On Monday, April 4, 2016 the United Nations Office at Geneva held an Executive Briefing on the Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2015/2016 “Development Goals in an Era of Demographic Change”, a World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund joint publication. The report, presented by lead economist in the Prospects Group of the Development Economics Vice Presidency of the World Bank, Dr. Philip Schellekens, details the progress towards the global development goals and examines the impact of demographic change on achieving these goals. This two-parts report is the first attempt to document global demography since 1984. It analyses global development progress, the unfinished development agenda, and the policy opportunities ahead.
Using a 2030 Agenda lens, GMR assesses progress toward ending extreme poverty by 2030, in promoting shared prosperity, and it outlines the measures necessary to scale up impact over horizon of the Sustainable Development Goals. Despite solid development gains over the years, the report documents that progress has been irregular. Indeed, Dr. Schellekens explained that with an estimated 900 million people in 2012 living on less than $1.90 day—the updated international poverty line which takes into account price level—and a projected 700 million in 2015, extreme poverty remains far too high. More particularly, he focused on three key challenges that remain on the development front: 1) the depth of the remaining poverty, with extreme poverty concentrating in Sub-Saharan Africa; 2) the unevenness in shared prosperity; and 3) the existence of shared disparities in non-income dimensions of development.
The second part of the report concentrates on the impacts of profound demographic shifts on the course of global development. While examining how the world has evolved, Dr. Schellekens looked at global patterns and trends, as well as policies at country level and at cross-border impact on poverty. He noted the interconnectivity between demography and development and stressed “demography affects development and that development affects demography.”
The presentation was followed by a lively discussion where topics such as how to concretely reach the remaining pocket of poverty, and the role of conflicts/fragility and climate change in development were addressed. During the concluding remarks, Dr. Schellekens stressed that in order to attain the very ambitious SDGs, job creation has to increase, the private sector has to play a bigger role and finally more country level work needs to be achieved