This weblog is a johnny-come-lately to writing about the Millennium Development Goals. When first putting it together I searched for others blogging on the MDGs. There are a number of "institutional" blogs, but I also found two impressive blogs that were personal endeavors. One which is African Development for the Completely Bloody Ignorant by Rav Casley Gera. Rav's latest post from 2/17/08 is on the Millennium Project: Why we must act - and how much it will cost. I am impressed with the organization of Rav's blog. He provides a good summary of the overall financials of the Millennium Development Goals. The importance of budgets to efforts such as this has already been commented on. This post will be a synopsis of his summary highlighting some of the important resources to which he gave access.
I am going to start at the end and highlight the Millennium Project Overview Report, the full 300+ page version, ten key recommendations, and the reports of the individual task forces provided in Rav's post. These provide a great deal of information on the cost/benefits rationale of the Millennium Project.
Rav goes through the "math" on how the proposals of the UN Millennium Project are designed to meet the Millennium Development Goals. It's definitely worthwhile going through his post, but the answer is $135 billion in 2006, with annual spending rising to $195 billion in 2015. Which sounds like a lot until you understand that it is between 0.44 and 0.54% of rich countries' GNP or you compare it to the cost of the Iraq war which some put at $3 trillion. It is still short of the 0.7% of GNP we've been promising for aid for around thirty years, first in 1970, most recently in 2003. The US, which has the economy to account for nearly half of the total extra aid needed, is currently at less than 0.2%. Only five countries -Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden - have reached the target.
Rav then provides The benefits of meeting the goals
Is it worth it? The report certainly thinks so. Meeting the goals means a host of changes of great benefit to the world's poorest people:
- 300 million more people lifted out of poverty between now and 2015 than on current trends; In Africa, 150 million people lifted out of poverty, as opposed to an increase of 75 million in the number of extremely poor people under current trends
- 230 million fewer people undernourished than on current trends; in Africa, 75 million fewer; as opposed to 25 million more on current trends
- 3.4 million fewer children dying each year, the benefits seen almost entirely in Africa
There are other benefits cited but bottom line, it is making a better world. Rav has promised a quick one-post summary of the key points for reference. He is also going to look at some of the critics of Sachs' proposals, and what it is they dislike. I look forward to both and will link when available.