With 10 years down and just five years before our development targets come due, we must do better. — President Obama
On September 22, 2010, President Obama made a speech in New York at the Millennium Development Goals Summit. While saying that there has been progress towards achieving the MDGs, Obama says that the progress has not come fast enough. He announces that the old tactics towards development are not enough, and that “If the international community just keeps doing the same things the same way, we may make some modest progress here and there, but we will miss many development goals. That is the truth”. Based off our discussions in class, this is good news. Richard Heeks’ article “ICTs and MDGs: on the wrong track?” addresses some of the main issues with the MDGs, most importantly that there they don’t use or address ICTs.
With that, Obama announced in this speech a new US Global Development Policy. Both his speech and the new policy specifically address using technology towards development. The President remarks that aid alone is not equal to development, and that we must remember the lessons from the Green Revolution to achieve sustainable development. One policy is to “Invest in game-changing innovations with the potential to solve long-standing development challenges”. One way to achieve this is to increase investment in innovations for development technologies such as “vaccines, weather-resistant seed varieties, and clean energy technologies”.
It is a relief to see that relying simply on the MDGs is no longer the main objective of our government. Obama assures that the US will continue to be the leader in development, and therefore must change and re-vamp our policies to do so, including the implementation and use of ICTs.