• MDGs need more international support

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    The achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 needs a final push from the international community, the United Nations said on Tuesday, even as targets on several goals have already been met or are within reach by next year.

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement that “millions of people’s lives” have improved because of “concerted global, regional, national and local efforts” to achieve MDGs.

    The United Nations based in New York City launched “The Millennium Development Goals Reports 2014,” the 10th of its kind, to identify the goals that have already been reached, and those that need more effort to attain.

    “The Millennium Development Goals were a pledge to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity, and free the world from extreme poverty,” Ban said.

    “The MDGs, with eight goals and a set of measurable time-bound targets, established a blueprint for tackling the most pressing development challenges of our time,” he added.

    The MDGs, established fol–lowing the UN Summit in 2000 and signed by 189 UN members (there are currently 193 mem–bers), are as follows: eradicate extreme poverty; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustain–ability; and develop a global partnership for development.

    The UN statement said many of the targets have already been met such as reducing poverty, increasing access to improved drinking water sources, im–proving the lives of slum dwellers, and achieving gender parity in primary school.

    Many targets have already been met ahead of time or will be reached by 2015, the report said.

    “If trends continue, the world will surpass MDG targets on malaria, tuberculosis and access to HIV treatment, and the hunger target looks within reach,” the report added.

    There is also “great progress” in access to technologies, reduction of average tariffs, debt relief, and growing political participation by women.

    Escaping poverty
    According to the report, almost half of the population in developing regions lived on less than $1.25 a day in 1990. The rate dropped to 22 percent by 2010, effectively reducing the number of people who lived in extreme poverty by 700 million.

    Between 2000 and 2012, there was an estimated 3.3 million lives saved from malaria-caused deaths because of the “substantial expansion of malaria interventions.”

    Of the 3.3 million people, 90 percent or three million were children below five years old living in sub-Saharan Africa.

    The report also said that the “intensive efforts” to fight tuberculosis have saved about 22 million lives worldwide since 1995.

    If these trends continue, the world will reach its MDG targets on malaria and tuberculosis, the report noted.

    In 2010, or five years ahead of the 2015 schedule, the world already halved the proportion of people without access to an improved drinking water source.

    By 2012, 89 percent of the world’s population had access to an improved source, which was up by 76 percent from 1990.

    Between 1990 and 2012, over 2.3 billion people gained access to an improved source of drinking water.

    “Substantial gains have been made towards reaching gender parity in school enrolment at all levels of education in all developing regions,” the report said.

    In 2012, all developing regions have achieved, or were close to achieving, gender parity in primary education, it added.

    In terms of governance, some 46 countries boasted in January 2014 that 30 percent of parliament in at least one chamber have women as workers.

    More women are now holding “hard” ministerial posts such as on defense, foreign affairs and the environment.

    In 2013, the official deve–lopment assistance was pegged at $134.8 billion, the highest level ever recorded. This was two years after a sharp decline in volumes.

    However, “aid is shifting away from the poorest countries,” the report said.

    More efforts are also needed in several areas such as environmental sustainability, hunger, chronic undernutri–tion, preventable diseases, maternal deaths, antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected peo–ple, and sanitation.

    Although the prevalence of hunger continues to decline, more efforts are needed to reach the goal by 2015.

    From 1990 to 1992 period, there was a decrease by 24 percent in the proportion of undernourished people in developing regions.

    Progress though has slowed down significantly in the last decade since there was only a 14-percent reduction during the 2011 to 2013 period.

    “Meeting the target of halving the percentage of people suffering from hunger by 2015 will require immediate addi–tional effort, especially in countries which have made little headway,” the report said.

    Then, there is a “chronic un–dernutrition” among young children. In 2012, a fourth of all children under the age of five had inadequate height for their age.

    The report said that it re–presents a decline since 1990 when almost 40 percent of young children were stunted.

    However, it is still unacceptable that 162 million children are still suffering from chronic under–nutrition, the report said.

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