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Last updateTue, 15 Apr 2014 10am

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Development must be about freedom from fear and freedom from want

Rising inequality, abuses by transnational corporations and the global democratic deficit were key themes at last week's UN consultation on governance and the post-2015 development agenda, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The consultation was one of a series of expert meetings the UN is holding to debate what should replace the millennium development goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015.


The demand for "honest and transparent governance" was the second most critical issue highlighted by respondents in the UN's global survey for a better world. Strong demands are being made by civil society for good governance to be viewed both as an issue to be considered across development as well as a standalone target post the MDGs, with clear indicators to measure levels of "participatory democracy".

There is huge pressure from financial institutions, big business and some world leaders, however, to ensure that the primary focus of the post-2015 development agenda remains on economic growth. Many civil society groups view the MDGs' assumption that there can be development without freedom as lop-sided. Although the MDGs have a strong focus on poverty reduction and some economic and social rights, they contain no mention of "good governance" and "Democratic and participatory governance based on the will of people" – both of which were clearly spelt out in the millennium declaration.

Read more at The Guardian

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