it must be seen as developmental, not as safety nets. Therefore, the main message is to give money to the poor. However, not as a charity or out of helicopters, but as a carefully designed programs deriving from national decision-making and experience and there is a role for donors and international agencies to support it with cross-national learning, help countries to recognize the affordability and joint financing, particularly in low income countries in Africa.

Dignity and responsibility in international development

HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, offered the keynote lecture entitled “Dignity in Development: Our Common Responsibility to Reach the Millennium Development Goals”.

First, he presented a series of statistics related to word population and the distribution of income, which showed that the large majority of the world population is deeply poor, a fact that is damaging to both world economy and human dignity.

The intervention continued with a brief introduction of the MDGs – what they are, when they were adopted and what is the current level of achieving them.

To illustrate better what the human development means and how one may really relate to MDGs, he chose the child mortality rate statistics, identifying for the audience several examples and telling the story of Norway’s several generation efforts to reduce child mortality.

The key to achieving goals such as MDGs, HRH told the audience, is to think about the persons in less favourable situations similarly as if they were persons one knows, not just statistics. The reason for following such goals, he continued, is to preserve “human dignity”, one of the few values that can have universal appeal.

He concluded the lecture with several examples from his Goodwill Ambassador work, encouraging the audience to think about one definite goal each of them may and could achieve during the next year in order to improve his/her life and make the world a better place.

MDGs: where human development meets results

Solidarity – Made in Poland, Exported by Europe

Commissioner Piebalgs’ lecture, entitled “Solidarity – Made in Poland, Exported by Europe” was focused on the development aid in the context of human solidarity and Kapuscinski’s heritage. Before Mr. Piebalgs moved to the point he presented his reflection on 04/10 tragedy of Smolensk and conveyed condolences.

Commissioner Piebalgs started with the recognition of Polish successful transformation and noticed that solidarity, the one that was born in Poland as a movement of brave people, had a wider meaning and was a core of human willingness to help others in need. Speaking at Kapuscinki’s former university Mr. Piebalgs called over this brilliant journalist, writer and storyteller to demonstrate that it was critical to understand the world and its people. And encouraged to look at things in ways in which we had had not previously contemplated.

Then he evoked refugee camps and the rubble that was once homes, schools and hospitals – consequences of the devastating earthquake which struck Haiti on 12 January. The destruction and the tragedy he saw was immense. Nonetheless it let him realise the decency of mankind and the determination of countries to work together to overcome this humanitarian crisis. Since solidarity is a fundamental part of EU development policy Member States and the Commission – working with the Government of Haiti – united their efforts to make sure that aid was targeted in the most effective way, focusing on results and cutting out waste and duplication. However it was not just about spending money and providing people with food. Development policy, he noticed, must be a catalyst for change and help people in need build a better future. It is about learning from experiences, sharing ideas and understanding opportunities. Thus Poland – country so experienced with transition, democratic and economic reforms – has so much to contribute to Europe’s development policy thinking. Moreover, it could inspire further EU actions towards developing countries. Commissioner Piebalgs emphasized that there was no one-size-fits-all approach and that we have to respect and trust our partners. He also reminded of Nicolas Copernicus, the Polish astronomer who put forward the idea that the earth was not the centre of the universe to illustrate that the development policy, if we expect it to be sustainable, cannot be donor-oriented but must put the recipient in the first place. Considering that our world is interconnected – events and actions such as pandemics in Mexico and pollution from Indian industries affect other parts of the world and the globe as a whole – this policy has to be about long-term response to present-day threats and global challenges at the same time. Many of these, Mr. Piebalgs noticed, had their roots in poverty and under-development. He also observed that development and security were interdependent – there was no development without security and no security without development for every human being. And, even though some may think that eradicating poverty is impossible, we have to endeavour to succeed.

This brought the speaker to the Millennium Development Goals. Commissioner Piebalgs presented some achievements such as significant reduction of tuberculosis incidences, increase of safe drinking water availability, increase of educational institutions and number of students. Nevertheless there is still a large number of victims of HIV/AIDS and other diseases and ca. 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty. Thus a lot has to be done and international community has to redouble its efforts. One of them is EU’s 12-point Action Plan aimed to help developing countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals. It calls EU countries to increase aid, regardless of today’s economic and financial environment. EU credibility in development policy area is fundamental for trustworthy and successful partnership with developing countries. EU actions in this area need to ensure better value and more effectiveness. In this sense solidarity is the basis of the Action Plan that also affects other EU policies such as trade and migration also work for development. European Union, that accounts for over half of development assistance in the world, calls the rest of international community to undertake actions and get involved in tackling poverty. EU, with its potential and experience, may lead the rest of the world and export to the world the solidarity that was made in Poland. Hopefully forthcoming United Nations Summit in New York will help to achieve this goal.

Last but not least Commissioner Piebalgs emphasized the key role of Poland in the EU in the second half of 2011. Poland will also organize European Development Days in 2011. Mr. Piebalgs wished Poland, inspired with Kapuscinski heritage, would use this opportunity to raise the profile of development. In his opinion it was not too late for making the difference and implementing the Millennium Development Goals.

Solidarity for development

Solidarity – foundation of EU integration

Solidarity is a polish symbol – „Solidarność”. Solidarities’ deep roots in Europe. The beginning of the European integration, continent was in ruins. At the end of the war, physically damaged, destroyed cities, hate were between people and disagreements, indifference, loss of hope. This is what Europe looked like. Europeans understood that after the 2nd World War, without the close cooperation, Europe cannot be rebuilt. Not only in the physical sense, but also mentally.

Community building and cooperation aimed not only to rebuild the Europe which was in ruins, but also to repair mutual relationships and to make sure that such conflict will never happen again. And Europe was rebuilt on the foundations of solidarity. Solidarity means cooperation against the logic of force. This is the European understanding of solidarity. Prosperity and peace based on community to restore dignity of citizens. Dignity of individuals.

Solidarity – as a key rule of EU policy

The history of European integration is also defending common values. Freedom and human rights – we should never forget about it. It is also to provide social security, this after all, dignify life, is also life free of hunger. This is all about solidarity, this is the principal of European policy understood as need to build community, not only the internal community, but also the global community.

The experience of solidarity as the experience of the entire EU

The experience of solidarity as the experience of the entire EU. Our Polish or Central-European experience of solidarity harmonizes with the European experience. This is not only the experience of our democratic transformation, it is the experience within the entire EU after 1989, and we see it today, better than ever. And we also know that our revolution of Solidarity restored again the bright to the word of the solidarity in the EU and it gave this word a new meaning and the recent changes in northern Africa show that it refrains to the European experience of this solidarity, it’s clear.

Solidarity – New committment of „New” EU member states.

Countries such as Tunisia or Egypt would like to draw on of the experience of the transformation in Central Europe and looking for such experience sometimes they approach directly of countries as our but they also approach to EU as I have this experience recently when I visited Tunisia and Egypt in March. As a Pole and as a man of the EU. I spent lot of time there as an official foreign visit in cooper with other such visits. So it means that countries of our region are no longer thought about these new member states. As a Pole a was treated as a as a man of the EU and from an African perspective, there is no difference between those who acceded several years ago and those who acceded 40 years ago. We have a special role and there are no bad associations with us so it all means we have a special commitment, we Poles. And there, in Tahiri square, everyone knew that Poles have a special experience in building community and society. A society based on solidarity. Without solidarity our transformation in Eastern Europe would not have succeeded and today our European Community again founds its response of to northern Africa on solidarity. What is the lesson here? It is now time for member states, such new member states and I begin thinking solidarity not only in terms of receiving (aid which we continue to receive from the richer European countries) but also in terms of providing to others countries of our region are strong advocates of internal European solidarity and you will hear about it soon

Countries of our region are strong advocates of this sort of European solidarity, It’s good, it’s important. It makes our community continue but it is not only about the survival, it is about the global meaning of our community. It is the key matter I want to address. Because problems of Europeans and problems of Poles need often to be solved beyond our continent (the crises which was imported to Europe and also problems with the energy sector, terrorism, and many other problems).

Development Policy – long term investment and long term commitment

Development policy is long term investment and commitment. Development policy fallows not only on the moral commitment because this is obvious. It results from such interest we have. Development policy is an investment in building peace and prosperity in all over the world, investment in democratic values, development policy is our key instrument in relations to less developed countries. It is the way of solving global challenges because we already know today that permanent and long-lasting balance will not be possible without democracy and growing prosperity.

Development Policy – our own interest.

Sustainability is only possible when we provide foundation of democracy and we make it possible for the living conditions to improve. Development policy may and should be such a instrument to achieve those goals. So this is about our own interest not only about normal human commitment, moral commitment. The crises, climate changes, job migration, the afraid of terrorism, all of this we see in Europe today, but today the problems of one region effect directly the situation of other corners of the world and we import many or most of the problems to Europe. We are the largest donor as a community so also I would like also to get other powers to involve to our policy.

Development Policy – unfulfilled commitment.

Act to development policy is also one of the commitments. In 1970s (then we didn’t dream about Solidarity and independent trade unions), EU countries committed to spend 0.7 % of GNP on official development assistance and now it is only Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark and Holland which fulfilled the commitment with EU and 30 years ago. On the European forum we adopted the Millennium Development Goals. These are specific goals, with deadlines. In 2005 few countries have adopted the European consensus on development at that time we were already new member. The consensus was targeted at 0,7% of GNP for development aid is to be reached gradually. Countries which joined the EU in 2004 and 2006 are in worse economic situation so this target is spread for them. By 2010 our development assistance was to reach 0,17 % of GNP and in 2015 this to account 0,33%. These targets are much lower compared with other new members. For them it is 0,51 and 0.7 %. Our commitment is to take into account actual possibilities, but still this is a distant target.

Opportunity for Poland – need for work.

There is an opportunity for Poland because it’s in our interest to invest in this. So on the one hand we have the experience of solidarity and we also understand the importance of ways of development policy and we fill it particularly well in relation to countries which are on the east of Poland which is natural and soon we will take over the presidency in the EU. We also have an unfulfilled commitment to put on pour Polish presidency. If we are to be perceived as a serious partner which has a effect on many decisions of the EU we must only fulfill our commitment but also motivate others, so we are proud of it experience of solidarity. We would like to build the Europe on the foundation of the solidarity, we must live in accordance with solidarity ourselves. It is not only about promoting internal solidarity associated with the EU budget, it is about remembering that our interest, not only the moral commitment is going far beyond the EU and we must make development our top priority. It is not about making of this the top priority but we should not spend the least money from all the EU countries per capita. We must also spend the money well, we need the appropriate legal regulation, coordination on the international level, we need support of politicians, polish politicians and the entire society. This is not about making a development policy the main priority, this it about making solidarity for development and new dimension of Polish activism within the EU. Let us to look for the niche within the development policy the EU, to share the experience of transformation, to mobilize the civil society with collaboration with NGOs, political foundations, universities, medias (well known representative is present here). We need support, huge political or national spirit to make it our great message. This is not a challenge for 6 months of presidency, but our presidency is a good opportunity to begin that. If we can do that, after the Polish presidency something permanent and great will survive. Within the presidency we need to coordinate the operations and working of 27 members states on the summits, this include the development policy. We will propose concrete solutions but our work should not end on the 31th of December.

Prof. Buzek shared his reflection on meeting with Bill Gates in Strasbourg, in the EP in April. He came to EP to promote the Living Proof campaign, this is series of documents and publications showing specific cases, specific people whose lives changed thanks to development aid so they could positively affect the lives of others nearby who also needed assistance. BG is involved in helping them. Someone will say, BG is the billionaire and he is the one of the richest men in the world and he can help but there are millions of us and we can also help. This is what solidarity is about, that together we can do great things, we can change the world together. And if so – how should we decide to not to do this. It is to try just as 31 years ago we tried to win by organizing Solidarity. We had no idea if we will succeed but we did it.

Inequality barrier to human development

The past two decades have seen dramatic gains in human development. Poverty is falling, child survival rates are increasing, and education indicators are on a rising trend. During the same time period new modes of development ideas and practices have evolved that includes local communities and the poor in finding solutions, and, in addition, points to partnering with business to address systemic challenges such as poverty, environmental degradation and climate change. Yet, wealth distribution within countries is diverging – and persistent inequalities in opportunity are holding back progress in health, education and employment. This lecture will address these dilemmas and discuss possible ways forward, from both a human development perspective and a business perspective.

The lecture will be followed by a discussion panel „Role of business in development”. The lecture will be livestreamed at https://kapuscinskilectures.eu/. You can follow the lecture via http://twitter.com/kapulectures. Ask your questions to Kevin Watkins using #kapu.

Date: 5 March, 2013,  10:30am GMT / 11:30am CET – check time around the world
Venue: Stockholm School of Economics, the Auditorium

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Agenda:

11.30–11.40 Welcome and Introduction by Stockholm School of Economics, European Commission (Mr. Pierre Schellekens, Head of the European Commission Representation in Stockholm) and UNDP (Ms. Monica Lorensson, Liaison Officer, UNDP Nordic Office)

11.40–12.10 Keynote speech: “Inequality as a barrier to human development” Kevin Watkins

12.10–12.45 Panel discussion: „The role of business in development”
Panel: Kevin Watkins, Marianne Barner, Christina Båge-Friborg,
Karin Holmquist, Mia Horn af Rantzien, Lin Lerpold, Örjan Sjöberg
Moderator: Susanne Sweet

12.45–13.00 Q & A and closing

Women in development

Text of the full speech (check against delivery)

The lack of trust in leaders and the urgent challenges of poverty, inequality, conflict and climate change demand a new model of leadership and development. The 21st century is the time for inclusion and women’s full and equal participation. An effective post-2015 development agenda requires a focus on promoting human rights, ensuring public participation and tackling structural inequalities.

What would Kapuscinski make of development today?

Ryszard Kapuscinski exposed an Africa to his readers in which he punctured the pretensions and follies of rulers and officials while showing an intense emotional identification with the continent’s then underdogs, its people. Mark Malloch-Brown asks would he see the current state of Africa as a further triumph of the elites he exquisitely skewered or, the redemptive emergence of a new more participatory and just continent.

The introduction to the lecture was delivered by Ms. Christine Dalby, Acting Head of the EU Representation in London.

Poor economics – effective poverty reduction policies

Prof. Banerjee declared that people get themselves into an intellectual trap when thinking into these absolute categories of institutions. Indeed, there are all kinds of failures, even within the “good” institutions. Prof. Banerjee concluded that if we take the institutions of these countries as given and basically make ourselves buy standards rather than saying most countries have bad policies, not particularly by design but because of accidental failures, we delay the process of removing poverty by many years. For this reason, he emphasised that we need to be present and wisely intervene on an intellectual level, and not simply overbear through the policy process.

Dignity and development

On a global scale the poverty rate in developing countries decreased from 46 to 27%. According to the Prince Haakon also the primary education improved among boys and girls, the number of new HIV infections is going down. The Crown Prince described most thoroughly the goal related to child mortality which aims at decreasing the rate by two thirds by 2015. Twenty years ago over 12 million children before the age of 5 were dying annually from preventable diseases. In 2010 this number decreased to 7.5 million. This presents an obvious progress however we will most probably not achieve this goal by 2015 – said the Crown Prince.

 

Grants, Governance, Growth to reduce poverty in Africa?

The conventional view regards slow growth as the main reason why so many countries will miss the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. However reducing human poverty requires much more that growth, grants or governance. Foremost, human development involves fundamental transformation in society, which transcend any macroeconomic or institutional model.

The global discourse about human development is dominated by the formula that ‘faster economic growth + more foreign aid + better governance = MDGs’. Slow growth stops implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, according to the conventional view. Others argue that it is insufficient foreign aid or inadequate governance that prevent so many countries from achieving the MDGs. In other words, human development is considered as either growth-, aid- or governance-mediated. Thus, the development narrative is reduced to a technical argument about these three aspects of development. To substantiate the argument, extensive use – if not misuse – is made of statistics. The latest poverty estimates of the World Bank, for example, claim that the absolute number of poor people in Africa declined between 2005 and 2008; this for the first time. Nine million fewer Africans living in poverty, is that not a reason to celebrate? Does it not prove that growth is reducing poverty?

Unfinished business of Millennium Goals

The key achievement of the MDGs is the extent to which they have mobilized public and political sup­port for development. Any post-2015 agreement needs to maintain 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-2015 agenda. But in the run-up to 2015 we should evaluate how to improve the instruments to achieve the Goals. Three issues deserve particular attention according to Herfkens: focus more on inequality and poverty focus; introduce targets on climate change; rich countries must do their homework in terms of development aid delivery.

Resetting the global development agenda

President Tarja Halonen focused on political leadership of sustainable development. She argues that sustainable development should not be thought of as one entity, but as an integrated whole. The need for stronger leadership is obvious, especially in politics. Halonen calls for generic changes in political decision-making. Good governance is at the heart of sustainable development, and all governments should advance its basics to empower people to make sustainable choices. Better accountability in political and economic decision-making is also a part of the transition towards sustainable development.

Helen Clark discussed sustainable development with the aim of going from shared principles to practice. It included the threefold development agenda which addresses social, economic and environmental concerns. Clark referred to the post-2015 development framework and environment, the SDGs and the role of governance and political leadership in sustainable development, the different measures of development (e.g. GDP versus HDI), and the prospects of the Rio +20 conference. The cause to be advanced at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development is to figure out how to accelerate human progress while sustaining the planet’s ecosystems. Sustainability should not be treated merely as an environmental issue.