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CHILD Protection & Child Rights » VII. International Mechanisms » Millennium Development Goals » International Status of MDGs


In 2010 the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat submitted their yearly General Assembly report on the progress towards MDGs. Following is an overview of that report and the status of the world with regard to each MDG and its targets.

Goal 1: People living under the poverty line of 1.25$ a day was 1.8 billion in 1990 to 1.4 billion in 2005. The report expects at this rate to fall by another 15% by 2015, indicating that the target can be met. The largest contributor to the fall in poverty has been Eastern Asia where the percentage of poor is down to 16% in 2005 from 60% in 1990. With the global financial crisis there was also a crisis in labour market and employment has dropped all over the world. There has been an even greater decline in gross domestic product indicating a diminishing output per worker. Lower outputs contribute to poorer working conditions and hence worsen the situation of the labourer. Because of labour issues more employed people find themselves living on less than $1.25 a day. Because of the financial crisis, drop in incomes and rise in food prices, the number of people facing hunger and under-nourishment is as high as 915 million in 2008 may exceed 1 billion in 2009. Malnutrition of children still continues as one out of four children is underweight. In Southern Asia approximately 60% of the poorest children are underweight.

Goal 2: the report does not see universal education being achieved by 2015 even with the many achievements globally. In order to have all children in primary schooling then all by 2009 all children that are at the entry level must be in school. In 2008 46% of the children in sub-Saharan Africa were still out of school. Gender inequality also prevents the goal from being achieved. Children with disabilities are finding it hard to access school. In Bulgaria and Romania, net enrolment ratios for children ages 7 to 15 were over 90 per cent in 2002, but only 58 per cent for children with disabilities.

Goal 3: The developing countries as a whole are approaching gender parity in educational enrolment. In 2008, there were 96 girls for every 100 boys enrolled in primary school, and 95 girls for every 100 boys enrolled in secondary school. Despite these achievements gender equality in primary and secondary school was meant to meet in 2005 and the elimination of gender disparity in all levels by 2015 is out of reach. Poverty has been found to be especially damaging to girl's education. The number of women in formal employment is still not equal. Women are often relegated to the informal sector and other forms of vulnerable employment which has little to no security. Women in politics have seen a boost in areas where there has been reservations and quotas for women.

Goal 4: Though under-five mortality rates are going down, they are not reducing at a fast enough rates to meet the target by 2015. Many of the diseases children die of are treatable such as pneumonia and diarrhoea. 41% of children below five die because of neo-natal causes. In 2008 pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and AIDS accounted for 43 per cent of all deaths in children under five worldwide. Measles immunizations have helped reduce the number of deaths due to the diseases but if funding does not continue the numbers will rise again.

Goal 5: The leading causes of maternal mortality in developing countries are haemorrhage and hypertension, which together account for 53% of all deaths in expectant or new mothers and are easily avoidable by a number of treatments. Giving birth is especially dangerous in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa where a majority of women do not have access to skilled care during delivery. In 2008 80% of women in developing countries had access to antenatal care. But income inequalities are still highly visible with only 77 per cent of women in the poorest households being covered. Progress in reducing the number of teenage pregnancies has slowed down especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Poverty and lack of education reduces the chances of women using contraceptives.

Goal 6: In 2008 there are more people surviving with HIV/AIDS and less number of people being infected as well as dying as a results of the disease. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most seriously impacted area, accounting for 72% of all new HIV infections in 2008. Young people and children are still not equipped with the correct knowledge to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS though some countries have made extraordinary efforts to education young women. Studies have found high linkages between gender based violence (child marriage, forced sexual experiences, etc.) and HIV. An estimated 17.5 million children (under age 18) lost one or both parents to AIDS in 2008. Increase in availability of treatments is unable to meet the growing number of patients. 90% of the children living with HIV/AIDS contracted it from the mother, making it vital to treat pregnant mothers who are infected. Though there has been a global increase in production of malaria medications and malaria nets, poverty often prevents access to these commodities. Malaria incidence and deaths has reduced. Tuberculosis incidence has also dropped but remains the second highest killer after HIV.

Goal 7: Converting forest land into agricultural land has reduced but it still too high. Carbon emissions globally have seen a 35% rise since 1990. Though there has been an in fall in emission in 2008-09, the fall is not expected to last long and may reach 65% higher than the 1990 figure. The goal to reduce biodiversity loss by 2010 has gone unmet. Nearly 17,000 species of plants and animals are known to be threatened with extinction. Threatened species are not being cared for as their natural habitats are not protected. Availability of drinking water for at least half the population that did not have access is an attainable goal by 2015. Safety of the drinking water has been threatened in many areas by naturally occurring pollutants and man made contamination of surface and ground water. The sanitation target is not in reach with more than half of the world's population without access to sanitation facilities. Slum improvement targets are not able to meet the growing number of slum dwellers especially in countries affected by conflict.

Goal 8: Developing countries have seen a greater access to selling their product in developed markets as tariffs on commodities is reduced. Developing countries have also reduced their debt burdens greatly and see the lowest point in history. Access to internet and the World Wide Web is still limited to an elite few in the world with the majority without access.