A ROAD MAP TO TRANSFORMING LIVES

BY MARK VISO, CEO OF PACT

From Kendari to Mosul and Abuja to San Francisco, people across the world will celebrate Dec. 31, the close of another year and the promise of a brighter year to come.

But this New Year’s Eve will be more than a time for personal reflection and writing resolutions. It also marks the end of the Millennium Development Goals and the start of a new chapter for the international development community.

It is the launch of the sustainable development goals — our road map for the next 15 years.

As we prepare for this milestone, we’re reflecting as a community on what has worked and where we can improve. We’re also setting our priorities for the future and how we set about achieving our new goals.

Nowhere is our focus more apparent than in the debate around foreign aid reform.

Despite our best intentions and years of good work, the current model of development continues to prove unsatisfying to many of us.

Many efforts continue to be pursued in silos. There is a lack of mutual accountability and no transparent, peer-reviewed way of determining what works and what doesn’t.

And yet, some bright spots hold promise for a better way forward.

Genuine partnerships across geographies and sectors that lead to true collaboration; energy and interest around a shared framework for measurement and open data; local solutions and local ownership emerging as both the means and the end; and the value of an integrated approach rather than various siloed approaches.

When combined, we believe these four facets form a more sustainable, richer, more equitable model for development.

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DEVELOPMENT MUST BE INTENTIONAL & SUSTAINABLE

It is up to development organizations to steer the sector and its funders toward an integrated approach, and the effort must be backed by evidence, panelists agreed during a first-of-its-kind international development discussion organized by a new coalition known as Locus: The Point of International Development.

The June 23 event, held in Washington, D.C., included speakers from Pact, FHI 360 and Aga Khan Foundation. All three are members of Locus, which seeks to change the way the sector funds and implements its work.

The discussion, entitled “Integrated Solutions for Meaningful Change,” focused on integrated development, a model that moves away from siloed programs and instead combines interventions in areas such as health, education, livelihoods, the environment and governance. Proponents believe that when efforts complement each other – when programs improve people’s lives on multiple fronts at the same time in a given community – the result equals more than the sum of the parts.

The development community has made significant progress since the adoption of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, said moderator Adeeb Mahmud, of FSG, a consulting firm that works with international development organizations. Millions of deaths have been averted, and millions of people are no longer living in extreme poverty.

But persistent development challenges remain, Mahmud said, noting that most programs are siloed, foreign aid is largely unsustainable and little has been done to develop shared approaches to measuring impact.

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