Governments need to create conditions in which businesses can flourish if poverty is to be rolled back – Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever wrote this week in an article you can read HERE. We are fast approaching the 2015 deadline previously set by the United Nations to meet tough Millennium Development Goals. These included big social targets on hunger, water, health and education. Assuming that we’ll arrive in 2015 and find that there’s still a way to go, Polman advocates some new approaches – particularly around the role of the private sector.
So the new agenda must place a strong incentive on governments to create the right conditions for business to flourish. It must engage the private sector not just in setting but in delivering the agenda. Increased pressure on public sector finances makes it unwise to rely too much on overseas development assistance funding to tackle all the issues that matter within the time available.
He also calls for good governance and properly functioning institutions:
Ultimately, it is well-governed and accountable institutions which ensure peace and security, enforce the rule of law, deliver effective public administration and tax collection, guard against corruption and provide transparent markets. Without these, governments cannot serve their citizens, business will not have the confidence to invest, and conflict-affected and fragile states will have no chance of escaping the poverty trap.
Polman calls for a new global partnership for development that as 2015 sails past will succeed where other approaches singularly have not.