How likely does it seem that the Millennium Development Goals will be met by 2015?
The United Nations, the international organization composed of many countries all over the world, founded in 1945 with the aims to promote peace, security and economic development. The introduction of the Millennium Development Goals is one of the major steps the UN has made to achieve some of their aims. They were established from the ideas presented in the Millennium Declaration, adopted by 189 nations and signed by 147 heads of state and governments, during the UN Millennium Summit, in September 2000.
The goals include 8 separate targets agreed in the 1990’s, set to be reached by the year 2015, the MDG’s were commissioned to monitor the development gap, and as a way to measure any progress made towards reducing it. Numerous different issues stand in the way of achieving the eight millennium development goals by 2015, resulting in an extensive amount of time before the development gap is narrowed once and for all. Each separate MDG has its own sub-aims, making it easier to measure the progress of each goal.
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There has been varying levels of progress with each of the millennium development goals, however with the exception of Sub Saharan Africa; all regions are on track to achieve MDG1 ‘Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty’. The main issue facing the achievement of this particular MDG is the economic strength of certain countries, and in addition the climate and geographical features of each country need to be taken into consideration. It is clear that some countries will be able to reach their aims by the year 2015, while other will be left behind.
Global economic depressions affect many countries, in particular the LEDC’s, the 2009 global economic depression cost sub-Saharan Africa’s people i??12. 8 billion, which as a result makes certain MDG’s very hard to achieve. Due to certain countries struggling to manage and tackle oncoming issues, the help from other is required in the form of aid. The World Bank is said to increase its support to agriculture to between $6billion and $8billion a year over the next three years, up from $4. 1 billion annually before 2008, under it’s Agriculture Action Plan to help boost incomes, employment and food security in many low income areas.
Although due to technological and scientific advances, such as second-generation GM drought resistant and salt-tolerant crops, the food security of certain countries will be increased. Despite economic growth averaging 6% in sub-Saharan Africa countries by 2008, 980 million people still live on less than $1 per day. In Uganda, certain amounts of progress has been made already, it is likely to halve the number of people living on less than $1 a day by the year 2015, currently half of the population lives in poverty, so the target of 28% is in reach.
Another example is found in Bangladesh, it has the worlds 1/3 largest number of people in poverty, of the total population in Bangladesh, and half of them live in poverty, with a total of 50 million in extreme poverty. This is a huge issue for Bangladesh as the population is rapidly increasing in size, achieving and meeting the MDG’s is seen as an enormous challenge. Huge issues face countries trying to achieve MDG1, certain economic and geographical factors affect the outcome, so no matter how much aid is given to the countries requiring help, the problem will not be ‘cured’, it is simply being supported.
The third Millennium Development Goal, to promote gender equality and empower women is said to have been achieved already in Thailand and Bangladesh, with countries such as Kenya, Malawi and India lacking behind. The Earth Institute, Ericsson and Millennium Promise, launched ‘Connect to Learn’, a non-profit organisation, focussing on education and improving the access to, and quality of secondary education for schools globally, especially for girls.
This links with MDG2, achieving universal primary education, Connect to Learn, provides scholarships to attend secondary school and covers tuition, books, uniform as well as broadband technology. In support of the aim to improve universal primary education, the World Bank will increase its zero-interest and grant investment in basic education by $750 million, largely focussing on those countries which are struggling to meet the aims of the MDG’s.
In addition, the TNC Dell, committed to give $10 million towards education technology initiatives in 2011. Success in achieving MDG2 includes that 41 million more children have been enrolled in primary schools; also in Uganda primary school is now free. UPS International has also pledged $2 million to the world association of girl guides and girl scouts to empower women through leadership and environmental programmes in 145 countries. In Uganda, signs of progress on MDG3, show that it is likely to be met due to legislation, e. . a minimum, of 30% of Uganda’s parliament must be women. One of the major issues facing the success of MDG3, is that it is so involved in the cultures of certain societies, and for this reason makes it harder to change. The complete success of gender equality worldwide, would involve affecting the religious and cultural beliefs of certain societies, these ideas which have been set in stone for centuries, overturning these beliefs would be a huge task to give women the rights they deserve.
Women’s rights have been fought since the early 1900’s, it is proven by the need for a MDG to achieve gender equality that they are not yet completely resolved, they have however been improved immensely, this proves that change can happen and ideas can be developed upon, it simply requires a lot of effort from many people believing in the same thing, and also time. This suggests that the Millennium development Goals will be achieved, however giving a limited amount of time for the goals to be achieved may be asking too much.
Millennium Development Goals 4, 5 and 6 all focus on global health issues, child mortality, maternal health, HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases. These three MDG’s have already been achieved by Thailand; however other countries appear to be struggling. Numerous efforts have been made to help encourage the achievements of the MDG’s, such as TNC’s beginning to invest more ethically, more environmentally responsible and with better working, health and safety conditions in developing countries, TNC’s are located worldwide so the changes they make in their work effort will affect many people.
The ‘Call to Action’ led by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, introduced professionals in medicine, to find cures for diseases that most afflict developing countries, and in education. As a result of this and aid from abroad, several killer diseases have been eradicated and major progress is being made towards fighting TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria, as a global result, there has been improvements in containing the spread and fatality of malaria and TB, and the spread of HIV/AIDS remains low.
In Uganda, 50% of the reported illnesses in 2006 were Malaria, down from 56% in 1999, but still way of target set in MDG6. In addition the World Bank announced an increase in the scope of its results-based health programmes by more than $6oo million until 2015 to scale up essential health nutrition services and strengthen the underlying health systems in 35 countries, particularly in East Asia, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. One of the reasons for the continuous high counts of the diseases, is due to the lack of insecticide treated nets, it is a simple way of tackling the problem.
This could suggest that this problem could be fought in a simple way, and wouldn’t require extensive amounts of economic strength or aid from elsewhere, and as a result could perhaps help towards MDG 6 being achieved in specific countries. As a result of the aid given from other countries and education improvements, global mortality among under 1 year olds and under 5 year olds has been reduced by 2. 8% and 2. 3%, if this continued then the under 5 year old rate will decrease by 2/3’s by the year 2015, however the maternal mortality rate is still high and remains a challenge.
There is now the prospect of an increase of between 200,000 and 400,000 in child mortality; the IMF suggests that the worlds 22 poorest countries might need an additional i??20 billion to cope – possible i??100 billion if the desperation worsens. Additionally, as an example, in Uganda only 41% of births are attended to by a skilled professional, this is why maternal mortality is such a frustrating issue because it is easily preventable, many causes of it are severe bleeding, unsafe abortions and the risk of Malaria and Aids.
Once again it is clear that these are preventable, by simply using insecticide covered nets at night or having someone present at birth, the MDG’s would be much more achievable, however as it stands at the minute, they might seem impossible. Millennium Development Goal 7, to ensure global environmental sustainability includes numerous aspects, the maintaining of wetlands and biodiversity is considered to still be a challenge; however there has been considerable amounts of progress ensuring safe drinking water and sanitation in urban areas.
There have also been many examples of successful global partnerships to try to restructure debts and make poverty history, including some progress on climate change. The Asian development Bank is said to have plans to double its financing for clean energy to $2billion a year by 2013, this would support and encourage the fight to achieve the aim of MDG7. Some of the current global environmental issues include, declining soil fertility, deforestation, pasture degration, decreasing fish stocks, water pollution caused by industrial discharge and domestic waste.
Anything which affects the environment also affect the people as well, it has a huge impact on the livelihoods of the poor communities in particular, by contrasting their abilities to increase incomes sustainably. The Water health International has committed to build 75 water purification plants in Bangladesh and expand its existing network of water purification plants to an additional 100 villages in India; this would provide clean water for 175,000 people.
It is clear that with small changes and a little help of TNC’s and other economically strong countries dramatic changes can be made, and as a result work towards reaching and achieving certain Millennium development goals. Another example of a TNC helping towards this goal is PepsiCo, committing to ensuring access to clean water for 3 million people around the world by the year 2015. The final MDG, Develop a global partnership for developments covers a vast variety of factors, it focuses directly on reducing the development gap between countries all over the world, by helping and supporting each other.
The European Union offered funding amounting to $1 billion to the most committed and needy countries in order to make progress on the goals they are furthest from achieving; it is movements like this which really help with the achievements of the MDG’s. Increasingly, developing countries are establishing their own local financial institutions (Grameen Bank), and are beginning to support other developing countries; in addition many national governments are increasing their support for deprived minorities, e. g.
Aborigines in Australia in order to empower them. It is hard to say whether it is likely or not, that the MDG’s will be met by the year 2015, as each on their own are so different. As a whole, with the world in its current state it would be unlikely that all 8 of the Millennium Development Goals will be reached by the target year, however other may be achieved. This links with the view that some of the global issues the UN has decided to tackle are not ones which once ‘fixed’; will be ‘fixed’ for good, issues are always developing.
When or if, the 8 Millennium Development Goals are reached by all countries, by the time this is done so, there will be more and even new problems the world has to face. However, viewing the MDG’s in a more positive light, the world needs to see them as more of a reward instead of simply a to-do list. If the countries of the world really worked together and strived to tackle the oncoming issues and the obstacles standing in their way, being the MDG, then it could be said that the MDG could be achieved by 2015.
It requires the involvement and motivation of all countries, which may be seen as unlikely, this is one of the main issues, holding back the success of the eight Millennium Development Goals. A dramatic change of anything requires a lot of time, there should not be a set date in which to achieve these MDG’s, but instead they should be made a global ongoing process, perhaps giving smaller goals each year, providing more motivation for countries to achieve them, instead of feeling lost and confused working towards a deadline years ahead.