David Steven

About David Steven

David Steven is a policy analyst, strategic consultant and researcher. He is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Center on International Cooperation (CIC) at New York University, and also The Brookings Institution, and a Director of River Path Associates where he specialises in international responses to global risks, resilience and scarcity, the development of communications and influencing strategies, and intercultural dialogue. As well as editing Global Dashboard, David is on the advisory board of JLT’s World Risk Review.

What Happens Now? Time to deliver the post-2015 development agenda

This is the third in a series of What Happens Now? papers from the Center on International Cooperation. Like the previous papers, it provides a guide for all those interested in the debate on the post-2015 development agenda – including for those who have not followed the process closely, a set of players who will become especially important as the new agenda’s start date approaches. This paper tells the story so far, including the MDGs’ track record, the origin of the post-2015 agenda, highlights of the process to date, and an overview of milestones over the remainder of the year; argues that there are unlikely to be major changes from the proposed 17 goals and 169 targets, but that there is much to play for on implementation and financing; and calls for all stakeholders to look past the negotiation endgame, to 2016 and beyond (April 2015)

Download Full Report

Five Ways the Co-Facilitators Have Made the Post-2015 Targets Worse

What was once a storm whipped up around the question of whether the world needs 17 sustainable development goals and 169 targets has now degenerated into a tempest about whether it is possible to “conservatively” tweak some of those targets to make them more meaningful and deliverable.

Last week, the poor souls who are responsible for shepherding the post-2015 negotiations (the UN ambassadors of Kenya and Ireland) released a proposal that was intended to show how this could be done.

Sadly, they have made some of the targets better rather than worse, indicating that ‘technical proofing’ – an expert-driven process supposedly stripped of political overtones – is no sure fire way to a better development agenda.

(And who on earth thought it could be? Experts disagree with each other more bitterly than governments do – fortunately they lack armies with which to settle their arguments.)

So here are five ways the tweaked targets are worse than the originals. Continue reading

OECD States of Fragility Report – Meeting Post-2015 Ambitions

This afternoon, in New York, the OECD is launching its States of Fragility 2015 report which explores how new sustainable development goals and targets (SDGs) can be implemented in countries and communities that lack the political stability and institutions to support inclusive growth, or that are affected by very high levels of violence.

The report was written with colleagues at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation and is part of a broader effort to switch the focus from what should be part of the post-2015 development agenda, towards how the new agenda can be delivered.

It argues that we have no hope of delivering the SDGs in large parts of the world, unless we get serious about tackling fragility.

Robust global growth, and more equitable patterns of distribution, have the potential to lead to rapid and continued further reductions in all forms of poverty, but this would mean that those left behind would increasingly live in fragile situations. Continue reading

If Not Now, When? Ending Violence Against the World’s Children

Since the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals published its proposal for sustainable development goals for 2016 to 2030, there has been much discussion about whether 17 goals and 169 targets are too many. In this new paper, David Steven explores the delivery challenges associated with one of the proposed targets: end abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence and torture against children. (October 2014)

Download Full Report

A Laboratory of Development – The Impact of Social Policies on Children in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Latin America and Caribbean region is distinguished by the range of policies that it has developed to respond to both the opportunities and risks of contemporary globalization. From efforts to increase macroeconomic stability and major programs of economic reform, through innovative investments in social welfare and protection, to fresh approaches to compensating those providing environmental goods and services, the region has been at the forefront of developing new economic, social, and environmental policies.

Prepared at the request of UNICEF in Latin America and the Caribbean, this paper explores the concept of the region as a laboratory for development by focusing on progress made in meeting the region’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the policies that have supported this progress, and the lessons that can be drawn for children’s future prospects.

The paper first provides an overview of regional trends that have led to positive outcomes for children and identifies countries that have made especially fast progress. The paper’s second section explores major policies that have had an impact on children’s lives. Finally, the paper outlines the major challenges that the region must confront if it is to continue improving the lives of children.

Download Full Report

Next Generation Pakistan: Insecure Lives, Untold Stories

Next Generation: Insecure Lives, Untold Stories is one of the largest pieces of qualitative research ever conducted in Pakistan and is rooted in a determination to listen to the voices of young people. It is the first to systematically collect their stories, with 1,800 gathered from across the country. It also includes the results from a nationally representative survey and a series of expert interviews.

The report shows that violence is a binding constraint to realising the potential of Pakistan’s young people. Not just political violence, but criminal and domestic violence, starve young people of opportunities and make it harder for Pakistan to benefit from the demographic dividend that could transform its future (May 2014)

Download Full Report