Before I start, I must clearly declare that I am not saying that the MDGs are the cause of any of these trends. I do believe that the MDGs are clear and known targets that many organizations and governments have coalesced around. AND, the goals are a worthwhile lens through which to gauge progress or regression.
The text below is take directly from the UN Millennium Development goals webpage. My comments are in blue.
GOAL 1: ERADICATE EXTREME POVERTY & HUNGER
Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 a day
- The target of reducing extreme poverty rates by half was met five years ahead of the 2015 deadline.
- The global poverty rate at $1.25 a day fell in 2010 to less than half the 1990 rate. 700 million fewer people lived in conditions of extreme poverty in 2010 than in 1990. However, at the global level 1.2 billion people are still living in extreme poverty.
Comment: Target 1A has been met.
Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
- Globally, 384 million workers lived below the $1.25 a day poverty line in 2011—a reduction of 294 million since 2001.
- The gender gap in employment persists, with a 24.8 percentage point difference between men and women in the employment-to-population ratio in 2012.
Comment: Clearly this goal was not met (IMO an impossible goal). Nonetheless, the “reduction of 294 million since 2001” is quite an achievement.
Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
- The hunger reduction target should be almost met by 2015.
- Globally, about 842 million people are estimated to be undernourished.
- More than 99 million children under age five are still undernourished and underweight.
Comment: This goal is nearly met.
So, on MDG 1, “Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger,” “we” have done a very good job. We should, of course, not rest until there is NO hunger, but these positive trends give reason for hope.
When I first learned about the Millennium Development Goals, I was pretty skeptical. Even Jesus said “You will always have the poor among you.” How would these high-minded and undoubtedly myopic set of goals do what many other development goals had not done: succeed?
Here are the goals:
- To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- To achieve universal primary education
- To promote gender equality and empower women
- To reduce child mortality
- To improv maternal health
- To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- To ensure environmental sustainability
- To develop a global partnership for development
But it turns out that the MDGs are the most successful anti-poverty program in human history. In the coming posts I’ll talk more about each one, and remarkable progress that has been made because of the MDGs.
“People everywhere are living longer, according to the ‘World Health Statistics 2014’ published today by WHO. Global averages show, a girl who born in 2012 can expect to live to around 73 years, and a boy to the age of 68. This is 6 years longer than the average global life expectancy for a child born in 1990. WHO’s annual statistics report shows that low-income countries have made the greatest progress, with an average increase in life expectancy by 9 years from 1990 to 2012.”
- Globally, the number of deaths of children under 5 years of age fell from 12.6 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012.
- In developing countries, the percentage of underweight children under 5 years old dropped from 25% in 1990 to 15% in 2012.
- While the proportion of births attended by a skilled health worker has increased globally, fewer than 50% of births are attended in the WHO African Region.
- Globally, new HIV infections declined by 33% between 2001 and 2012.
- Existing cases of tuberculosis are declining, along with deaths among HIV-negative tuberculosis cases.
- In 2010, the world met the United Nations Millennium Development Goals target on access to safe drinking-water, as measured by the proxy indicator of access to improved drinking-water sources, but more needs to be done to achieve the sanitation target.
While browsing TED Talks on my iPhone app I discovered the Swedish scientist Hans Rosling.
He and two colleagues have created Gapminder, a beautiful, informative, and elegant web platform for showing global development statistics. You must check this out as it shows how major indicators of development–health, GDP, infant mortality, etc.–change over time.
Now of course not all of the data sets point toward progress, but most do. The increase in CO2 over the decades is ominous and disturbing. But trends in most other areas leave much reason for hope.
Check it out! http://www.gapminder.org/