The Development Community Should Do More

In the development community, we have rich data — backed up by evidence — about, for example, the number of jobs created in certain countries. But, what is the impact of those jobs on SDG 1 (eliminating poverty)? Recent publications touch on the contributions of development organizations to the SDGs, but they don’t go far enough. For example, DFID’s March 2017 Agenda 2030 explains what the U.K. government is doing at home and abroad to attain the SDGs, and the U.S. Department of State’s State of Global Partnerships Report details the contributions of one partnership per SDGs. Likewise, development organizations have started to link project outcomes to SDGs in blogs, articles, and presentations, but these mostly focus on the contributions of single projects or single outcomes (like in the State Department report). This is a great start but none of these efforts show the full aggregated impact of the development community’s work on the SDGs. It’s time for the development community to catch up with the private sector. We need to put our heads together and develop a systematic way to translate our donor-specific results into the same language that governments and the private sector are using, so that we can demonstrate our contributions to the SDGs alongside these sectors. Doing so might just make our precious development dollars go further; When spoken in the same language, the impact of development investments and opportunities for partnerships are more clear. All of which may help us reach our ultimate goal of ending the need for development assistance.