Five years to meet the goals

This year marks an important milestone for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – there’s now just five years left until the date set for their achievement, 2015. So, will the world meet all the goals it set at the turn of the century for reducing things like extreme poverty, child mortality and deaths from disease such as HIV/AIDS?

Without a major push over the next half-decade, the answer is probably no. Some real progress has been made, but “improvements in the lives of the poor have been unacceptably slow, and some hard-won gains are being eroded by the climate, food and economic crises,” says United Nations General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon in the U.N.’s annual report  on the MDG’s, which was released this week.

The report points to particular progress in meeting the target for poverty reduction, and forecasts that the number of people living under the international poverty line in 2015 will be half what it was in 1990. There has been progress in other areas, too, including getting more children into school, reducing child deaths from malaria and measles and slowing deforestation.

Less encouraging, the numbers of people who are undernourished continues to grow while progress on gender equality has been “sluggish on all fronts – from education to access to political decision-making”.

Useful links

African Economic Outlook

Brian Keeley

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