THE BLOG

Post 2015: No-one Should Be Left Behind

30/01/2013 11:41 GMT | Updated 01/04/2013 10:12 BST

A child's right to protection is everything - and the Millennium Development Goals, agreed at the turn of the century with ambitious development targets for 2015, have achieved much we should be proud of.

The MDGs focused the international community and galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world's poorest. Success stories include primary education enrolment rates increasing by 16 percent in sub-Saharan Africa, while countries including Malawi, Bangladesh and Bolivia have halved their under-five child mortality rates since 1990.

But, as the 2015 deadline year looms closer, we see that children living in the world's least stable countries - with governments which cannot or will not protect their own citizens - are set to gain the least.

We've seen progress - but not equitable progress.

We must seize every opportunity to put this right. Today is one such opportunity as meetings takes place in Monrovia, Liberia, to discuss what should follow the MDGs. It's part of the 'High Level Panel on the Post 2015 Development Agenda' co-chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron. I've said before that this is more than a mere talking shop.

Not a single fragile state has achieved a single Millennium Development Goal. The MDGs were mostly blind to the vast disparities between countries and did not provide incentives for governments to reach out to the most vulnerable.

That must change for nations like the Democratic Republic of Congo, which I visited last week. This country, two-thirds the size of western Europe, sits on an estimated £15 trillion of mineral wealth and vast amounts of fertile land. Yet almost half of Congo's 30 million children are stunted from chronic malnutrition and the country ranks last of the 187 nations in the Human Development Index.

The UK Government's International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, announced last year, after the first set of High Level Panel meetings: "We cannot afford to exclude anyone from the next stages of the MDG agenda and I believe we all have a crucial role to play."

We agree - and insist we must go further by actively targeting the world's most fragile countries to ensure no-one is left behind as we tackle these pressing issues which lives depend upon.

Because every child's right to protection should be the same, no matter how tough the challenges in the place they live.

Last summer, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon tasked David Cameron and two other co-chairs, from Indonesia and Liberia, with preparing a "bold yet practical development vision".

Bold and practical this vision must be. Today's set of meetings must be a stepping stone towards a global, cultural shift to ensure that all children, no matter where on earth they live, know the basic level of protection they're entitled to. And it's all of our responsibilities to ensure they receive it.