Open letter to the United Nations
H.E. Ban Ki-Moon,
Secretary-General of the United Nations,
United Nations Headquarters,
New York, NY 10017
14th November 2014
In the coming weeks negotiations to finalise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for eradicating poverty will begin. We urge you to champion the cause of economic growth as the foundation stone for achieving long term poverty reduction.
No country has succeeded in significantly reducing poverty without sustained economic growth. The current SDG proposals list a wide variety of noble ambitions including securing food, health, education, and energy. Yet, poor attainment in these areas is in large measure a consequence of poverty and a lack of growth. There is a risk that presenting the SDGs as if they could be directly delivered by public action inadvertently casts ordinary people in the passive role of recipients of government largesse. Without sustained economic growth the resources required for effective public action will be limited.
Strong growth boosts employment opportunities, increases incentives for parents to invest in their children’s health and education, fosters entrepreneurship and innovation, and generates pressure for investment in essential infrastructure and for improved governance. Achieving the SDG targets will not be possible unless the agenda focuses squarely on individuals as active generators of their own income, lifting themselves out of poverty.
Economic growth has been the single biggest factor driving poverty reduction around the world. There is no magic bullet for delivering economic growth – it requires an effective state, productive firms, functioning cities, and access to energy. Helping societies to achieve economic growth thus means empowering them to create their own solutions. If the SDGs are to be successful in their central target of eradicating global poverty then a clear commitment to strong, sustainable economic growth needs to be at the forefront of the post-2015 development agenda.