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Vol 56 No 20

Published 9th October 2015

Piling on the goals

Amid the back slapping, the big summit in New York may change the balance of power in the aid industry

Legend has it that in 2001, a handful of officials in the basement of the United Nations Headquarters in New York hatched the Millennium Development Goals. They have focused the minds of development workers for nearly 15 years and fired up fierce debate about the role of the UN and national economic policy. Initially, governments were wary at what sounded like more conditions on aid money with target-oriented audits and more intrusion on matters of policy and management. Critics of Western aid such as William Easterly, a former staff economist at the International Monetary Fund, argued the MDGs were setting up governments for failure and would at best be another distraction for governments trying to carry out tough economic reforms and restructuring.

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