I'm going to veer off the topic of governance for a short post this morning.
Last week saw a high level meeting in Monrovia to discuss the post 2015 Millennium Development Goals (if that is what they are called). Yesterday the ever-sharp Charles Kenny and some others were active on twitter discussing some of the ideas emerging from the meeting (and in other spaces where post 2015 indicators are being discussed). Charles was questioning the number of proposed goals that not only identify the specific indicator that will hold for all countries but will also note a wildly perfect set of goals--infant mortality to be reduce to zero, for instance.
My immediate response to this is to scratch my head and wonder what all the discussion of country ownership in development really means. Surely countries should be choosing the specific goals they care about themselves. This meas choosing the area and field they want to see particular impact in and choosing the goal in that field.
I understand the international community wants to have international and global goals, but the goals will be met by actions in individual countries and it is vital that these countries are the ones:
- identifying the problems
- accepting baseline measures of the problems
- defining goals
- counting the cost (direct and opportunity) of setting these goals
- looking for solutions
- owning the process of change
- ensuring feedback and learning throughout the process of change
I would propose that the high level meetings focused on post 2015 indicators develop menus of potential goals, with baseline data for as many countries as possible in all of these menu areas. Then let countries choose the areas they want to focus on and what they see as do-able targets, and let the countries drive the discussion about how they will get there.
If ownership matters in development and change, let's allow for ownership through choice.