Thursday, July 07, 2011

Latest MDG report shows uneven improvement

The United Nations has issued their latest progress report on meeting the Millennium Development Goals. The report is showing that improvement has been made on reaching the goals, but that the success has been unequal. The number of people below the poverty line is falling to a brand new low, this is despite the struggles of the recent global recession and our current record high food prices.

From the Guardian, writer Mark Tran sums up the UN report.

The overall poverty rate is expected to fall below 15% – well below the 23% target set in the millennium development goals (MDGs) – by 2015, fulfilling the target of the first MDG of halving between 1990 and 2015 the proportion of people living on less than $1 day. The gains come despite the economic and financial crisis of 2008 that began in the US and Europe.

That the world remains on track is due to the momentum of growth in the developing world. In absolute numbers, the number of people in developing countries in extreme poverty (living on less than $1.25 a day) is projected to fall below 900 million, according the UN's annual report card of regional progress towards the eight MDGs.

East Asia continues to record the sharpest reduction in poverty, particularly in China and India, where the number of people living in extreme poverty in both countries fell by about 455 million between 1990 and 2005, and where 320 million more people are expected to join their ranks by 2015. The UN MDG report said projections for sub-Saharan Africa are slightly more upbeat than previously estimated, and the extreme poverty rate in the region is expected to fall below 36%.

Despite significant reductions in extreme poverty, the world will find it difficult to eradicate hunger, however, which is another target of MDG 1. The persistence of hunger is forcing policymakers to address problems such as access to food and high food prices. The Food and Agriculture Organisation has been asked to undertake a comprehensive review to see what policies could lead to a reduction in the proportion of people going hungry, which has plateaued at 16%.

Sub-Saharan Africa chalked up the best record for improvement in primary school enrolment, but the world is far from achieving universal primary education, MDG 2. Burundi, Madagascar, Rwanda, Samoa, São Tomé and Principe, Togo and Tanzania are among the countries that have achieved, or are nearing the goal of universal primary education. The abolition of school fees has contributed to progress in many of these countries, the UN said.

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