Lights and shadows in the Summit of the Millennium Development Goals
Soraya Rodríguez, Secretary of State for International Cooperation, recognized that the Summit had unclear results. According to the Spanish NGO Coordinator, issues such as transparency, efficiency in aid and accountability were talked about but without pressing into the mutual and shared responsibility between donor countries and their partners.
Without a clear calendar commitment it has been accepted that the MDGs will not be met by 2015 ifthe line of work of the previous ten years, continues. However, it has been recognized that they can be met with an integrated work. To advance in the right direction, it has been promoted that any sector policy with impact in impoverished countries may be coherent with the MDGs. This is the case of health, where pending challenge seems to stem in strengthening the health systems that each country will elaborate and not create parallel systems.
Regarding education, a priority objective for Entreculturas, progress is more relevant due to the announcement of new funds. Australian government announced a commitment of 5.000 million dollars for education, which means that an additional 500 million will be allotted to primary education each year up to 2015. The World Bank announced 750 million dollars for basic education, to be distributed in five years. These funds will allow 4 million children to go to school during the next five years. Japan government also announced a commitment of 3.500 million dollars for education during the same period, although analysts estimate that this amount could be less than previous levels of aid.
These commitments, although positive, are not sufficient, regarding to the Global Campaign for Education, that handed to UN President, Ban-Ki Moon, 18 million signatures demanding measures to achieve education for all. “A Greater effort should be made in order to meet the 2015 universal education goal and in particular, the rest of the donors should follow the same steps and allot new funds to basic education in the poorest regions of the world" said Kailash Satyarthi, President of the World Campaign for Education, at the end of the Summit on September 22.
A tax for financial transactions, in the outlook
In addition to the new funds for education, one of the most hopeful proposals of the summit was the possible creation of a development tax for financial transactions, probably on currency exchanges which should be closed over the next months. President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero was in favour of the initiative that is in line with the Tobin proposal to tax capital flows. Tobin was Economy Nobel Prize back in 1971.
The Spanish Coordinator for NGOs has pointed out the need to strengthen the Work Group on International Financial Transactions and Development, in order to state clearly the proposal. The debate will be held in next international meetings, such as the G-20 Summit to be held next November.