“India is lagging in its effort to reach United Nations goals to reduce poverty and improve health and sanitation, but has shown significant progress boosting education, treating AIDS and addressing environmental concerns,” Noeleen Heyzer, executive secretary of the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, said last week, the New York Times’ “India Ink” blog reports. According to an Asia Pacific Millennium Development Goal (MDG) report (.pdf) released last week, which “graded the progress of the eight millennium goals using 22 socio-economic indicators …, India has reached goals set in seven indicators out of 22 and is on track to achieve three others, but is lagging behind in 12,” the blog notes.
MDGs/Post-2015 MDG Agenda
In this Global Health and Diplomacy opinion piece, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete examines efforts to meet Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets on maternal and child mortality in Africa, noting, “Although Africa has just 12 percent of the global population, it accounts for half of all maternal deaths and half the deaths of children under five.” He writes, “Though global maternal deaths are in decline and women’s health has at last become a global priority, our goal of reducing maternal mortality by 75 percent in 2015 is still a long way off. … It is unacceptable to allow mothers and children to die when we have the knowledge and resources to save them.”
“South Asian nations are making the least progress in the Asia-Pacific region on meeting key development goals, which they pledged to achieve by 2015,” Bindu Lohani, vice president for sustainable development at the Asian Development Bank (ADB), said on Friday at the launch of a U.N. progress report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Reuters reports (Bhalla, 2/19). The Asia-Pacific region already has reached the MDG of halving the incidence of poverty, “but still has high levels of hunger as well as child and maternal mortality,” the report said, according to Asian Scientist (2/21).
In this SciDev.Net opinion piece, journalist Priya Shetty writes that the Sustainable Development Goals — a successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) proposed to begin in 2015 — “need more focus on health to continue the progress achieved with MDGs.” She continues, “[A]lthough early drafts of the SDGs address issues that the MDGs neglected, such as food security, they are light on health and many social issues (education, for example, or gender equity). This should be of major concern to public health experts.”
“This generation has a unique opportunity to eradicate extreme poverty, [U.K. Prime Minister] David Cameron said on Thursday as he outlined an agenda to follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015,” the Guardian reports. Cameron was speaking to reporters following the first substantive meeting of a high-level U.N. panel co-chaired by himself, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and tasked by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “to lay out a framework that will follow the MDGs,” the newspaper notes. The co-chairs “all emphasized the importance of listening to civil society, the private sector and young people, in an attempt to achieve the widest possible consensus for the follow-up to the MDGs,” the Guardian writes, adding, “The U.N. says a post-2015 framework will have at its core the continuing fight against poverty, climate change and sustainable development, while addressing inclusive growth, equality, peace and security, and human rights” (Tran, 11/1). “The panel will meet again in Monrovia and Jakarta next year” before providing a draft report to Ban, BBC News notes (Loyn, 11/1).
“Most African countries are lagging behind in achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] and will not make as much progress in health, nutrition and sanitation as had hoped, U.N. officials said” on Thursday, the Associated Press/ABC News reports. “Education is one bright spot in the list of development targets. Many African countries are on track to having 90 percent of children in school, according to a July U.N. report,” the news service writes, adding, “But the continent is not on schedule to meet targets to eradicate hunger and poverty, reduce child mortality and improve maternal health, said the report.”
“For more than a decade, the global conversation about development has been dominated by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” Stewart Patrick, a senior fellow and director of the program on international institutions and global governance at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes in the Council’s “The Internationalist” blog, noting, “The global development community is now debating what should replace the MDGs when they expire in 2015.” He highlights a report, titled “Post-2015 Development Agenda: Goals, Targets and Indicators,” released recently by the Canada-based Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), and details 11 goals recommended by the report’s authors to replace the current MDGs (11/7).
Pacific Island Nations Show Progress On Child Mortality MDG But Challenged On Reducing Poverty, Report Says
“The Pacific Islands are making steady progress on reducing child mortality, but most are struggling to eradicate poverty and generate employment for young and rapidly growing populations,” Inter Press Service reports in an article examining how 10 of 14 nations in the region are on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on child mortality. The 2012 Regional MDG Tracking Report (.pdf), recently released by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), “comes three years after PIF countries signed a compact to strengthen the co-ordination of resources to boost development progress,” IPS notes. Though many of the countries might reach MDG 4 to halve child mortality by 2015, “[h]alving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015, as mandated by MDG 1, is a considerable challenge across the Pacific,” the news agency states. IPS discusses progress on the MDG goals for specific nations in the region. “The PIF believes that accelerated regional progress on the goals before 2015 is dependent on political will,” the news agency writes (Wilson, 11/7).
As MDGs Set To Expire In 2015, U.N. Panel To Advise On Approaches To Development; African Progress Panel Calls For 'Big Push' On Continent
“The presidents of Indonesia and Liberia — Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — and the prime minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, are to co-chair a U.N. panel to advise on approaches to development after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 2015,” SciDev.Net reports. “Announcing the chairs to the U.N. General Assembly [on Wednesday], Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary general, also said he would appoint an assistant secretary-general for post-2015 development planning,” the news service writes, adding, “The panel will consider the mixed success of the eight MDGs, which were set in 2000 and provide targets for reducing poverty and promoting social development through such areas as education, reduction of HIV infection rates and infant mortality” (Irwin, 5/12).
“U.N. Development Goals for better drinking water have already been reached, but a closer look shows that the measures fail to truly account for the lack of access to safe water,” Scientific American reports in a feature story. “[J]ust because water is pouring out of a spigot does not mean that it is safe to drink,” the article states, adding, “In poorer areas, where infrastructure and sanitation are often much worse, even sources of water that have been ‘improved’ are frequently at risk for contamination by human and animal feces, according to recent analyses.” The magazine details a number of studies on the issue and concludes, “[W]hether there are 800 million or 1.8 billion people who lack safe water, the scourge of preventable deadly diarrheal and other waterborne diseases will continue to plague too many” (Harmon, 5/21).