Sri Lankan researcher questions MDGs, notes backward trends

Nov 24, 2007 (LBO) – A Sri Lankan researcher has questioned the importance of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) saying they did not reveal reasons for poverty and that some showed an alarming trend in the wrong direction. Priyanthi Fernando, executive director, Centre for Poverty Analysis, said MDGs and other economic indicators were good for making comparisons and targeting.

“But I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable with MDGs,” she told a news conference where a progress report on MDGs in the Asia-Pacific region was presented this week.

“This is not to deny that MDGs focussed world attention on poverty and other issues. But they are just indicators and describe outcomes and not processes, which we need to look at when dealing with issues like poverty.”

Fernando said that while MDGs measure the extent of deprivation they do not reveal why people are being deprived, and the power relations and politics involved in perpetuating poverty.

Other critics had pointed out that high inflation generated by the government through the paper money system was impoverishing people through a secret inflation tax.