Creating consensus: political opportunities and barriers for a post-2015 agreement on development

Working and discussion papers
November 2011
Claire Melamed

This paper explores how a consensus between current trends in thinking among some of the newly influential middle income countries, and the aid preoccupations of traditional donors, could form the basis of a new global agreement on development.

Despite the rising enthusiasm among academics and NGOs for researching and advocating on what should happen after the MDGs, a post-2015 agreement will not be based on academic analyses, NGO campaigns, nor even on the views of poor people. As Claire Melamed argues in this discussion paper, in the end an agreement is a political deal between governments, and it is they, and their ideas and interests, that set the boundaries of what is possible to achieve. This time round, unlike in the 1990s when the current MDGs were developed, the emerging economies will be key to getting agreement on any post-2015 agreement.

The paper starts with a summary of current challenges to the MDG framework before considering which trends in thinking among key emerging economies could form the basis of a new agreement to address these challenges and build on the gains of the MDGs.