A Second Look at the Views of Richard Heeks

In our last class we dedicated a good majority of the time talking about Richard Heeks’s article ICTs and the MDGs: On the Wrong Track? We discussed whether the conclusions he made in this article are fair, and which parts we agree and disagree with. We definitely came to a consensus that Heeks has some good points, but also that not all of the conclusions he came to are problems that we see with the MDGs. I decided to dig a little deeper to find more of his comments on the MDGs and I stumbled upon his blog. In his most recent blog post Analyzing the Post-2015 Development Agenda he looks at three different articles that outline a lot of the development goals post the 2015 MDG deadline. He analyzed the documents in two different ways. One was simpler, a tag cloud, which is defined by Google as “a visual depiction of the word content… to represent the prominence or frequency of the words or tags depicted.” In the tag cloud on this blog post the largest word was “development.” The next largest words were “sustainable,” “global” and “countries.” Of course it makes sense that these four words are the most frequent words seen in the reports considering that they are talking about sustainable  development of countries all around the world. The other way that Heeks analyzed the data was using a chart and he calculated the frequency of the term seen every 10,000 words. The term “sustanib” was seen 94.6 times every 10,000 which was more than twice frequency of any other word in the report. The next three most frequent words were system, partnership and environment, all with the frequency of 33-38 times every 10,000 words.

When analyzing this data Heeks came up with 10 main points within the documents. One of the points addresses that sustainable development seems to be the consensus as the core model that needs to be achieved when making strides after the MDGs. Another point that he made was that the two most important items on the agenda for development are addressing poverty and the environment. The next point that he made was that there are three main categories of development; social, economic and environmental, which do have some overlap. Heeks also noted that the majority of the ideas seen in the new development plan relate to the main ideas that are in the MDGs. He remarks that the main ones that are focused on are the first six goals; poverty, women (women’s rights and health), access to food or hunger, and education just to name a few.

Within the post Heeks never expresses what his opinions are on the documents. While in class and discussing whether or not the MDGs have a purpose and are promoting development, or actually inhibiting it. I agree that the MDGs aren’t perfect and that there are ways that they could be seen as deterring development, however, when I look at the MDGs I see them for what they are: Goals. Goals are something you strive for and may not fully reach, however, they give the community something to work for and push towards. For me, these new documents talking about development after the MDGs supports this ideology. Clearly not everything is yet solved in our world, but since so many of the improvements that need to be made are the same as the MDGs it means that the MDGs were on the right path. They may not have been reached by the goal of 2015, but now that the international community knows what needs to be worked on to improve conditions and development we can keep working towards this goal. The MDGs have shown us different tools that work, and different tools that don’t work. It is now time for the international community to keep working at them until there is no longer a need .


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