President Barack Obama believes it. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia believes it. I believe it, too: By 2030, we can eradicate extreme poverty.
This is not a hollow platitude. The generations living today are the first in human history that could eliminate extreme deprivation and hunger. It is critical that all nations strive to meet this goal. Not only for our own security, though we know that a more prosperous world is more stable, but because ending extreme poverty is the right thing to do.
Since 2000, international development has been shaped by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), an ambitious agenda of measurable targets that the world’s nations committed themselves to strive to achieve. In no small part because of this agenda, the past 13 years have seen more than half a billion people work their way out of extreme poverty.
The target date for these goals is Dec. 31, 2015. That is why, last summer, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed 27 leaders from around the world — including me — to a high-level panel charged with formulating an agenda for global development beyond 2015.