“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.
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.”
“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).
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).
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.”