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Global Wealth Inequality Threatens Progress Made In Reducing Child Mortality, Save The Children Report Says

While progress has been made worldwide in reducing child mortality, the effects have been unequal across income groups, and wealth inequalities are at the highest level in 20 years and increasing, according to a report (.pdf) from Save the Children U.K., BBC News reports (10/31). Released ahead of a meeting of a U.N. high-level panel on poverty taking place in London this week, the report, titled “Born Equal,” “argues that against a backdrop of overwhelming progress (extreme income poverty has dropped from two billion in 1990 to less than 1.3 billion today and child mortality has almost halved) the poorest of the poor have too often been excluded,” which “means that children living in the same country may have vastly different chances of surviving to the age of five, getting a good education and eating a nutritious diet,” a Save the Children press release states. Save the Children U.K. Chief Executive Justin Forsyth said, “Unless inequality is addressed, the [Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)] and any future development framework will simply not succeed in maintaining or accelerating progress” in reducing child mortality, according to the press release (11/1).

AIDS Organizations Release Discussion Paper On Post-2015 Development Agenda

The International AIDS Alliance, in collaboration with the Stop AIDS Alliance and STOP AIDS NOW!, has published “a discussion paper to help the HIV community to engage in” discussions surrounding the post-2015 development agenda, the International AIDS Alliance’s blog reports. “It is unclear at this stage how HIV and AIDS will be addressed in the new post-2015 development framework and the HIV sector could potentially lose out if HIV is not specifically addressed in it,” the blog states. The paper addresses issues such as universal health coverage, human rights and equity, and financing, and it offers suggestions on ways to engage with consultations (11/1).

Workshop Examines Post-MDG Agenda For Global Health

Writing in the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) “Development Channel” blog, Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at CFR, reports on a workshop on the post-2015 development agenda. The workshop, titled “Sustaining Healthy Development: A Workshop on the Post-MDGs Agenda for Global Health,” was hosted by the council on November 19. Huang recaps comments made by a number of speakers at the event, including Robert Orr, U.N. assistant secretary-general for policy coordination and strategic planning; Charles Kenny of the Center for Global Development; Nicola Crosta of the U.N. Capital Development Fund; and John Podesta, the U.S. representative to the U.N. High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. He writes, “It is encouraging to note that compared to the cooking-up of the MDGs, the setting of the post-2015 agenda will be an open and inclusive process involving both poor and rich states,” and notes, “Pondering the post-2015 agenda also raises questions about the status of health” (11/26).

Annual Report On MDGs Shows Success In Some Areas, But Continued Lack Of Progress In Other Areas, Including Maternal Health

“An annual report card [.pdf] on the ambitious U.N.-led initiative known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) says that in three areas — poverty, slums and water — the goals have been met ahead of the 2015 deadline, but persistent gaps remain, notably in the critical area of maternal health,” Inter Press Service reports (Cortes, 7/2). “The eight MDGs, agreed by world leaders at a U.N. summit in 2000, set specific targets on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS reduction, and a ‘Global Partnership for Development,'” the U.N. News Centre notes.

Haitian, U.S. Governments Sign Partnership Framework On Health Strategy

In this post on the State Department’s DipNote blog, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten discusses the June 26 signing of the Partnership Framework to support Haiti’s Health Strategy between the Government of Haiti (GOH) and the U.S. Government (USG). “The purpose of this Partnership Framework is to refocus the cooperation between the USG and GOH, and their respective partners, to support Haiti’s efforts to improve its health system and to reach the Millennium Development Goals, including promoting maternal and child health, and reinforcing the fight against HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases,” he states, noting that the “signing of this agreement illustrates that the USG has established a new way of working with the GOH on health issues, as the Haitian government begins to take greater ownership of its health program” (7/5).

Health Must Be Recognized In Future Framework For Fighting Global Poverty

Noting “[w]e are just three years away from the target date for achieving the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed by all … U.N. member states back in 2000 to eradicate global poverty,” Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in this Independent opinion piece reflects “on the critical role of health in and beyond the Millennium Development Goals” ahead of the second meeting of the U.N. Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on the future strategy to fight global poverty, set to take place in London on Wednesday. Piot writes that the MDGs have “given local and global focus to efforts to tackle the big issues,” while inspiring action, innovation, and new financing models, but he notes “there is still so much more we need to do.”

New Development Goals Should Acknowledge Health, Education, Aid, But Focus On Economic Reform

Noting the 67th session of the U.N. General Assembly begins on September 25, Charles Kenny, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation, writes in his Bloomberg Businessweek blog, “Small World,” “Accompanying the usual podium speeches will be the start of backroom discussions as to what will replace the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs], a set of targets for global progress agreed to at the 2000 General Assembly meetings.” He continues, “The original Millennium Goals committed the world to halve poverty between 1990 and 2015, alongside ambitious targets to reduce childhood deaths, ensure that every child worldwide completes primary school, safeguard equal access to education for girls, improve access to sanitation, and reduce deaths from maternal mortality, AIDS, and malaria,” and he adds, “The planet has actually done pretty well in meeting these initial targets.”

MDG Advocacy Group Urges International Community To Push To Reach 2015 Goals

At a meeting on the sidelines of the 67th U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday in New York, the MDG Advocacy Group — which comprises representatives from the private sector, academia, governments and civil society — “urge[d] the international community to step up efforts for the final three years of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” the U.N. News Centre reports. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established the group in 2010 “to help him build political will and mobilize global action for the benefit of the poor and the most vulnerable,” according to the news service. At the meeting, Ban said, “This is no time to relax. 2015 is fast approaching. … We can and must continue to push as hard as we can to build on the momentum the goals have generated,” the news service notes (9/26).

New Millennium Villages Project Launched In Northern Ghana

The Guardian examines a new Millennium Villages Project (MVP) — “the integrated approach to rural development spearheaded by Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University’s Earth Institute” — that was launched last week in northern Uganda “by Ghana’s new president John Dramani Mahama and U.K. international development secretary Andrew Mitchell.” According to the newspaper, “Like the 13 other MVP sites … the project will attempt to provide a package of proven, science-based interventions for agriculture, education, health and rural infrastructure.”

U.N. Report On MDGs Shows Declining Aid; SG Ban Urges Increased Global Partnership

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday “urged a stronger global partnership to advance progress on the development targets world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015, as a new United Nations report finds that significant gains risk slowing due to declining aid,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), agreed on by world leaders at a U.N. summit in 2000, set specific targets on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS reduction, and a ‘Global Partnership for Development,'” the news service notes (9/20). According to the 2012 MDG Gap Task Force Report (.pdf), official development assistance (ODA) from the 23 primary donors in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development dropped by almost three percent (in real terms) in 2011 after reaching a peak in 2010, Agence France-Presse notes. “To reach the U.N. target of 0.7 percent of gross national income devoted to aid, the world’s richest nations should be spending more than $300 billion,” the news service writes (9/20).