Here, my post-2015 friends, is the very beginnings of an answer. The ‘MY World’ survey, available through the internet, by mobile phone, and in the old-fashioned way with clipboards and pens, has now been completed by tens of thousands of people in 188 countries. It’s very global – the top five countries with most votes are Brazil, the USA, the UK, Liberia and Mexico.
In particular, the focus is on making sure that people who can’t access the survey online or by mobile phone are well represented. We had a first go at that in Liberia last month, surveying a representative sample of 2000 people before the meeting of the UN’s High Level Panel on the post-2015 agenda met there last week.
Pleasingly, and not by design, the results in Liberia echoed very strongly what the panel talked about. The need to keep working on the current MDG agenda was clear, with education and health high on the list of people’s priorities. Infrastructure also featured highly – with transport and roads the third most important priority in the sample, and jobs were, unsurprisingly also very important.
Some fascinating details emerged which need closer examaination – the most unexpected one for me was that while women consistently ranked gender equality as more important than men, both men and women in urban areas ranked it about twice as highly as men and women in rural areas. Does urbanisation make people more in favour of women’s rights? And if so, why?
There’s lots more data to gather over the next few years, and the votes should rise quickly into the millions. The first mobile phone MY World survey will be launched in India very soon. Civil society organisations are ready to take the survey offline to hundreds of thousands of people. Global advertising for the online survey is being developed. And working with global polling company IPSOS Mori we’ll be able to work out what all of this is really telling us about the global and country ranking of different priorities among different groups.
There’s a lot of talk in post-2015-land about finding out what people want from a new agreement. MY World is just one of the ways that people are finding out. I’ve written before about how translating the results of different opinion-getting excercises into a language that policy makers can understand and act on can be a challenge. With numbers and clear priorities MY World can help to provide useful and useable answers to the question ‘what do people want’ for the politicians constructing the post-2015 agenda. We had a first go at that this week in Monrovia, and there’ll be a lot more to come…..