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UNDP Releases 8-Pronged Strategy To Help Developing Countries Meet MDGs

The U.N. Development Program (UNDP) on Thursday released a report (.pdf) outlining “an eight-pronged strategy it hopes can help poor nations advance sustainable development, considerably reduce poverty and essentially drive the attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the next five years,” BusinessDay reports (Nwachukwu, 6/18).

“The study was released in advance of a U.N. summit meeting in September which will assess the current status of the MDGs, and perhaps adopt a plan of action for the next five years towards the 2015 deadline,” Inter Press Service reports (Deen, 6/17).

Speaking at the launch of the report, which was based on evidence gathered from 50 countries, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark pointed out the progress several countries had made towards the MDG targets, the Canadian Press reports. Among the success stories, Clark noted that “South Africa cut in half the proportion of people without access to drinking water, Egypt’s poverty rate has fallen by half since 1999, and Bangladesh reduced the ration of maternal deaths to live births by 22 percent since 1990,” the news service writes (Lederer, 6/17).

Still, “Clark told reporters Thursday that three crises – food, fuel and finance – ‘have complicated the road to 2015’, the target date to achieve the MDGs,” and noted that “progress has been uneven worldwide,” Inter Press Service continues before highlighting several findings of the report (6/17).

According to the report, “1.2 billion people across the world are still hungry, 70 percent of them women and girls, and 1.2 billion people, mainly in rural areas, lack access to basic sanitation … every year 536,000 women and girls die as a result of complications during pregnancy, childbirth or the six weeks following delivery,” the Canadian Press continues (6/17).

“For the many people living in poverty, the Millennium Development Goals are not abstract and aspirational targets; they offer a means to a better life, and overall a more just and peaceful world,” Clark said, according to a UNDP press release. “Our hope is that this evidence of tried and tested policies, and this agenda for accelerating the pace of success, informs a positive outcome at the world leaders summit on the MDGs in September.”  Additional comments made by Clark at the launch of the report are available here.

The strategy outlined in the report “focus[es] on supporting nationally-owned and participatory development; pro-poor, job-rich inclusive growth including the private sector; government investments in social services like health and education; expanding opportunities for women and girls; access to low carbon energy; domestic resource mobilization; and delivery on Official Development Assistance commitments,” according to the release.

The release adds, “To work in tandem with this report, UNDP is also piloting an MDG acceleration toolkit … designed to help governments, the U.N. at the country level and other development partners identify where the real bottlenecks to progress lie and, in tackling them, which policies can have the most impact on achieving the MDGs” (6/17).