Snail’s pace

The global scenario for progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is ‘uneven’ and ‘mixed’, according to the UN report released July 2. While millions are being lifted out of dire poverty and more children are now going to school (Goal Two), the report states, the world is still lagging far behind in reducing poverty and hunger (Goal One), or in controlling maternal and infant mortality rates. Although certain countries like China and Bangladesh are said to have shown a significant progress in the past seven years, success has remained elusive in other parts with sub-Saharan Africa and western Asia set to miss most of the targets, such as 50 per cent reduction in poverty and primary education for all by 2015, the report states.

Nepal’s case is no better. With development efforts moving at a snail’s pace for over a decade now, the possibility of meeting the MDGs is remote. In any case, instability and insecurity in conflict and post-conflict countries make long-term development goals extremely difficult to achieve. These and other factors have made the goals of poverty reduction by half and primary education for all unrealistic for Nepal. Some serious introspection is needed in this regard. The Three-Year Interim Plan should reflect realistic MDG plans and policies. Good

governance will help achieve the development goals better, and this calls for concrete measures from the eight-party government. Besides, pressure from the general public and civil society could prove effective in realising the MDGs.