February 2005

MDG: From stories to numbers

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The United Nations formulated the Millennium Development Goals in 2000. The eight Goals and the Declaration form the basis for national governments to set targets and adapt strategies to fulfill the Goals by 2015. For more than 70 of the poorest countries, the main strategic tool is a nationally owned poverty reduction strategy, which relates to national budgets, development activities and other assistance frameworks.

2005 will be a stocktaking year for MDG Goals in September. We will be examining particularly the role of ICTs in achieving the Millennium Development Goals that have been accepted by 187 countries around the world.

This issue focuses on Poverty Reduction. Understanding poverty is a complex issue. The definition itself would vary from country to country and the concepts that we find in international development literature reveals the multi-dimensional nature of poverty. According to an excellent publication produced by UNDP entitled, “Review of Poverty Concepts and Indicators” by Renata Lok-Dessallien, poverty can be conceived as absolute or relative, as lack of income or failure to attain capabilities. It can be chronic or temporary, is sometimes closely associated with inequity, and is often correlated with vulnerabilities and social exclusion. The concepts used to define poverty determine the methods employed to measure it and the subsequent policy and programme packages to address it. The paper reviews the main types and families of indicators that have emerged over time, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. It concludes with practical guidance to inform the choice of poverty indicators at country level.

Starting with this issue i4d will try to examine if ICTs play a role in achieving the MDG targets. The perspective will be to bring lessons from local efforts to make a difference in the lives of the poor people and the advocacy efforts to upscale successful models through new partnerships and alliances and making the governments in each country to fulfill the pledges made at various international meetings.

The task is far from complete. We hope to have readers' inputs and experience sharing on how to measure success, upscale them and help nations fulfill their promises.


Ravi.Gupta@i4donline.net.

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