Development Cooperation Handbook/The video resources linked to this handbook/The Documentary Story/The MDGs

The MDGs

The approved project had responded to a call of proposals from Europeaid, The EU Commission Directorate responsible for EU international development policies, under a program to inform EU citizens about the EU participation to the Millennium Development Goals. The MDGs are eight development goals adopted by the United Nations in the UN Millennium Declaration.

What had fascinated me of the MDGs was was that for the first time in world history, a concrete work agenda for the rights of the voiceless was universally agreed. A concrete agenda. Not general statements of principles. Not a declaration of intention. But a concrete work agenda, which had set 8 goals, subdivided in 21 targets, contextualized in specific timelines (the MDGS to be achieved by 2015). And the decision makers, in order to verify if they were being honest with their commitments, set a number of indicators upon which they asked to be judged. Now this to me really seemed really important. We, as world, as a global community, have a shared work agenda! This is something that all should know about! Something to be proud of! But instead so few know about it. Why so? Why almost none heard about the MDGs?

My curiosity was really moved around the fact that almost nobody knows about the MDGs. They are not in the news. They are not in the important political agendas. They are only talked about in specialized symposia amongst international development experts. Why that? Why something so important and so little known? Why a global game that if won saves millions of lives and if lost lets millions of deaths does not have commentators, nor supporters, nor referees? Surely the International organizations quite clumsy communicators. But is that enough? Why media is so aloof?

One could of course reply with the usual negative moralism that likes to point the finger to the immorality of others. "People do not know because media only like stories of violence and mistrust!" Many think that media barons globally conspire to keep public opinion suppressed in fear and anxiety and so media purposely filter news sharing only the "bad news" that create mistrust amongst nations and fears amongst cultures. That may be a part of the story. But I never liked the conspiracy theories. To me it appeared as a sort of responsibly vacuum. Not a problem of "big hidden powers", but rather a problem of self justifying impotence by intellectuals. I did not think that it was a communication gap impossible to bridge. I wanted to explore the hole issue better. I thought that an enquiry about the absence of the MDGs from global media could have revealed a lot about the nature of the world we live in. And about the fact that, in spite of so many communication tools we have at hand, these are times where people really communicate less.

So that was the tread I would have followed. Trying to understand why it is so difficult to get the MDGs on the media. And that would have become as much an enquiry on the drivers of global communication as it was on the drivers of global development.

Next We have a story

See in the handbook edit

Setting the MDGs

 Introduction to the Millennium Development Goals
 Introduction to the Handbook
 Issue: National Governments and International Organizations – their commitment to MDGs

Handouts edit

 The United Nations Millennium Declaration

Videos edit

Stefano talking to Shiva Kumar - What has fascinated me of the MDGs

Shiva Kumar - The MDGs and the policy debates around them