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MDGs mired in economic crisis

Jul 20, 2009

United Nation’s latest Millennium Development Goals Report 2009 highlights the emerging challenges emanating from the economic crisis that can reverse the progress towards the eight goals. The report emphasises on the adoption of right policies and actions, backed by adequate funding and political will to achieve an equitable and sustainable future.

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2009

Publisher: United Nations, 2009

The Millennium Declaration set 2015 as the target date for achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which established quantitative benchmarks to halve extreme poverty in all its forms. As the date approaches, less than six years away, the world finds itself mired in an economic crisis that is unprecedented in its severity and global dimensions.

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This report notes that many challenges remain and are likely to become even more difficult in the current economic climate.

Also, diminished resources threaten the progress towards the goals, fewer trade opportunities for the developing countries, and possible reductions in aid flows from donor nations.

At the same time, the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, with a potentially devastating impact on countries rich and poor.

Today, more than ever, the commitment to build global partnership embodied in the Millennium Declaration must guide the collective actions.

The report presents an annual assessment of progress towards the MDGs. Major advances in the fight against extreme poverty from 1990 to 2005, for example, are likely to have stalled. During that period, the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day decreased from 1.8 billion to 1.4 billion.

It also brings out that meagre progress on child nutrition from 1990 to 2007 is insufficient to meet the 2015 target, and will likely be eroded by higher food prices and economic turmoil.

Other fallout from the global financial situation may be compromised funding for programmes to improve maternal health, the goal towards which there has been least progress so far.

Since the mid-1990s, most developing countries have experienced a major reduction in donor funding for family planning on a per woman basis, despite the undeniable contribution of such programmes to maternal and child health.

"Achieving the MDGs will require that the development agenda be fully integrated into efforts to jumpstart growth and rebuild the global economy"

Economic necessity will doubtless continue to exert pressure on an already fragile global environment, where deforestation and the extinction of species proceed at alarming rates, and a global water crisis looms.

The report portrays the remarkable advances that many countries and regions had made before the economic landscape changed so radically in 2008. Achieving the MDGs will require that the development agenda be fully integrated into efforts to jumpstart growth and rebuild the global economy.

At the top of the agenda is the climate change problem, which will have to be regarded as an opportunity to develop more efficient ‘green’ technologies and make the structural changes needed that will contribute to sustainable growth.

Achieving the MDGs will also require targeting areas and population groups that have clearly been left behind – rural communities, the poorest households and ethnic minorities, all of whom will have a hand in shaping our common future.

The need of the hour is to strengthen global partnerships, increase aid, and involve the global community, especially the poorest ones in policy making process. Also much emphasis should be on redoubling the efforts to reach the MDGs and advance the broader development agenda.

Source : UNMC
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