Tuesday, July 14, 2009

India and China's progress on meeting the MDGs

In a meeting of the Asian Economic and Social Council, China and India have both submitted reports detailing their economies. China says they can meet some of the Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule, while India reports a focus on health issues for those in poverty.

From the IPS, reporter Thalif Deen breaks down the reports.

Since 1978, China has accelerated development and reduced its population living in "absolute poverty" from 250 million to 15 million, according to a new report submitted by the Chinese government to the annual ministerial meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) through Jul. 31.

"We firmly believe that China will achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) fully and on schedule, thereby making an important contribution to the achievement of the Goals at the global level," the report said.

China also boasts it is "the earliest among developing countries to meet the MDGs of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger".

The MDGs include a 50 percent reduction in extreme poverty and hunger; universal primary education; promotion of gender equality; reduction of child mortality by two-thirds; cutbacks in maternal mortality by three-quarters; combating the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and developing a North-South global partnership for development.

China is one of the few developing nations to publicly declare its commitment to meet all eight MDGs by 2015, while most countries have declared their inability to meet the deadline, a situation made worse by the global financial crisis.

Meanwhile, in a report titled "India: Urban Poverty Report 2009", the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation points out that over 80 million poor people live in cities and towns of India.

India has shared the growth pattern of some of the fastest growing regions in Asia, according to the study. The country has witnessed around 8.0 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in the last couple of years.

But India's urban population is increasing at a faster rate than its total population of 1.16 billion.

Overall, India's population growth has been steadily decreasing and continues to do so, says Professor Gita Sen of the Centre for Public Policy at the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Management. She said that National Family Health Surveys point to important reductions in the number of children that women want to have.

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