7 Things the United States Can Do to Help Reach the MDGs

In the next few weeks the Obama administration will unveil its plan for the Millennium Development Goals.  As I write, diplomats at the UN are putting together an “outcome document” for an MDG summit of heads of state in New York in September.  How can the United States make the most of this global moment for the MDGs? At a hearing on Capital Hill this morning, John McArthur from the Millennium Promise sketched out seven items that the United States ought to bring to the UN as a part of a “U.S. action plan” for achieving the MDGs.

• Fully fund the Feed the Future strategy, in particular through the new multilateral Global Agriculture and Food Security Program.

• Support a new Global Fund for Education, as proposed by President Obama and Secretary Clinton, and include secondary education in its mandate, with special focus on the needs of girls.

• Continue to scale-up the U.S. global health leadership by focusing on the problems that still need to be solved rather than pausing based on the achievements of the past decade. This has two parts:

First, commit full financing for the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief and the President’s Malaria Initiative; and increase the U.S. annual contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria from $1 billion to $2 billion, recognizing that $1 dollar from the U.S. leverages $2 dollars from other advanced economies.

Second, endorse the U.N. Secretary-General’s proposed Joint Action Plan for child, maternal and newborn health, and launch a new multilateral effort on maternal and child health anchored in the Global Fund, with initial U.S. financing of $2 billion per year that again leverages the 1-to-2 ratio.

• Support a major scale-up of African economic infrastructure, as recommended by the MDG Africa Steering Group, with U.S. funding of at least $5 billion per year, including allocations through the World Bank’s International Development Association and African Development Bank’s African Development Fund.

• Work with African countries to support holistic rural development scale-up strategies like the Millennium Villages.

• Launch a new MDG Innovation Fund to scale-up successful programs that present new delivery mechanisms for MDG achievement in low-income countries.

• Set a 12-month timetable for the proposal and adoption of a proper international mechanism to achieve the water and sanitation MDG targets.

The list is a little wonky, but the basic idea is that there are a number of discreet things the Obama administration can do in the near term to achieve the MDGs by the 2015 target date.