The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): A Short History of the World’s Biggest Promise

BWPI Working Paper No. 100

55 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2010

See all articles by David Hulme

David Hulme

University of Manchester - Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM)

Date Written: September 30, 2009

Abstract

This paper provides a chronological account of the evolution of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It examines their historical antecedents; the UN conferences and summits that provided their content; the role of OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in formulating the International Development Goals (IDGs); the influence of the UN’s Secretariat in drafting the Millennium Declaration; and the final negotiations between the UN, DAC, World Bank, and IMF to amend the IDGs into the MDGs in 2001. This account reveals the complexity and unpredictability of global policymaking processes. Although the overarching structures of economic and political power framed all negotiations, so the MDGs are largely a rich world product for rich world audiences, there are opportunities for norm entrepreneurs and message entrepreneurs to exercise personal agency. As the time approaches for the assessment of the MDGs, at the UN General Assembly in September 2010, it is useful to reflect on the ‘chaos of accidents and purposes’ that generated the MDGs in the first place.

Suggested Citation

Hulme, David, The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): A Short History of the World’s Biggest Promise (September 30, 2009). BWPI Working Paper No. 100. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1544271 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1544271

David Hulme (Contact Author)

University of Manchester - Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM) ( email )

Manchester M13 9GH
United Kingdom

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