I am always surprised to see how much time we and others are spending on discussing goals and on identifying and developing indicators or indices of measuring the attainment of these goals – and how little time (if any) we devote to discussing the middle part, i.e. how to get from the goals to achieving the impact. There exists a serious problem that I have started calling ‘the missing middle’: international negotiations and agreement on who is expected to contribute what: in terms of policy measures to be taken nationally and/or regionally, as well as policy measures –like official development assistance (ODA), climate finance and other types of finance or changes in international regimes like TRIPS – that would facilitate the attainment of the established goals.
Certainly, setting goals has a certain value. However, most of the goals that are being mentioned are reflected in national and international policy statements already; and sometimes, as Gabriele Köhler mentioned, they may even fall back, behind already agreed-upon goals. Yet, the most important shortcoming of the current discussions on the Post-2015 Agenda is the missing middle part: the fact that, for the most part, we are keeping mum about who is to contribute what.
I think it is high time to refocus the discussion on the required means; and when I say ‘means I mean more than finance, because, in many cases, more could be achieved for sustainable and inclusive growth and development by revisiting international regimes in order to ensure their ‘development proofing’: making sure that they do not undermine but support international cooperation and development.
I attached a paper I wrote some time ago on the ‘missing middle’ issue.
If we were to focus on the middle part between goals and impact, what would, in your view, be some of the priority issues to negotiate and agree on: financing for the Green Climate Fund; more TRIPS flexibility and technology transfer in the area of climate, clean energy or global health; enhanced external shock facilities for poorer countries; enhanced natural disaster insurance; more reliable humanitarian assistance; delivery on long-standing ODA promises; greater efforts on the part of industrial countries to reduce unemployment, poverty and insecurity in their countries so that their tax payers’ support of international cooperation may not decline? And are we devoting enough policy attention and other resources to the global water issue?
Looking forward to the continuation of this debate,
With best regards,
Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany
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