By Chris Niles
NEW YORK, United States of America, 14 May 2013 – Gender equality and education will be critical in planning the development agenda that succeeds the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning Amina Mohammed.
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With the international community assessing the gains made by the MDGs and forging a path for the future after the 2015 deadline, Ms. Mohammed has been appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to help create an inclusive and sustainable development plan.
She says that gender equality is a crucial focus of her role.
“It’s about recognizing where the gaps are, and keeping them front and centre,” she explains. “Rather than see people as a burden or as an addition to a development agenda which looks to become heavier and heavier, is to see that it can lighten the burden by investing in those potentials and bringing a more peaceful and prosperous world to everyone.”
Ms. Mohammed said there was no ‘silver bullet’ for ensuring a girl’s right to a quality education, but that the development community needs to continue to advocate for that right and hold governments accountable for delivering.
Part of the challenge of crafting an equitable new agenda is that many MDG gains have been eroded by conflict and issues such as bad planning, bad governance and lack of investment.
“These are issues that have pulled us back,” Ms. Mohammed says. “I think we need to make sure we address those in the longer term.”
Looking to the future, Ms. Mohammed says that as the development landscape changes, broader partnerships will be essential to ensuring that successful programmes go beyond pilots and benefit as many people as possible.
“The agenda is bigger. The partnerships themselves won’t be static. We’ll be going across borders using technology. So I’m excited about what civil society and young people bring to the table.”
She sees a much greater effort required on the part of the international community to meet its existing commitments to educate girls – and that includes giving mothers and women greater responsibility.
“To think that today we still have so much to do, and yet people are moving back from those commitments – not even just meeting them, but moving back from them – is unacceptable,” Ms. Mohammed says. “We need to encourage people to see that this is in their own interests. No one must be left behind in the next development agenda.”