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Development and transition

Development and transition

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July 2005 – Examines how ‘transition’ and ‘development’ are defined in different contexts and in relation to one another. Includes analysis of the Millennium Development Goals and a case study of the Ukraine.
July 2005 – Examines how ‘transition’ and ‘development’ are defined in different contexts and in relation to one another. Includes analysis of the Millennium Development Goals and a case study of the Ukraine.

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Published by: UNDP in Europe and Central Asia on Jul 31, 2014
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 JULY 2005
Published by the United Nations Development Programme and the London School of Economics and Political Sciencewww.developmentandtransition.net
Special Report: The Millennium Goals in the CISDevelopment Versus TransitionLost in Transition: When is transition over?Linking Economic Development and TransitionPoverty During the Early TransitionProductivity, Prosperity and DevelopmentUkraine, the First Hundred DaysForthcoming Conferences
Kalman Mizsei, Ben Slay andLouisa Vinton .......................................Ben Slay....................................................Gwendolyn Sasse..................................Waltraud Schelkle.................................Nicholas Barr...........................................Andrei Sarychev.....................................Iryna Akimova...............................................................................................................
Editor’s Note
Dear Reader,
Welcome to the Newsletter on Development and Transition in Europe and Eurasia, which will be pub-lished quarterly as a joint enterprise between UNDPand LSE. As the title suggests, the Newsletter aimsto be a forum for policy-oriented discussions anddebates about how the nature, evolution and chal-lenges of development and transition intersect inthese regions. Each issue will focus on a theme, andhave several related short contributions. Our aim isto discuss and think differently about policy frame-works by bringing together a variety of viewpointsand analytical approaches from researchers andpractitioners to explore and explain the core issuesand problems, and to extract the best practicesfrom lessons across countries. Our editorial policy isto promote innovative approaches to complexissues, irrespective of the orthodoxies in the aca-demic or policy worlds. It is not that we activelyseek to promote divergence and diversity in thecontributions to the Newsletter, it is simply that thisis a true reflection of the best thinking in the realworlds of academia and policy-making. To capturequality insights from different disciplines (econom-ics, political economy, political science, law, sociol-ogy) requires that we be as inclusive as possible. Wewill provide synopses of the latest UNDP reportsand papers relating to our themes, many of whichwill be produced by UNDP regional offices. We alsoencourage the inter-disciplinary exchange of ideas,and hope that our Newsletter will contribute tothis. In sum, our readers will have a menu of choic-es by which they can inform themselves of themost important challenges of development andtransition, and draw out policy recommendations. The first issue analyses and debates the commonlyused key terms and concepts of ‘development’ and‘transition’ from several perspectives. We demon-strate how these terms are understood differently,both between economists, and between econo-mists and political scientists. Subsequent issues willaddress other core themes in a similarly nuancedway, including: the management of minorities andmigration, the impact of EU enlargement, the rela-tionship between productivity and prosperity, andthe consequences of conflict for development andtransition.My role as editor is supported by an editorial boardconsisting of Ben Slay and Jonathan Brooks forUNDP, and Gwendolyn Sasse and Andrei Sarychevfor LSE. The Newsletter will include a regular sec-tion of news about relevant events and confer-ences and links to freely available papers, reportsand articles that deal with our thematic priorities. The Newsletter is published in English and Russian,and is distributed widely within UNDP and LSE’sextensive international knowledge and alumni net-works. It is our goal that the Newsletter be an easi-ly accessible vehicle for communicating ideas thatwill assist key practitioners who are involved in pol-icy discussions for the Europe and Eurasia regions.Comments on and submissions to Developmentand Transition should be submitted to:J.Hughes@lse.ac.uk.
JULY 2005 | issue 1
The MillenniumDevelopment Goals inThe CIS Countries
Kalman Mizsei, Ben Slay andLouisa Vinton
Are the MDGs relevant to the CIS?
 The Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) are at the heart of the inter-national development agenda.Thegoals have their origin in the Millen-nium Declaration, which appeals tothe universal values of freedom,equality, solidarity, tolerance,respect for nature and sharedresponsibility to rouse the world toan ambitious effort to eradicatepoverty and other social ills.TheMDGs were defined with an eye tothe development realities of theworld’s poorest countries, and analy-sis and policy thinking about themhas been oriented to a large degreeto Sub-Saharan Africa.This was thecase, for instance, with Investing inDevelopment: A Practical Plan toAchieve the Millennium Develop-ment Goals, the action plan toachieve the MDGs that was preparedby the Millennium Project led by Jeff Sachs and commissioned by the UNSecretary General and sponsored byUNDP. But are the MDGs relevant to theRussian Federation and the variedcountries that comprise the Com-monwealth of Independent States(CIS)—some of them middle-income, some of them suf-fering from dire poverty?Are the goals relevant in their‘pure’ global formulations, or should they be tailored tosuit national realities?If the latter, how should concretetargets be defined so that pursuit of the MDGs is mostbeneficial for these countries?How can the CIS coun-tries achieve these goals, as appropriately defined? Andhow should progress be measured?  These questions are at the heart of UNDP’s approach tothe MDGs in Russia and the rest of the CIS. UNDP’s expe-rience across the region underscores the relevance of the MDGs, both as an inspiration to energetic efforts onbehalf of the world’s poor and as a flexible framework within which countries can adapt the ‘global’ goals toaddress their own specific chal-lenges. Much of the MDG effort restson the technical work of economists,statisticians and policymakers,whose job it is to map the main chal-lenges in poverty, education, health,and environment, and to plot solu-tions. But when dealing with thetechnicalities of goals, targets andindicators (something UN expertsproduce in large quantities), it isimportant not to lose sight of the val-ues behind the MDG effort.
An inspiration for social solidarity
 The ideal of social solidarity is at thecore of the MDGs and the Millenni-um Declaration that inspired them,and this is what makes the Declara-tion such an important documentand, incidentally, such uplifting read-ing: “Those who suffer or benefitleast deserve help from those whobenefit most”, the Declaration pro-claims.This is the first time that thisfundamentally moral imperative hasbeen expressed with such clarity inan international context.Looking atthe MDGs from this angle, it is obvi-ous not only that the goals makeprofound sense in the CIS contextbut also that they address the spiritu-al vacuum that is a painful legacy of the Soviet system. The Soviet Union enshrined an official ideology basedon social solidarity, yet this was violated in everydaypractice. Instead, Soviet reality promoted a cynical indi-vidualism that bordered on survival of the fittest.Thisoutlook has persisted after the collapse of communism.‘Oligarchic’ business elites are very different from the
GDP per head
at purchasing power parity (US$)
Côte dIvoire1,520
South Africa10,070
JULY 2005 | issue 1
laissez-faire ideals of liberal pro-market advocates, andmarket institutions have developed without proper reg-ulatory underpinning or the safeguard of competitionagainst monopolistic profiteering.Income and assetinequality increased in the CIS in the early years of tran-sition.Hence the compelling need to reintroduce, in adramatically different institutional setting and with verydifferent consequences, the message of genuine socialsolidarity.For the poorest countries of the CIS in Cen-tral Asia, the Southern Caucasus and Moldova, the inter-national dimension of social solidarity is also com-pelling.
Applying the MDGs
 The MDGs are relevant not only as a moral inspiration,however.The poorest CIS countries are much poorerthan is generally assumed, in part because of a widelyheld illusion that the industrialisation brought develop-ment to all corners of the Soviet Union.The traditional,‘global’ MDGs are thus directly applicable to parts of theCIS. The fit is best in the Central Asian countries, due tothe sub-region’s legacy of post-Soviet economic col-lapse, unfavourable landlocked geography, and gener-ally low per-capita GDP, but the Caucasus countries andMoldova are also impoverished.Income poverty isquite apparent in these countries, particularly in ruralareas.So are unfavourable trends in education, infantmortality, and other MDG indicators.For these reasons, the Millennium Project report has rec-ommended that Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, as well asArmenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova, put theMDGs at the centre of the national development agen-da by aligning them with poverty reduction strategypapers.Moreover, the report has classified Armenia,Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistanas ‘MDG fast-track’ countries that could be eligible forincreased official development assistance. A closer look at the plight of these countries explains why these aresound proposals.A comparison of GDP per head provides some strikingresults. Tajikistan’s GDP per head, US$980 at purchasingpower party, is lower than that of many of Africa’s poor-est countries, including Kenya (US$1,020), Rwanda(US$1,270) and Uganda (US$1,390).In the EuropeanCIS, Moldova’s GDP per head (US$1,470) is lower thanthat of Sudan (US$1,820), Ghana or Angola (both atUS$2,130).Even Russia’s GDP per head, the highest inthe CIS, is only 80 percent of that of South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa’s richest country.While the nature andgenesis of poverty in the CIS may be very different fromthat in Africa, its magnitude is actually, and sadly, com-parable.Against this background, the world community’s indif-ference to the plight of the poorer countries of the CISoften seems outright discriminatory.PresidentVladimir Putin of Russia recently called attention to thisdiscrepancy when, while endorsing UK proposals toincrease international aid to Africa, he remarked on theneed for international assistance to the CIS. The Millennium Project has, to a limited extent, reck-oned with this issue by including Tajikistan into the firstround of pilot projects of its ‘needs assessment’, along-side Asian and African countries (Bangladesh, Cambo-dia, Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda).This methodology,whereby the government, with the support of externalexperts, sets poverty reduction goals for 2015 and thendrafts a programme of how to achieve them, includinginternational donor support, should be applied to all CIScountries with extremely low levels of GDP per capita. The compelling reason for this is that these very poorcountries will need large-scale international assistanceas well as economic growth and sensible social policiesto achieve the MDGs.
Adapting the MDGs
What of the wealthier countries of the CIS? Official statis-tical data in Russia, as well as in Belarus and Ukraine, do
Millennium Development Goals:
1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger2: Achieve universal primary education3: Promote gender equality and empower women4: Reduce child mortality5: Improve maternal health6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases7: Ensure environmental sustainability8: Build new global partnerships for development

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