Accra, 7 July, 2014 – With less than 600 days to the target date of the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations says concentrated efforts by national governments, the international community, civil society and the private sector are working to lift people out of extreme poverty and improve their futures.
However, there are still significant continental and regional disparities between and within countries. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon launched the 2014 MDG report on Monday at the opening of the high-level segment of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (ECOSOC) in New York, noting that “the MDGs have helped unite, inspire and transform” the world.
According to the report, over the past 20 years, the likelihood of a child dying before age five has been nearly cut in half, which means about 17,000 children are saved every day. Globally, the maternal mortality ratio dropped by 45 per cent between 1990 and 2013. Antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected people has saved 6.6 million lives since 1995, and expanding its coverage could save many more. Between 2000 and 2012, an estimated 3.3 million deaths from malaria were averted due to substantial expansion of malaria interventions. Since 1995, efforts to fight tuberculosis saved an estimated 22 million lives.
However, some MDG targets related to largely preventable problems with available solutions, such as reducing child and maternal mortality and increasing access to sanitation, are slipping away from achievement by 2015, despite major progress. The report therefore calls on all stakeholders to focus and intensify efforts on the areas where advances have been too slow or not reached all. The UN Secretary-General said “the most marginalized and vulnerable in society, social exclusion and discrimination are among the greatest obstacles to progress and unless these imbalances are addressed through bolder and more focused interventions, some targets will not be met.”
On progress made in Sub-Saharan Africa, the report indicates that although the region progressed on most MDGs, persistent obstacles and new challenges are preventing the region from meeting most Goals by their 2015 target date.
For instance population growth, conflict and declines in aid make reaching many MDG targets by 2015 unlikely. Poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa is of much concern as the region is the only developing region that saw the number of people living in extreme poverty rise steadily, from 290 million in 1990 to 414 million in 2010. The World Bank projects that by 2015, 40 per cent of the estimated 970 million people living on less than $1.25 a day will be from sub-Saharan Africa.
The maternal mortality ratio declined by 48 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa since 1990. However, in 2012 only 53 per cent of deliveries were attended by skilled health personnel. In 2012, one child in ten died before their fifth birthday.
Between 2000 and 2012, the adjusted primary net enrolment rate increased from 60 per cent to 78 per cent. However, compared to 2000, there were 35 per cent more school children to put in school in 2012. In addition, armed conflict and other emergencies have kept children out of school—33 million children of primary school age in sub-Saharan Africa were not in school in 2012 and 56 per cent were girls.
Despite a new high in official development assistance in 2013, the report says aid shifted away from the poorest countries where achieving the MDGs lags the most. Net bilateral aid to Africa, where 34 of the 48 least developed countries are located, fell by 5.6 per cent in 2013.
The Millennium Development Goals have been the most successful global anti-poverty push in history. This year’s Report is the most up-to-date scorecard for all of the MDGs and their targets, based on comprehensive official statistics and is compiled by over 28 UN and international agencies and is produced by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The 2014 MDG report will assist further deliberations by ECOSOC.
A complete set of the data used to prepare the report is available at mdgs.un.org
For more information, see www.un.org/millenniumgoals.