Help us put the girls at the heart of the post-2015 agenda.

We're aiming to make girls a priority in the next set of development goals

Amid all the discussion about what the post-2015 development goals should be, one thing is clear: girls must be a priority.

The current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 18 months' time and the debate about what happens next will gather pace at the Women Deliver conference in Kuala Lumpur this week (28-30 May).

The girl effect is marking Women Deliver by mobilising our community to get girls on the post-2015 agenda. You can find out more in our new 2015 & Beyond section, where we're inviting you to support the Girl Declaration, which will come out on International Day of the Girl in October.

Economic potential 

The Girl Declaration will call on the development community to recognise that girls are crucial to ending poverty.

When we invest in girls and improve their access to assets such as education and healthcare, we unleash their economic potential by empowering them to avoid potential pitfalls such as early marriage and teenage pregnancy.

The benefits of this for developing economies are enormous. Research by the World Bank has shown that closing the employment gap between women and men would increase global GDP by up to 5.4 per cent.

But to achieve this we have to focus on girls.

As Kathy Calvin, president and chief executive of the United Nations Foundation, said earlier this year: "Girl power is one of global development's most potent weapons against poverty. A healthy, educated, empowered adolescent girl has the unique potential to break the cycle of poverty for herself, her family and her country."

Catalysing global development

Yet the 250 million adolescent girls living in poverty have often been overlooked by development policies. Indeed, the original MDGs completely failed to recognise the power that girls have to catalyse global development.

Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, says: "When I travel to developing countries, I try to meet as many girls as possible. I am simultaneously inspired by their boundless potential and often frustrated by how much of that potential is locked up by inequity."

Overlooking girls again in the next set of development goals would be disastrous.

We've been speaking to hundreds of girls from around the world to make sure their voices are heard. Their hopes and aspirations have been translated into a series of recommended goals, which will ultimately become the Girl Declaration. 

Over the next few months we'll be speaking to many more girls to make sure their voices are heard on the global stage. But those voices will be even louder with your support.

Are you in? Sign up to keep up to date with the Girl Declaration process

Join the conversation on Twitter #girls2015

Read the recommended goals and principles of success for the Girl Declaration