This year, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come to an end, and all the world’s governments will agree on a Post-2015 Development Agenda and set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – as described by Kevin Watkins in his article in this issue of Alliance. Influencing how the SDGs are implemented is enormously important because they will drive the bulk of official development assistance, and the work of development ministries and government departments around the world. Moreover, they are universal: all governments will be expected to adopt them and to report on their achievement. How is the philanthropy sector responding?
Foundations and individual givers largely select their causes on the basis of the passions and interests of their founders, boards and leadership teams, or from compelling non-profits with whom they interact. Less common is programme design that consciously builds on global or national development targets and government and UN commitments. There are exceptions in specific fields like HIV/AIDS and women’s rights, but in general the meta-level frameworks have never represented or captured the attention of philanthropy as a whole.
Bringing philanthropy into the development debate
In 2014, six organizations – the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Foundation Center and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, working with and supported by the Conrad N Hilton, Ford and MasterCard Foundations – launched the Post-2015 Partnership Platform for Philanthropy. Its aims are to: