Developing MDGs was like nuclear fusion

From Global development | The Guardian Fri Nov 16 2012, 12:10:51

The man who helped devise the millennium development goals on forgetting the environment, pre-9/11 optimism and his hopes for the next set of targets

The high-level panel appointed by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, to draw up a post-2015 development agenda might well be casting envious backward glances at the small team that drafted the millennium development goals (MDGs).

Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, then the head of the UN Development Programme, explains how he and the small group wrote up the MDGs in the basement of the UN office in New York in "relative casualness", so much so they almost forgot to include a section on the environment - MDG seven on environmental sustainability.

"The document had gone to the printing presses as I passed the head of the UN's environmental programme," says Malloch-Brown (video). "I was walking along the corridor, relieved at job done, when I ran into the beaming head of the UN environment programme and a terrible swearword crossed my mind when I realised we'd forgotten an environmental goal ... we raced back to put in the sustainable development goal."

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