Sustainable Development Targets – Old Wine in New Bottles?

As most people are aware, the Millennium Development Goals are soon to be ‘replaced’ (evolved into?) by Sustainable Development Targets ( While ‘targets’ are often to be applauded and, indeed, MDGs seem to have been effective on a number of levels, many development agencies, such as Gede, are currently engaged in the debate which is aimed at ensuring that SDTs avoid some of the more obvious pitfalls which MDGs fell into. Perhaps the biggest issue which agencies agree on is the objective that SDTs should not encourage a ‘silo’ mentality towards health issues and the subsequent funding of such. Certainly, if one considers the MDGs, it’s easy to see how funding streams in particular became fixated on ‘X’ or ‘Y’ (HIV seemed to be an understandable donor focus, although this now seems to be on the wane), often at the exclusion of the very factors which made them so devastating to the lives of so many. The sad fact is that for many people living in poverty, the challenges they face cut across absolutely everything they do – and to select one or two only to address misses the point in terms of what puts them – and keeps them – in conditions of great poverty.