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So let me start by taking you back, back into the mists of your memory to perhaps the most anticipated year in your life, but certainly the most anticipated year in all human history: the year 2000. Remember that? Y2K, the dotcom bubble, stressing about whose party you're going to go to as the clock strikes midnight, before the champagne goes flat, and then there's that inchoate yearning that was felt, I think, by many, that the millennium, that the year 2000, should mean more, more than just a two and some zeroes.
Well, amazingly, for once, our world leaders actually lived up to that millennium moment and back in 2000 agreed to some pretty extraordinary stuff: visionary, measurable, long-term targets called the Millennium Development Goals.
Now, I'm sure you all keep a copy of the goals under your pillow, or by the bedside table, but just in case you don't, and your memory needs some jogging, the deal agreed then goes like this: developing countries promised to at least halve extreme poverty, hunger and deaths from disease, alongside some other targets, by 2015, and developed nations promised to help them get that done by dropping debts, increasing smart aid, and trade reform.
Well, we're approaching 2015, so we'd better assess, how are we doing on these goals? But we've also got to decide, do we like such global goals? Some people don't. And if we like them, we've got to decide what we want to do on these goals going forward. What does the world want to do together? We've got to decide a process by which we decide.
Well, I definitely think these goals are worth building on and seeing through, and here's just a few reasons why. Incredible partnerships between the private sector, political leaders, philanthropists and amazing grassroots activists across the developing world, but also 250,000 people marched in the streets of Edinburgh outside this very building for Make Poverty History.
All together, they achieved these results: increased the number of people on anti-retrovirals, life-saving anti-AIDS drugs; nearly halved deaths from malaria; vaccinated so many that 5.4 million lives will be saved. And combined, this is going to result in two million fewer children dying every year, last year, than in the year 2000. That's 5,000 fewer kids dying every day, ten times you lot not dead every day, because of all of these partnerships. So I think this is amazing living proof of progress that more people should know about, but the challenge of communicating this kind of good news is probably the subject of a different TEDTalk. Anyway, for now, anyone involved in getting these results, thank you. I think this proved these goals are worth it.
But there's still a lot of unfinished business. Still, 7.6 million children die every year of preventable, treatable diseases, and 178 million kids are malnourished to the point of stunting, a horrible term which means physical and cognitive lifelong impairment. So there's plainly a lot more to do on the goals we've got.
But then, a lot of people think there are things that should have been in the original package that weren't agreed back then that should now be included, like sustainable development targets, natural resource governance targets, access to opportunity, to knowledge, equity, fighting corruption. All of this is measurable and could be in the new goals.
But the key thing here is, what do you think should be in the new goals? What do you want? Are you annoyed that I didn't talk about gender equality or education? Should those be in the new package of goals?
And quite frankly, that's a good question, but there's going to be some tough tradeoffs and choices here, so you want to hope that the process by which the world decides these new goals is going to be legitimate, right?
Well, as we gather here in Edinburgh, technocrats appointed by the U.N. and certain governments, with the best intentions, are busying themselves designing a new package of goals, and currently they're doing that through pretty much the same old late-20th-century, top-down, elite, closed process.
But, of course, since then, the Web and mobile telephony, along with ubiquitous reality TV formats have spread all around the world. So what we'd like to propose is that we use them to involve people from all around the world in an historic first: the world's first truly global poll and consultation, where everyone everywhere has an equal voice for the very first time.
I mean, wouldn't it be a huge historic missed opportunity not to do this, given that we can? There's hundreds of billions of your aid dollars at stake, tens of millions of lives, or deaths, at stake, and, I'd argue, the security and future of you and your family is also at stake.
So first of all, we've got to ground this campaign in core polling data. Let's go into every country that will let us in, ask 1,001 people what they want the new goals to be, making special efforts to reach the poorest, those without access to modern technology, and let's make sure that their views are at the center of the goals going forward.
Then, we've got to commission a baseline survey to make sure we can monitor and progress the goals going forward. The original goals didn't really have good baseline survey data, and we're going to need the help of big data through all of this process to make sure we can really monitor the progress.
And then we've got to connect with the big crowd. Now here, we see the role for an unprecedented coalition of social media giants and upstarts, telecoms companies, reality TV show formats, gaming companies, telecoms, all of them together in kind of their "We Are The World" moment. Could they come together and help the Millennium Development Goals get rebranded into the Millennial Generation's Goals? And if just five percent of the five billion plus who are currently connected made a comment, and that comment turned into a commitment, we could crowdsource a force of 300 million people around the world to help see these goals through.
If we have this collected data, and this connected crowd, based upon our experience of campaigning and getting world leaders to commit, I think world leaders will commit to most of the crowdsourced recommendations.
But the question really is, through this process will we all have become committed? And if we are, are we ready to iterate, monitor and provide feedback, make sure these promises are really delivering results?
Well, there's some fantastic examples here to scale up, mostly piloted within Africa, actually. There's Open Data Kenya, which geocodes and crowdsources information about where projects are, are they delivering results. Often, they're not in the right place. And Ushahidi, which means "witness" in Swahili, which geocodes and crowdsources information in complex emergencies to help target responses. This is some of the most exciting stuff in development and democracy, where citizens on the edge of a network are helping to force open the process to make sure that the big global aid promises and vague stuff up at the top really delivers for people at a grassroots level and inverts that pyramid. This openness, this forcing openness, is key, and if it wasn't entirely transparent already, I should be open: I've got a completely transparent agenda.
Long-term trends suggest that this century is going to be a tough place to live, with population increases, consumption patterns increasing, and conflict over scarce natural resources. And look at the state of global politics today. Look at the Rio Earth Summit that happened just last week, or the Mexican G20, also last week. Both, if we're honest, a bust. Our world leaders, our global politics, currently can't get it done. They need our help. They need the cavalry, and the cavalry's not going to come from Mars. It's got to come from us, and I see this process of deciding democratically in a bottom-up fashion what the world wants to work on together as one vital means by which we can crowdsource the force to really build that constituency that's going to reinvigorate global governance in the 21st century.
Many people made fun of a big campaign a few years ago we had called Make Poverty History. It was a naive thought in many people's minds, and it's true, it was just a t-shirt slogan that worked for the moment. But look. The empirical condition of living under a dollar and 25 is trending down, and look where it gets to by 2030. It's getting near zero. Now sure, progress in China and India and poverty reduction there was key to that, but recently also in Africa, poverty rates are being reduced. It will get harder as we get towards zero, as the poor will be increasingly located in post-conflict, fragile states, or maybe in middle income states where they don't really care about the marginalized. But I'm confident, with the right kind of political campaigning and creative and technological innovation combined working together more and more as one, I think we can get this and other goals done.
Chris Anderson: Jamie, here's the puzzle to me. If there was an incident today where a hundred kids died in some tragedy or where, say, a hundred kids were kidnapped and then rescued by special forces, I mean, it would be all over the news for a week, right? You just put up, just as one of your numbers there, that 5,000 -- is that the number?
JD: It does, and we're having a huge debate in this country about aid levels, for example, and aid alone is not the whole solution. Nobody thinks it is. But, you know, if people saw the results of this smart aid, I mean, they'd be going crazy for it. I wish the 250,000 people who really did march outside this very building knew these results. Right now they don't, and it would be great to find a way to better communicate it, because we have not. Creatively, we've failed to communicate this success so far. If those kinds of efforts just could multiply their voice and amplify it at the key moments, I know for a fact we'd get better policy. The Mexican G20 need not have been a bust. Rio, if anyone cares about the environment, need not have been a bust, okay? But these conferences are going on, and I know people get skeptical and cynical about the big global summits and the promises and their never being kept, but actually, the bits that are, are making a difference, and what the politicians need is more permission from the public.
CA: But you haven't fully worked out the Web mechanisms, etc. by which this might happen. I mean, if the people here who've had experience using open platforms, you're interested to talk with them this week and try to take this forward.
JD: Absolutely. CA: All right, well I must say, if this conference led in some way to advancing that idea, that's a huge idea, and if you carry that forward, that is really awesome, so thank you. JD: I'd love your help.
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In 2000, the UN laid out 8 goals to make the world better by reducing poverty and disease -- with a deadline of 2015. As that deadline approaches, Jamie Drummond of ONE.org runs down the surprising successes of the 8 Millennium Development Goals, and suggests a crowdsourced reboot for the next 15 years.
Jamie Drummond co-founded the advocacy organization ONE, whose central themes are ending extreme poverty and fighting the AIDS pandemic. Full bio »