It was a global compact aimed at saving the world: high-minded targets that would lift millions out of poverty for the new millennium. But as world leaders gather at a summit in New York tomorrow, figures suggest the chances of meeting any of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by the target date of 2015 are remote.Read the rest of The Independent on Sunday article here.
The targets, set in 2005 – on poverty, education, women's rights, child mortality, maternal health, the spread of HIV, the environment and aid – were always ambitious.
Thanks to the global recession, and complacency from many of the 189 countries that signed up, the interim targets that were set are in many instances still far from being met, which means that progress may slip by as much as a decade.
Progress has been even slower for women, who continue to bear the brunt of poverty and its far-reaching effects, according to new research by Plan International and Africa Progress Panel. Girls are still much more likely to die before the age of five than boys – largely from preventable diseases such as malaria and TB. According to Plan, the MDG tracking system ignores the plight of girls, so the particular impact of poverty on them goes unrecorded.
Many rich nations that pledged aid are reneging on their promises, with a knock-on effect on the other seven targets. Overall donations in 2010 are estimated at $108bn, a shortfall of $18bn against commitments made in 2005.
Comment: It saddens me to say that I am yet to come across a serious development researcher/academic or practitioner who thinks the UN Millennium Goals are anything more than a hopeful wish list unbalanced by the usual brutal game of selfish capitalist accumulation.
The poor and impoverished have no real friends in 2010 or beyond. To say that "We can end poverty by 2015" was never realistic inside or beyond the UN.