As the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, it is imperative to reflect on the developments of participating nations in the ten years since the goals were established.
As the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, it is imperative to reflect on the developments of participating nations in the ten years since the goals were established. Social Watch, an international network of NGOs that monitors the progress made by governments in their MDG commitments, released its critical report: After the Fall: Time for a New Deal on Friday, Sept. 17 at the United Nations.
The MDG targets were established at the Millennium Summit in 2000 to combat poverty and gender inequity. These targets include achieving universal education, adequate and accessible child and maternal healthcare, HIV/AIDS rate reduction, environmental sustainability, and global partnership building.
According to Social Watch, most countries are a long way from attaining these goals in the time frame established. What is more, according to the Basic Capabilities Index (BCI) designed by Social Watch to monitor social development in the world, poverty reduction has slowed down since 2000.
“The less privileged in both rich and poor countries are not only suffering the direct consequences of the crisis in that they are losing their jobs, savings and even their homes, they are also being made to pay for the economic rescue and stimulus packages in the form of higher taxes and reduced wages and social benefits… observes Roberto Bissio, Social Watch coordinator. “In this context, to issue a call for ‘more of the same’ is not the solution…”
Different from monetary-based poverty indicators, The BCI measures on a person’s capability of accessing a series of services that are indispensable for survival and human dignity–a far more accurate gauge for assessing MDG progress. Indicators include: 1) mortality among children under five, 2) reproductive or maternal-child health, and 3) education (measured with a combination of enrollment in primary education and the proportion of children reaching fifth grade).
The countries holding the top positions in the list according to BCI values this year are Japan, Norway, Netherlands, Switzerland and Iceland. The worst ranked countries are all in Africa: Chad, Sierra Leone, Niger, Somalia and Guinea Bissau.
Before the financial crisis of 2008, gross income was growing fast while progress in education, health and nutrition was advancing slowly. The report acknowledged that if industrialized countries enter into a prolonged period of stagnation or recession, the situation of the most vulnerable sectors at global level can only become worse.
As the world’s population continues to increase beyond the 7 billion mark and as the global economy continues to reel from the financial crisis, the need to rethink strategy in order to achieve the MDGs by 2015 is increasingly urgent.