NCCR North-South Dialogue No. 31

by Bernd Steimann

Bern, NCCR North-South 2011

In 2000, 189 UN member states signed the United Nation's Millennium Declaration and committed to working towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a set of eight time-bound global development goals to be achieved by 2015. Since then, the MDGs and their catchy objective of "halving poverty by 2015" (MDG-1) have become the leading global development policy framework, and had an unprecedented impact upon the global donor community. Nevertheless, progress on the Goals has been uneven and sluggish. This has triggered a large number of critical debates both among and between scientists, policy makers, and the wider public. The present paper provides an overview of these critical debates and analyzes the various concepts of poverty and poverty alleviation they are based upon.

Steimann B. 2011. The Millennium Development Goals and the Global (Northern) Poverty Debate: A Short Review of Praise, Critique and Ways Forward. NCCR North-South Dialogue 31 (Working Paper, Special Research Project 4 – Beyond the MDGs). Bern and Zurich, Switzerland: NCCR North-South.


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