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U.N Development Goals could Cost the World $250 Billion

Update Date: Sep 24, 2014 10:45 AM EDT

According to a new study, the world could spend up to $250 billion just to monitor the goals set by the United Nations (UN). The report stated that these goals, which have a target date of 2030, would be taking money away from other pressing matters, such as ending poverty.

In the study, researcher Morten Jerven, a development expert at Simon Fraser University in Canada stated that the total number of UN projects should be reduced. Jerven estimated that monitoring each goal would cost about 1.5 billion if each goal were to be tracked with censuses and surveys on households, living standards and health. Since there are currently 169 targets, the world is expected to spend up to $254 billion by 2030 just to compile data.

"If you are serious about monitoring development ... you need to narrow the list," Jerven, who conducted the research for the Copenhagen Consensus Center, told Reuters.

Instead of spending money to monitor these goals, Jerven stated that the money should be focused on other goals, such as ending poverty, reducing hunger and improving health.

Gabriel Demombynes, a senior World Bank official, authored a commentary for the Copenhagen Consensus Center in response to Jerven's report stating that Jerven's numbers are greatly over-estimated. According to Demombynes, Jerven had underestimated the abilities of the national statistics agencies from several middle-income nations. He added that in 2013, the UN had urged for a "data revolution" that would ideally change how data is compiled through new technologies.

"The cost to international aid donors of filling remaining survey gaps is manageable - on the order of $300 million per year," Demombynes and his colleague concluded.

Whether or not Jerven's numbers are overestimated, Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, stated, "This is a wake-up call to avoid costly demands on the global system."

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