Prioritizing 19 global targets instead of the UN’s 169 is equivalent to doubling or quadrupling foreign aid


Bjorn Lomborg

The Nobel Laureates' 19 targets to change the world

Over the past 18 months, Post-2015 Consensus has published 100+ peer-reviewed analyses from 82 of the world’s top economists and 44 sector experts along with many UN agencies and NGOs. These have established how effective 100+ targets would be in terms of social value-for-money. An Expert Panel including two Nobel Laureates has reviewed this research and identified 19 targets that represent the best value-for-money in development over the period 2016 to 2030, offering more than $15 back on every dollar invested.

As reported by Reuters (e.g. in New York Times), the newspapers of record in Germany (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and Chile (El Mercurio), and major Mexican newspaper Milenio, the expert analyses suggest that if the UN concentrates on 19 top targets, it can get $20 to $40 in social benefits per dollar spent, while allocating it evenly across all 169 targets would reduce the figure to less than $10.

The 169 commandments

Since the publication of the UN Open Working Group's proposal of 169 targets for the Sustainable Development Goals last summer, Post-2015 Consensus and Bjorn Lomborg have continuously argued that having 169 priorities is like having no priorities at all.

In a leader in its new edition, The Economist agrees, writing that the UN's proposal is "ambitions on a Biblical scale, and not in a good way. (...) Governments are to approve the SDGs in September. By then the list should honour Moses and be pruned to ten goals aimed squarely at reducing poverty, boosting education (for example, extending girls’ schooling by two years) and improving health (say by halving the rate of malaria infection)."

Which MDGs did some good and which SDGs might work?

additional Economist article looks more closely at which MDGs did some good and Copenhagen Consensus' assessment of the SDGs, featuring the top targets our Nobel Laureates recommend.

Framing the debate on aid and prosperity in Australia

The University of Western Australia and the Copenhagen Consensus Center are establishing a new policy research center focused on economic prioritization for Australia, the region and the world. The new Australia Consensus Centre will help focus on the smart, long-term priorities for Australia and the world, as Sydney Morning Herald, Berlingske and multiple other newspapers in Australia and Denmark report.

Where to spend Australia's aid money best

Bjorn Lomborg was invited by the Australian government to participate in an innovative new project aimed at delivering Australia’s foreign aid program in more effective and efficient ways, Devex, Sky News and Canberra Times report. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told Sydney Morning Herald that Dr Lomborg is "a leading economist and a creative thinker and will add to the international input for our exciting new innovation initiative for the delivery of aid".

In this context, Sydney Morning Herald and other papers distributed to Australian civil servants wrote a comprehensive portrait of Dr. Lomborg, specifically looking at Copenhagen Consensus' approach to use cost-benefit in aid analyses.

What is worth saving?

Biodiversity - the species we share our planet with - is under pressure. Post-2015 Consensus research finds that prevent the loss of coral reefs will give at least $24 of environmental benefits per dollar spent. Likewise, reducing the current loss of forests by half would likely do about $10 of good for each dollar spent. However, increasing protected areas, because it is very costly but only somewhat helpful, is likely to do less than $1 of good per dollar spent.
Bjorn Lomborg's new column for Project Syndicate is available in nine languages and got published around the world, e.g. in Shanghai Daily (China), El Tiempo (Colombia) and New Times (Rwanda).

Engaging Indonesia in the Post-2015 debate

Bjorn Lomborg recently travelled to Jakarta to discuss the Post-2015 agenda with journalists, students at University of Indonesia, high-level politicians and the United Nations Development Programme.

Stop subsidizing fossil fuels

The world spends $548 billion subsidizing fossil fuels, mostly in developing countries.
A disproportionate share of the subsidies goes to the middle class and the rich – after all, they are the ones who can afford a car in poor countries. In an interview on Australia's ABC Radio National Breakfast program Lomborg argues that this money could have been spent much better on health, nutrition and education.

Earth Hour distracts us from real problems and solutions

On March 28, millions shut their lights off for an hour to raise awareness for climate change.

Lomborg writes on LinkedIn that instead of turning off the lights, we should focus on finding bright solutions that can help both the climate and the 1.3 billion people who live without electricity.

Politicians urged to educate youth on global development

Post-2015 Consensus continues its Youth Forums in Africa, Asia and Latin America to educate students about the world's goals for the next 15 years and discuss their priorities, as Ghana News Agency reports.

Recommended links:

Will Oxford University Stop Investing in Coal and Oil?
Interview on BBC World

Q&A: What’s the cheapest way to improve nutrition for the most people?
The Guardian

To free the poor, free the trade
Economic Times (India)

Grappling with population growth
The Sun (Malaysia)

Good nutrition makes healthy children and productive adults
Daily Star (Egypt)

Emphasising trade for attaining development goals
The Financial Express (Bangladesh)

Bangladesh's serious 'hidden hunger' problem
bdnews24 (Bangladesh)

MDR-TB: Experts warn of a costly battle ahead
bdnews24 (Bangladesh)

La gratuité de la contraception pour aider le monde
Journal du Mali

Violence domestique : 9 milliards de dollars de sévices
Réussir Business (Senegal)

100 ekspertów stawia nowe cele dla świata
Obserwator finansowy (Poland)

Blog for Berlingske (Denmark)

Kina er ikke en grøn supermagt

Skræmmekampagne om bidød

Manipulation af pesticidforskning

Klima som udviklingsmål

Urealistiske forventninger til grøn energi

About Bjorn Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus 

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg researches the smartest ways to improve the environment and the world, and has repeatedly been named one of Foreign Policy’s top 100 public intellectuals.

He is the author of several best-selling books, an adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School and regularly works with many of the world’s top economists, including seven Nobel Laureates. 
His think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus Center was ranked by the University of Pennsylvania as one of the world’s "Top 25 Environmental Think Tanks".

Lomborg is frequent commentator in print and broadcast media, for outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, CNN, FOX, and the BBC. His monthly column is published in 19 languages, in 30+ newspapers with more than 30 million readers globally.
Thank you for your continued interest and we hope you enjoy these occasional updates, if you do not wish to receive news about Bjørn Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus in the future, you can easily remove your email from our mailing list.
Best wishes,
Zsuzsa Horvath
Executive Assistant to Bjorn Lomborg
US online phone number: +1-347-903-0979
Office cell in Budapest: +36-306920720 
Support the non-profit Copenhagen Consensus Center: donate hereforward this email to a friend, or read archived letters.

Copyright © 2015 Copenhagen Consensus Center, All rights reserved.
unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences