The MDGs, Capabilities and Human Rights: The power of numbers to shape agendas

Sakiko Fukuda-Parr (Editor) and Alicia Ely Yamin (Editor) (2015)
London: Routledge (192 pages)

Heralded as opening a new chapter in international development, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have led to the use of global goals and quantitative targets as a central instrument for defining global priorities. This book by Sakiko Fukuda-Parr (Editor) and Alicia Ely Yamin (Editor) explores the implications of this new approach. How does target setting influence policy priorities of national governments, bilateral donors, multilateral agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders? What are the intended and unintended consequences? Why is the use of numeric indicators effective? How does quantification reshape meanings of challenges such as women’s empowerment?

Building on 11 case studies and a conceptual framework, this book provides a goal-by-goal analysis by leading specialists in the relevant fields. These specialists analyse the choices made, as well as the empirical and normative effects of the MDGs to offer insights for a more rigorous use of indicators and cautions on their limitations and perverse consequences. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.