“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).
MDGs/Post-2015 MDG Agenda
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).
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).
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.
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.”
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a discussion paper [.pdf] identifying issues to be considered in the context of potential global health goals for the post-2015 agenda,” the International Institute for Sustainable Development reports in an article on its webpage. “The paper suggests universal health coverage (UHC) as an inclusive umbrella for addressing these issues” and “notes that post-2015 goals should build on progress achieved under the framework of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), while future goals and indicators need to: be framed as global challenges rather than aspirations for developing countries; ensure policy coherence; and take a strategic approach,” according to the article (October 2012).
“Worldwide, evidence-based interventions are being implemented in an effort to drive down child mortality and there are some signs that they are working,” a Lancet editorial states. “However, few countries are on course to meet the targets set by Millennium Development Goal 4,” the editorial notes. “Most maternal and child health programs do not reach the world’s poorest families; it is believed that efforts to do so cannot be successful, cost effective, and equitable,” it continues, adding, “Yet if interventions could reach these families, overall nutrition and health would improve and the lives of millions of children could be saved.”
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).
“An infant’s first moments and the twenty-eight days that follow are the most precarious, and her risk of death is never higher,” but “[s]imple and inexpensive techniques, … such as drying her, clearing her airway, keeping her warm or using a simple ventilation device to stimulate her breathing, can help,” and frontline health workers “deliver these lifesaving techniques,” Sharon D’Agostino, vice president of worldwide corporate contributions and community relations for Johnson & Johnson, and Winifred Mwebesa of Save the Children write in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog. They discuss the “Helping Babies Breathe” education initiative that trains health workers on skills such as resuscitation. The authors continue, “Frontline health workers are our global health heroes but, according to World Health Organization, we do not have nearly enough of them, especially in Africa, where there may be fewer than two trained doctors for every 1,000 people.”
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).