A Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda
The world faces an enormous challenge: how to lift more than one billion people out of extreme poverty and meet the livelihood and resource needs of a projected nine billion people in 2050, while keeping climate change, biodiversity loss and other impacts within acceptable limits?
Recognizing the scale of this challenge, governments have introduced the need for ‘transformation’ into the post-2015 development agenda debate. This reflects the belief that the kind of change the post-2015 goals need to deliver is of a different order than is currently being achieved — that a ‘business-as-usual’ (incremental) approach to improving development outcomes is insufficient in today’s increasingly complex and interconnected world.
Transformation implies fundamental change—a reappraisal of the basic assumptions and building blocks that underpin current approaches to growth and development. The post-2015 development agenda offers an opportunity to redefine development and how to achieve it. That is, to identify what we will do more, different, and/or better between 2015 and 2030 “to address remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, to address new and emerging challenges and to seize new opportunities … supported, as appropriate, through provision of means of implementation”.1 The long-term aim of such an agenda is a transformation in societies, economies and systems of governance that achieves inclusive and sustainable development.
This paper highlights transformative shifts needed to overcome the structural barriers to poverty eradication and sustainable development, and outlines some key concepts for assessing the transformative potential of post-2015 goals and targets.