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Friday, October 31, 2008

Millennium Development Goals (MDG)

The MDGs or Millennimum Development Goals are global improvement goals to which the United Nations is dedicated. Their 2008 report about this global collective effort that is unsurpassed in 50 years of development experience is available to read in its entirety here.

Some highlights: It is not only governments of developing countries and the international community that have adopted the MDGs as their framework for international development cooperation, but also the private sector and, critically, civil society in both developed and developing countries. Besides being advocates for the MDGs, private foundations in the developed countries have become an important source of funding for a wide range of activities intended to achieve them. NGOs in developing countries are increasingly engaged in undertaking these activities, as well as in monitoring the outcomes.

This global collective effort is yielding results. Adding more recent data to those contained in earlier Reports largely confirms the patterns identified previously. There has been sound progress in some MDG areas, even in some of the more challenging regions, and a number of targets are expected to be reached by their target dates, mostly 2015:

The overarching goal of reducing absolute poverty by half is within reach for the world as a whole:

• In all but two regions, primary school enrolment is at least 90 per cent
• The gender parity index in primary education is 95 per cent or higher in six of the 10 regions, including the most populous ones
• Deaths from measles fell from over 750,000 in 2000 to less than 250,000 in 2006, and about 80 per cent of children in developing countries now receive a measles vaccine
• The number of deaths from AIDS fell from 2.2 million in 2005 to 2.0 million in 2007, and the number of people newly infected declined from 3.0 million in 2001 to 2.7 million in 2007
• Malaria prevention is expanding, with widespread increases in insecticide-treated net use among children under five in sub-Saharan Africa: in 16 out of 20 countries, use has at least tripled since around 2000
• The incidence of tuberculosis is expected to be halted and begin to decline before the target date of 2015
• Some 1.6 billion people have gained access to safe drinking water since 1990
• The use of ozone-depleting substances has been almost eliminated and this has contributed to the effort to reduce global warming
• The share of developing countries’ export earnings devoted to servicing external debt fell from 12.5 per cent in 2000 to 6.6 per cent in 2006, allowing them to allocate more resources to reducing poverty
• The private sector has increased the availability of some critical essential drugs and rapidly spread mobile phone technology throughout the developing world

Here are the actual goals and targets as presented by Business Day:

  • Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty & hunger. Target: to halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.

  • Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education. Target: to ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

  • Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women. Target: eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015.

  • Goal 4: Reduce child mortality. Target: reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate. Despite progress, deaths of under five children remain unacceptably high.

  • Goal 5: Improve maternal health.

  • Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria & other diseases.

  • Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability. Target: to integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources.

  • Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development.

Photo: Cuban Sunset

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