David Steven

About David Steven

David Steven is a policy analyst, strategic consultant and researcher. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center on International Cooperation (CIC) at New York University, and a Director of River Path Associates where he specialises in development policy, the 2030 Agenda, and leads on CIC's Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies programme.

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)

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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

A Long Peace

Written in 2003, this report on the Future of Unionism in Northern Ireland argues that a functioning democracy in Northern Ireland is the only way to reconcile competing interests in a peaceful way, and calls on the Unionist movement to develop new strategies for engagement in the political process.

The 50-page report draws on consultations with individuals and groups across the community, and challenges Unionists to create a vision for strong government that will deliver a peaceful and prosperous future for Northern Ireland. By focusing on being realistic, positive, hard-headed, professional and open, A Long Peace argues that Unionism can tackle its current predicament of being regularly out-thought, out-flanked and out-witted by [its] opponents. (May 2003)

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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)

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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.

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