And now for the fun part of thinking about the UN’s forthcoming High Level Panel on the post-2015 agenda: who should feature on its membership?
As well as balancing the obvious country constituencies (low income / emerging / developed), the Panel will also need to balance experience with new faces (High Level Panels can easily succumb to the problem of ‘usual suspects’), and ensure a diversity of expertise that is not just drawn from the international development scene. Here are some ideas that David and I have come up with – comments, suggestions, rebuttals all very welcome. We’ll update the list to create a one-stop talent pool as we get ideas on GD comments, Twitter (reach us at @davidsteven and @alexevansuk) or on email.
Low income countries
Abdoulaye Wade (Senegal) and Amadou Toumani Touré (Mali) – two ex-heads of state from Africa who emerge with credit from the manner of their parting.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar) – obviously.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria) – will have a higher profile than ever following her World Bank bid, and would have a huge amount to contribute.
Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia) – strong record on both poverty reduction and climate change (though not on human rights). Co-chaired UN Panel on climate finance.
Emilia Peres (Timor Leste) – a competent finance minister and one of the prime movers behind the g7+. Would bring a consistent and coherent voice for fragile states. Alternatively, Francesca Bomboko (DRC) might be a good choice.
Shahnaz Wazir Ali (Pakistan) – a lonely advocate for education, health, and gender in a country that is a critical test case for the international community.
Luis Alfonso de Alba (Mexico) – currently Mexico’s ambassador to the UN. Key figure in Cancun climate talks; first President of the UN Human Rights Council in 2006.
Jairam Ramesh (India) – currently minister for rural development; covered climate before that. Was a member of the Global Sustainability Panel.
Wen Jiabao (China) – recent events make it look distinctly unlikely that he’ll be a lame duck after his retirement. Has said he will attend Rio+20.
Lula Inacio Lula da Silva (Brazil) – given Brazil’s record on poverty reduction, a must-have if he proves to be available.
Trevor Manuel (South Africa) – currently Minister in the Presidency in charge of the National Planning Commission. A seasoned operator who knows the development agenda back to front.
Christian Friis Bach or Ida Auken (Denmark) – new development and environment ministers. Young, extremely smart, heavily engaged on the SDGs agenda.
Kitty van der Heijden (Nethlerlands) – current Ambassador for sustainable development. Key opinion former on the Rio+20 agenda and a formidable operator.
Hilde Johnson (Norway) – currently serving as SRSG on South Sudan. As Norway’s development minister, was of the founding members of the Utstein Group.
Hillary Clinton (US) – the Panel needs an American member, preferably from the government. While Raj Shah is the obvious choice, Hillary would be perfect – if she could be persuaded.
Josette Sheeran (US) – former head of WFP, State Dept minister and G8 sous-sherpa before that. Now Vice Chair of World Economic Forum.
Angel Gurria (Mexico) – current Secretary-General of OECD. Membership would be a perfect link to the work of the OECD DAC (which was so central to the creation of the MDGs).
Min Zhu (China) – deputy Managing Director of the IMF. Smart, economically literate, and unusually forthcoming even on sensitive issues like resource scarcity.
Non-government and private sector
Melinda (or Bill) Gates (US) – will be a key opinion former on the post-2015 agenda, and has the potential to emerge as an influential champion of the Panel’s ideas.
Paul Polman (Netherlands) – as CEO of Unilever has made the company a serious player on sustainability; also highly effective as Chair of WEF group on food security.
Fazle Hasan Abed (Bangladesh) – as founder of BRAC, he has carved out new space at the intersection between civil society and social enterprise, with its business network funding 80% of its vast operation.
Amartya Sen (India) – the godfather of international development and co-creator of the UN’s Human Development Index.
Andrew Rugasira (Uganda) – chief executive of Good African Coffee; recently profiled admiringly in the New York Times.
Sergey Brin (Russia) – not just a cool name to have on the Panel, but also one who would be able to bring a distinctive – and essential – tech perspective.
Ricken Patel (Canada) – founder and CEO of Avaaz.org, a refreshing antidote to the old model of single issue NGOs. Would also tick the ‘youth’ box.
Update: The Beyond 2015 civil society coalition has put forward its own list of suggestions for civil society representatives here.