Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, writes in a Huffington Post opinion piece, “My top priority for 2012 will be to make a renewed push towards [achieving the first millennium development goal of halving the proportion of people living in hunger and extreme poverty by 2015], but also to look beyond it, to the final, total eradication of hunger from this planet. Obviously, it is not something that FAO can do alone. It needs a new international mobilization, the support of decision-makers everywhere, and a concerted effort by the entire U.N. family and other development partners.”
After visiting Ghana on a recent tour to examine poverty reduction strategies and progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and “one of the world’s most prominent development economists, says Ghana is proving to be one of the strongest performers on the [MDGs] in Africa and unlike some of its African counterparts is likely to fulfill them by the 2015 deadline,” the Christian Science Monitor reports. Ghana “has been investing for a long time in health and education, gender and equality, and it has made a lot of progress. But there are parts of Ghana that are extremely poor and really need a lot of accelerated investments,” Sachs told the Christian Science Monitor during an interview in Accra, according to the news service.
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).
“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).
The following opinion pieces were published ahead of a high-level U.N. panel meeting taking place in London this week, where global leaders and policymakers will gather to discuss a post-2015 development agenda to address global poverty.
A 26-member high-level U.N. panel is meeting this week in London to discuss the post-2015 global development agenda, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set forth in 2000 are set to expire, the Guardian reports and provides a questions and answers “about the progress, process, and thinking behind the next set of global development targets.” This marks the first substantive meeting for the panel of experts and politicians, who are tasked with developing a draft report for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon scheduled to be delivered in March, according to the newspaper. The theme of this week’s meeting is household poverty, the Guardian notes, and discusses how the panel’s work coincides with the Rio+20 summit and what might be included in the next set of development goals (Tran, 10/31). Another Guardian article features key datasets on the eight MDGs (Provost, 10/31).
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).
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).
According to a study published in the Lancet on Saturday, researchers from the University of Pelotas in Brazil tracking progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 — which promote maternal and child health — “discovered that the most equitable intervention was early initiation of breast feeding, and that the attendance of a skilled person at birth proved to be the least equitable intervention,” Medical News Today reports. “The findings furthermore revealed that community-based interventions were more equally distributed in comparison with those delivered in health facilities,” MNT writes, noting that the “most inequitable countries of the evaluated interventions were Chad, Ethiopia, Laos, Nigeria, Niger and Somalia, followed by India, Madagascar and Pakistan, with the most equitable countries being Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan” (Rattue, 4/2).