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Questions on global development

A Conversation with Bill Gates: Global Development Scorecard

A Conversation with Bill Gates: Global Development Opportunities
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Question excerpt from Transcript of Q & A Session with Larry Cohen

How do you know-- how does anyone know when progress is being made? You know, is there a score card? You know? Who maintains that scorecard? What are the benchmarks? How do we know that we're getting closer to achieving some of the goals that you outlined in your letter and in your work?

Well, the most basic thing is health.  Not having your children die, having people live a long and healthy life.  And there are very clear metrics. The number of children that die every year who are under the age of five, you know, we know that pretty closely.  And that's a metric that's now come down to under 8 million a year. Really great progress, because it used to be gigantic compared to that.

Another metric would be people dying from malaria or HIV. Where we have drugs that can save their lives, yet were not there and not doing enough of that. The goals as a whole were pulled together in the millennium development goals or MDGs for short. And there are eight of those. I think it was a profound piece of work, because it got every country to say, "Okay, what progress am I making on these numbers? Who's doing it best? What should I do?"

The donors would make sure their money was focused on these truly basic needs. And so now the world, in 2015, where those goals will come due, will look and there will be a lot that are achieved. There'll be a lot that are not achieved. But overall, I'd say it's a good report card. And it guides us, in terms of, "Okay, don't just think about how much aid we spend, think about how much progress we make towards those goals."

So I encourage everybody to look those up. The world is starting a discussion about-- what should the next 15 years, the 2015 to 2030 goals be, how ambitious should those be?  What should they include?  Certainly child mortality, maternal mortality, these key diseases, those are going to stay there because we still have a lot to do.


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