In 2000, the United Nations member states adopted a set of eight development goals, to be reached by the end of 2015. These so-called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) include the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger and the achievement of universal primary education. The MDGs proved to be successful in generating world wide support for shared development goals, but also raised critical voice. The international community, through the UN system, is now seeking a (better) successor. Throughout this series of debates we will try to find out how this agenda is being shaped and explore the related discussions in academia.

Tuesday 7 October - The post-2015 development agenda: more than a facelift?

Jan Vandemoortele (Former UN Representative, Belgium)
Rudy De Meyer (Head of Research Department, 11.11.11, Belgium)
Moderator: Bert Jacobs (assistent, IOB, University of Antwerp, Belgium)
ppt Vandemoortele
ppt De Meyer

The opening debate of the series will set the scene for the next sessions. In order to understand the post 2015 agenda, one has to understand its history. When the Millennium Summit of the United Nations launched 8 millennium development goals in the year 2000, expectations were high as humanity greeted a new era. Leaders agreed that by 2015, undernourishment had to be halved and universal primary education had to be achieved. With the 2015 deadline now only one year away and a new generation of development goals in the scaffolding, it is time to draw some conclusions about MDGs and its aspirations for the future. Did the MDGs transform thinking on development for a generation or were they little more than the millennium bug, which created lots of noise but little impact? In our opening debate we therefore bring together 2 experts on the Millennium Development Goals and the road towards the Post 2015 agenda.

Jan Vandemoortele served in various capacities with the United Nations for 30 years. He was UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator to Pakistan from 2005-08. He was Director of the Poverty Group at UNDP in New York from 2001-05. It was during that period that he was the co-architect of the Millennium Development Goals. He holds a Ph.D. in Development Economics and publishes regularly in journals and books. Currently, he is working as an independent researcher.

Rudy De Meyer is adjunct-director politics at 11.11.11, the Flemish federation of North South Organizations. As head of the research department, he has been tracking the progress on the Millennium Development Goals for years.



Jan Vandemoortele (2014) Post-2015 agenda: mission impossible? Development Studies Research: An Open Access Journal

ODI (2013) A rough guide to emerging consensus and divergence in post-2015 goal areas

Al Jazeera America (September 29, 2014) Many UN development goals still far off target, experts say

Outcome Document - Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals

Tuesday 14 October - Climate change on the post-2015 agenda. What role for developing countries?

Andrew Scott (Research fellow, ODI, UK)
Maeve McLynn (Climate & Development Policy Coordinator, Climate Action Network Europe)
Moderator:  Jean Hugé (postdoctoral research fellow, ULB, Systems Ecology & Resource Management Lab)

Ppt Andrew Scott

Different studies show that the poor are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change.  Developing countries are experiencing  gradual sea-level rises, stronger cyclones, warmer days and nights, more unpredictable rains, and larger and longer heatwaves. These processes generate direct and indirect effects on the quality of life and on the developmental capacity of millions of people in the South. Actions to address these processes will also influence development outcomes. Additionally,  climate change will determine whether the development outcomes already achieved can be sustained. There is thus a clear link between climate change and development. But how can climate action be included in the post-2015 agenda? How can the efforts of developing countries and developed countries be defined and shared?  And how to ensure outcomes that are beneficial for both climate change and development?

Andrew Scott is a Research Fellow in the Climate Change, Environment and Forests programme. His main research interests are energy access for poverty reduction and the role of energy in sustainable livelihoods and in the transition to low-carbon development pathways. He has 30 years' experience in international development policy and practice in East and Southern Africa, South Asia and Latin America, and began his career as an ODI Fellow in Botswana. His experience includes financial and socio-economic analysis, monitoring and evaluation, project/programme formulation and planning, and research, in the areas of technology innovation and use in small-scale production, small enterprises and the environment, energy poverty and policy, the development impacts of new technologies, and science and technology in development. Andrew has an educational background in economics, but has worked across the social sciences. Before joining ODI he was for many years at Practical Action, an international NGO which aims to help eradicate poverty through the development and use of technology.

Maeve McLynn is a policy coordinator for climate change and development at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe secretariat, based in Brussels. She follows EU and international policy processes around climate finance, the post-2015 sustainable development framework and finance for development.  She has been working at CAN Europe for two and half years. Before joining CAN Europe she was a campaigns assistant at the European Coalition for Corporate Justice, and had previously volunteered as a campaigner for Irish development NGO Trócaire. More recently, Maeve has started research on fossil fuel subsidies from the perspective of climate finance and sustainable development.

Davidson et al. The development and climate nexus: the case of sub-Saharan Africa, Climate Policy,2003

Helen Picot and Nicholas Moss. the sustainable development goals: will they deliver climate compatible development for vulnerable countries? Working paper, September 2014

The race to ensure both environmental sustainability and human development (blog)

Tuesday 21 October - Lousy jobs for all or decent work for a few?

Lawrence Egulu (Senior Advisor, International Labour Organization (ILO), Switzerland)
Francis Teal (Emeritus Professor, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), University of Oxford, UK)
Moderator: Ben Vanpeperstraete - Supply Chain Coordinator at Uni Global Union

PPT Egulu
PPT Teal

With the global economy still sputtering more than five years after the ‘Great Recession’ began, job creation is again firmly on the policy agenda of governments and international organisations alike. In 2013, for example, the World Bank devoted its flagship World Development Report to this topic, showing that over the next 15 years an additional 600 million new jobs will be needed to absorb fast-growing working-age populations, particularly in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The report also argued that employment is instrumental for broader economic and social progress, besides its critical importance for individual well-being. Our keynote speaker Lawrence Egulu contends that in many developing countries, the problem is not so much the lack of jobs per se, but rather the poor quality and low productivity of existing jobs. What is needed, he argues, is better-paid employment that is supported by improved social safety nets and more bargaining power for unions, so that workers get to enjoy most of their increased earning power. These kinds of jobs  are exactly what the International Labour Organization (ILO) seeks to promote under its Decent Work agenda. Discussant Francis Teal, however, will defend the proposition that the ILO’s focus on creating ‘decent’ jobs in the poorest countries  risks leading to greater poverty, rather than less. In his opinion, policies that generate many ‘bad’ jobs (by the ILO’s definition) could actually be better at providing the poorly-educated with higher incomes than high-quality but capital-expensive jobs that will only be available to the happy few.

Mr. Lawrence Egulu holds a BA in Economics and Rural Economy from Kampala's Makerere University and an MA in Development Economics from Williams College in Massachusetts (US). He is employed as a Senior Adviser to the Deputy Director-General for Field Operations & Partnerships at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva. Before his current post, Mr. Egulu has also held positions at the ILO’s Africa Office in Addis Ababa, the World Bank, the African Regional Organization of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Uganda’s National Organization of Trade Unions, the Ugandan Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Makerere University. He has extensive experience in furthering the ILO’s Decent Work agenda and supporting the capacity building of trade unionists. His research interests include employment and social policy topics. See:

Emeritus Professor Francis Teal holds a PhD in Economics from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). He was the Deputy Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) at the University of Oxford from 1996 to 2012 and the Director of the ESRC funded Global Poverty Research Group (GPRG) from 2002 to 2006. Professor Teal previously held positions in Tanzania at the Tanzania Investment Bank, in the UK at the National Institute of Economics and Social Research and SOAS and in Australia at the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and the Australian National University. He has been involved in research and policy work on a wide range of trade, labour and development topics, including on the evolution of firms in Africa, agricultural productivity and the links between skills, employment and incomes in African labour markets. He has published extensively and in prestigious academic journals about these subjects. See:

Lawrence Egulu (2014) African working women and men need decent work

Francis Teal (2012) Policies for jobs in Africa: why we need more bad jobs (and fewer good ones)


Tuesday 28 October - Furthering the right to development. Towards a framework convention?

Koen De Feyter (Professor and Chair of International Law, University of Antwerp, Belgium)
Jean Bossuyt (Head of Strategy, European Centre for Development Policy Management, Belgium)
Moderator: Laura Beke (Research fellow, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven, Belgium)
PPT De Feyter

The Right to Development entails the right for every person to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy development, in which all human rights can be fully realized. However, at present no consensus exist between countries on how to realize the Right to Development. The Global South argues the need for a more equal international financial system, more clout in international decision-making and fair terms of trade. The North, on the other hand, emphasizes good governance, democracy and sound economic management. In this debate, Prof. Dr. Koen De Feyter (University of Antwerp, Belgium) and Mr. Jean Bossuyt (ECDPM, Belgium) discuss ways to overcome the political controversy over the legal status of the Right to Development. Prof. Koen De Feyter will present his “framework convention” on the Right to Development, underscoring the need for a gradual legal track to agree on specific protocols to obtain wider convergence in the long run. Mr. Jean Bossuyt will afterwards assess the legal tool with insights from the policy-making world.

Koen De Feyter is full-time Professor of International Law at the University of Antwerp and part-time Professor at PILC and the University of Maastricht. He was previously attached to the Human Rights Centre of the University of Maastricht, the Institute of Development Policy and Management of the University of Antwerp, and served as the Academic Coordinator of the European Master in Human Rights and Democratisation (Venice, Italy). He is a former Chair of Amnesty International Belgium (1998-1999) and an internationally recognized authority on human rights and development law. His publications include World Development Law (2001), Human Rights, Social Justice in the Age of the Market (2005), Privatisation and Human Rights (2005, co-ed.), Out of the Ashes. Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of Human Rights (2006, co-ed.), Economic Globalisation and Human Rights (2007, co-ed.) and numerous book chapters and articles in such journals as the Loyola University of New Orleans Human Rights Review, Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, Africa Legal Aid Quarterly.

Jean Bossuyt, a Belgian national, has been with ECDPM since 1990. His current position is Head of Strategy. Focusing on ACP-EU cooperation, he has been involved in policy and practical work on issues related to democratisation and governance; civil society participation; decentralisation and decentralised cooperation; EU cooperation policies and reform processes. He did fieldwork in several ACP countries and published extensively on ACP-EU cooperation. Prior to joining the Centre, he worked at the Centre for Third World Studies at the University of Ghent, for the Brussels Delegation of the UNHCR and as a civil servant in the Belgian Parliament.


Laura Beke is FP7 FRAME Research Fellow at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven, where she is also pursuing a PhD in Political Science on the integration of human rights in the EU’s Common Commercial Policy. As a Fulbright scholar, Laura obtained her MA degree in European Studies and International Economics (2010) from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington DC, as well as an MSc and BA degree in Political Science (2008) from the Free University of Brussels (VUB). Prior to joining the Centre, Laura worked at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship (DG Justice) and the UN’s Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in Tanzania.

De Feyter Koen (2013) Towards a framework convention on the right to development

Tuesday 4 November: Donors and the private sector: true partners for change?

Sarah Vaes (senior research associate at the Research Institute for Work and Society - HIVA)
Claudia Pompa (research officer at the Oversees Institute for Development - ODI)
Moderator: Prof. Dr. Patrick Kenis (Academic Dean of Antwerp Management School, University of Antwerp, Belgium)
Presentation Sarah Vaes
Presentation Claudia Pompa

One of the crucial challenges of the post-2015 agenda will be to harness the power of private sector enterprise and turn them into a prominent contributor to global development. Only a decade ago, the development community shied away from engaging with the private sector because their drive for profit and shareholder satisfaction seemed irreconcilable with sustainable development. In the early 2000s, donors quite successfully engaged themselves to untie their aid from private sector gains. But in the wake of the financial crisis, the role of the private sector in development is again open for discussion. In our debate, Sarah Vaes of KULeuven and Claudia Pompa of ODI will assess the relationships between donors and private actors, both in the North and South. They will offer insights into the opportunities that this relationship offers, but also the pitfalls that we have to avoid.

Sarah Vaes is a senior research associate at the Research Institute for Work and Society (HIVA) of the Catholic University of Leuven. Her work focuses on South-South cooperation, private sector engagements and climate change. She is currently working on the 11.11.11 Research Chair Development Cooperation, where she focusses on the role of NGOs & private sector. Previously, she has worked as a Policy Advisor on Climate Change and Development at VODO vzw and as a researcher at Ghent University.





Claudia Pompa is a research officer at the Oversees Institute for Development (ODI) in London. She works for the section Private Sector and Markets, where she focusses on donor engagements with the private sector, youth entrepreneurship and micro-enterprise. She is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.



Sarah Vaes & Huib Huyse (2014) 11.11.11 research chari development cooperation. Development cooperation ngos and private sector

Reimagining the role of the private sector in global development


Tuesday 18 November - Inside and beyond BRICs. Strategies to influence the global order of development.

David Hulme (Professor of Development Studies, University of Manchester, UK)
Ray Kiely (Professor of International Politics, Queen Mary University of London, UK)
Moderator: Tom De Herdt (Chair, IOB, University of Antwerp, Belgium)
Powerpoing Hulme
Powerpoint Kiely

Over the past two decades, Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRICs) have improved their relative position within the global income hierarchy. Thereby, the gap between the developed and developing world has narrowed and the power to influence global decision-making diffused. But is this a one-size-fits-all story? For example, have Brazil, India, Russia and China equal leverage and converging interests at the international stage, as is frequently assumed, or do important differences remain? Is the sheer focus on BRICs justified or are other ‘rising powers’ also getting more clout?  What can we say about their strategies to influence the global sphere? In this debate, Professor David Hulme (Professor of Development Studies, University of Manchester) will go “beyond the BRICs” to discuss how recent economic risers, like South Africa and Mexico, among others, are altering the global politics of development. Ray Kiely (Professor of International Politics, Queen Mary University of London) will afterwards discuss the dynamics within core powers of the international world system and discuss the mechanisms and techniques that undermine fundamental shifts to occur.

David Hulme is Professor of Development Studies at The University of Manchester where he is Director of the Brooks World Poverty Institute and CEO of the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre. He has worked on rural development, poverty and poverty reduction, microfinance, the role of non-government organisations in development, environmental management, social protection and the political economy of global poverty for more than 30 years. His main focus has been on Bangladesh but he has worked extensively across South Asia, East Africa and the Pacific. Recently, he has been a leading international expert in the discussion of the Millennium Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Ray Kiely graduated from the University of Leeds in 1985, with a BA in Politics. He stayed on and completed an MA in Political Sociology in 1987, and after a year of 'A' level teaching did a PhD in the Sociology Department at the University of Warwick from 1988 to 1991. In keeping with a commitment to inter-disciplinarity, he taught International Development in the Department of Cultural Studies at the University of East London from 1992 to 2002, and then in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS from 2002 to the end of 2006. After 14 years in full time work, he at last realized that Politics was his natural disciplinary home and moved to Queen Mary, where he was appointed Professor in 2007. He was Head of School from 2008 to 2012. His research focuses on three main areas: international political economy with particular reference to development and the alleged recent ‘rise of the South’ and the BRICs, debates over globalization, empire and imperialism, and neo-liberal theory and practice with particular reference to debates over austerity, democracy, mass society, populism and totalitarianism.

Oliver Stuenkel (2013) Institutionalizing South-South cooperation: towards a new paradigm?

Hulme et al (2012) Beyond the BRICs: alternative strategies of influence in the global politics of development

Tuesday 25 November - From bullets to ballots? The role of democratic elections in peace building and state building processes.

Andrew Bradley (Director,  Office of International IDEA to the EU, Belgium)
Stef Vandeginste (lecturer, IOB, University of Antwerp, Belgium)
Moderator: Nadia Molenaers (lecturer, IOB, University of Antwerp, Belgium)
Powerpoint Bradley

Since the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals, there has been a growing recognition to support the existence of strong linkages between development and peace. There is now a widespread agreement that  focusing on political issues such as peace and governance, as well as economic factors is essential to meet  development objectives. These issues are likely to gain even more prominence in the post 2015 framework. But what is the best model to promote peace? Since the early 1990s, democratization, and consequently the organization of elections, has become an increasingly prominent feature in post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding processes. The underlying assumption of this ‘liberal peace’ model is that the combination of democracy and the insertion in the market economy is the most suited model to avoid conflict and to build a peaceful state.  However, empirical evidence suggests that in different countries, elections did not contribute to the consolidation of a democratic state.  In this debate we question whether the liberal peace model is the most appropriate model to consolidate the post-conflict state. Do elections bring peace? Or do they, when organized prematurely, contribute to insecurity and instability?

As from the 1st of February 2012, Andrew Bradley heads the Office of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) to the EU in Brussels, Belgium.  He joined the senior management of the Institute in Stockholm, Sweden during May 2010 as the Director of Global Programmes. He was previously the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Human Development of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, where he was responsible for the maintenance of ACP-EU relations, bi- and multi-lateral negotiations, migration, human and social development, conflict prevention and resolution, and the promotion of democracy, human rights, governance and the rule of law. Prior to that, he was a diplomat and served in South African Embassies and Missions in Canada, Switzerland and Belgium. In this capacity, he participated in the negotiations for South Africa’s accession to the ACP Group and the Lomé Convention (now Cotonou Agreement), and acted as member of the South African Negotiating Team for the South Africa-EU Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA).  In his service to the ACP Group, he participated in the first phase (all ACP) of negotiations for ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), took part in the successful 2005 revision of the Cotonou Agreement, and was the ACP Group’s coordinator for the 2010 revision of the Agreement. He served on the Results Management Council (RMC) and Consultative Group (GC) of the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). His academic qualifications include graduate and post-graduate degrees and diplomas in Political Sciences, Strategic Studies, International Marketing and International Politics.

Stef Vandeginste is a lecturer at the Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB). He holds a Ph.D. in Law from the Unversity of Antwerp with a doctoral thesis ‘Law as a source and instrument of transitional justice in Burundi’. His research interests include political transitions, peace negotiations, power-sharing, transitional justice and human rights, with a geographical focus on Sub-Sahara Africa and Burundi in particular. He recently published in the International Journal of Human Rights, the Journal of Modern African Studies, Global Governance and Africa Spectrum. He is a co-editor of the Annuaire des Grands Lacs yearbook series.


Reilly 2010- elections in post-conflict scenarios

Electoral Processes & Political Parties: Elections, Political Parties, Democracy & Peacebuilding

Tuesday 2 December -Leaving no one behind: Why and how to tackle inequality post-2015

Stephan Klasen (Professor, University of Göttingen and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Germany)
Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva (Head of Research, Oxfam GB, UK)
Moderator: Koen Decancq (Centre for Social Policy Herman Deleeck - University of Antwerp)
Powerpoint Klasen


Inequality has undoubtedly become one of the hottest discussion topics in economic and social policy circles, both in the developing world and industrialised countries (witness the record sales of Thomas Piketty’s opus magnum Capital). Inevitably, inequality has also occupied a prominent role in deliberations on the Sustainable Development Goals, which will replace the original MDGs after 2015. Inequality concerns were notably missing in the MDGs. Our keynote, Stephan Klasen, will argue that, while inequality is certainly a serious problem that needs to be addressed, taking up within-country inequality reduction as a specific goal in the post-2015 agenda is not a good idea. For one, it will be very hard to establish a sort of global consensus on what the ‘optimal’ level of national inequality should be. Endless discussions about this may well derail the debate on a post-2015 development agenda that focuses firstmost on eliminating deprivation. Our discussant, Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva, believes that the fight against inequality, even if it will be difficult to agree on reduction targets, does deserve a central place in the post-2015 agenda. Higher inequality is closely associated with lower social mobility and lower equality of opportunities as well as with elite capture, which distorts accommodative economic and social policies away from those that need them most.

Professor Stephan Klasen holds a PhD from Harvard University, where he was also a research assistant to Amartya Sen. Since September 2003 he has been a Professor of Economics at the University of Göttingen. Before, he was employed at the Universities of Munich, Cambridge and Harvard and held visiting lecturer positions at the New School for Social Research in New York and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Professor Klasen has been involved in numerous consultancies, including for the World Bank, OECD, UNESCO, UNDP, World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER), German Society for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). His long publication list covers, among many other topics, issues such as income and gender inequality, poverty, employment and foreign aid. See:

Mr. Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva  graduated with honors from CIDE in Mexico City and earned an MA in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. He is the Head of Research for Oxfam Great Britain, where he manages a team delivering high profile research in support of Oxfam's global campaigns. Prior to joining Oxfam, Mr. Fuentes-Nieva worked with UNDP on the production of the first Africa Human Development Report. He co-authored several global Human Development Reports as well as the World Bank's World Development Report 2010 and is currently collaborating with the new assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Previously he held positions at the Ministry of Social Development in Mexico and the research department of the Inter-American Development Bank. He has done research on food security, climate change, social security and social policy, regional development, income, poverty, and inequality. See: 

 Klasen (2012) No, we don't need an MDG for inequality, The Brokeronline

Fuentes-Nieva (2013) Keeping an eye on the have-mores, The Brokeronline