Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 236

There is an issue in relation to the upskilling
and training of teachers, and there’s an issue
in relation to the professionalism, reputation
and status of teachers, which has a different
kind of cultural association.”
She added that there are many related issues
that need to be considered when deciding on a
replacement for the MDGs, and said that it is
also important to consider the contribution of
the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
International co-operation
Addressing delegates, Costello discussed the
important role of international co-operation in
research and development in helping to
achieve major global challenges, something
emphasised in a 2012 European Commission
communication concerning Horizon 2020. The
EU institution said that research and
innovation collaboration with developing
countries would focus on ‘complementing the
EU’s external policies and instruments by
building partnerships … to contribute to the
sustainable development of these regions and
address challenges such as the green
T
he year 2015 is the target date for achieving the Millennium
Development Goals (MDG). World leaders came together 15
years ago at the United Nations headquarters in New York to
adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, a new “global
partnership to reduce extreme poverty” by the middle of the next decade.
The deadline year has now arrived, and assessments are being made
on the extent to which these international ambitions have been achieved.
It is widely acknowledged that substantial progress has been made in
accomplishing the eight goals of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger;
achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and
empowering women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health;
combatting HIV/ AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensuring
environmental sustainability; and developing a global partnership
for development.
According to the UN’s 2014 MDG report, extreme poverty has been
reduced by half, over 2.3 billion people have gained access to an
improved drinking water source, targeted efforts have helped avoid over
three million deaths from malaria, and there have been major gains in
increasing primary school attendance. However, more efforts need to be
taken to decrease dropout rates in primary education, encourage
environmental sustainability, reduce maternal and child mortality, and
tackle the plight of hunger and chronic undernutrition.
Reflections
Looking beyond the MDGs to assess how such issues can be addressed,
Portal travelled to Brussels to attend the breakfast event ‘EU development
aid: experiences and recommendations from stakeholders driving
science and innovation’. Portal heard the thoughts of the former Irish
MEP and once lord mayor of Dublin, Emer Costello, who is now a
European and public policy consultant. Addressing delegates, she
described 2015 as a definitive year.
“2015 is going to be a particularly important year, because this is the
year that, first of all, the MDGs conclude. It’s time that we reflect maybe
on some of the successes, but it is also important that we look at some
of the failures and some of the areas that haven’t actually worked to see
how we can best learn from those experiences, because you can learn
from programmes that didn’t work.”
Costello said that the MDGs had been “instrumental in relieving
poverty”. Yet there are other areas where further work is needed,
namely education: “While the MDGs were very successful in trying to
facilitate and foster a spirit of education in Africa, there are issues and
problems in relation to the quality of education that is being provided.
I S S U E S I X
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
236
S P E C I A L F E AT U R E : E U R O P E & A F R I C A
Achieving our goals?
In Brussels,
Portal
carries the views of former Irish MEP
Emer Costello,
who
reflected on achieving the MDGs and the efforts made by the EU
Costello has described
the MDGs as
“instrumental in
relieving poverty”
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