Mixed progress on reaching UN MDGs

Geneva, July 2:

Much more needs to be done if the world is to hit its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for millions of people by 2015, United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said today.

Halfway towards the deadline, he presented the most comprehensive global assessment of progress to date on the eight key goals or MDGs agreed in 2000 and admitted the results were mixed.

“There have been some gains and success is still possible in most parts of the world,” said Ban. “But they also point to how much remains to be done.” Progress had been made on the key target of reducing extreme poverty by half with the numbers living on less than a dollar a day dropping by 32 per cent from 1.25 billion in 1990 to 19 per cent or 980 million in 2004.

If the trend continued, the MDG on poverty reduction would be met in most areas with the exception of sub-Saharan Africa and Western Asia, though in sub-Saharan Africa the number of desperately poor had ‘levelled off’.

Rapid economic growth had put Asia on course to reduce poverty. Worldwide, the report stated, more children were going to school, women had gained marginal ground on equal rights and child mortality had fallen due to simple measures such as inoculation against measles.

Malaria controls had expanded and the tuberculosis epidemic was declining, though not fast enough. More than half a million women still died annually in childbirth and AIDS deaths rose to 2.9 million last year from 2.2 million in 2001.