2013 Expert Survey on Post-2015 Development Goals

by FutureUN

Summary of Survey Findings

The FUNDS project has established an informal global panel of over 200 experts, and recently asked them: which development goals the UN should give highest priority to post-2015; where the UN’s principal merits lie in comparison with other multilateral bodies; and who should have primary responsibility for identifying and achieving the new goals.   Key findings are summarised below, for more details and graphs please read the Results of the survey in pdf.  FUNDS Briefing number 7, New Development Goals, Plus ça change? by Stephen Browne and Thomas G. Weiss, also provides further analysis of the survey results.

A central finding of this survey is the strong support for maintaining the familiar Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015. The experts surveyed also stress that governments and civil society in developing countries are most important for identifying and achieving goals, while the UN development organizations should concentrate on monitoring progress.

The experts displayed a wide range of opinions about the future goals and responsibilities, however there were some areas of convergence: fully 70% of respondents believe that the UN’s primary contribution to the achievement of the new goals will be in monitoring progress.  This points to the critical importance of independent brokers like the UN, as opposed to governments, when measuring and verifying development progress.

When asked: How does UN development assistance compare with other multilateral sources (World Bank, European Commission, regional development banks, etc.)? Over 80% of the experts answered that the UN is more neutral and non-conditional.  About 70% believe it is more responsive to country needs.

Interestingly, the experts were split almost exactly 50:50 on the question of whether increased efficiency in use of existing international development resources, or the mobilization of additional funds, should be more highly prioritized.  Both are clearly considered important.

80% of experts consider it iindispensable that governments in developing countries contribute actively in the IDENTIFICATION of the post-2015 development goals; 65% believe that the contribution of civil society in developing countries is indispensable.  Just 12% feel the same way about the private sector in donor countries.

When asked: How important is it that various groups of stakeholders contribute actively to the REALIZATION of the post-2015 development goals? Over 90% of experts replied that developing country governments are indispensable; 50% believe that UN development organizations are indispensable; but less than 25% consider that the private sector in donor countries is indispensable, though a further 50% believe that their contribution is important.

Regarding the role of the different stakeholders in MONITORING THE ACHIEVEMENT of the new development goals, over 98% of respondents stated that the UN Development Organizations are either indispensable or important, followed by civil society and governments in developing countries, which both had over 90% of experts considering them either indispensable or important.

About half of the experts on the panel are current or previous UN employees, while the other half have never worked at the UN.  Their opinions and perceptions are interesting at a time when discussions on which goals should be prioritized post-2015 abound, while the questions of who should be responsible for what, and how the goals should be implemented, are being given less attention. 

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