MDGs: Countdown to 2015

By Kizito Sikuka  SANF 11 No 35
The United Nations will host an international summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to come up with concrete measures on how countries could accelerate the implementation of targeted goals by 2015.

Only five years remain until the 2015 deadline to achieve MDGs and other international development goals identified by the global community through the UN to improve the general socio-economic conditions in the world, particularly in developing countries.

A total of eight goals, ranging from education, health, poverty and the environment were approved by the global community with desirable targets and measurable indicators.

While remarkable progress has been recorded in some countries, most developing countries are still not on track to meet the desired targets by 2015.

In face of this, the UN says there is need for renewed and intensified efforts by all stakeholders to scale up interventions and get the programmes back on track so that any gains that have been achieved in recent years are not reserved.

Challenges such as the global food, climate, energy and economic crisis that have further affected the implementation process of the MDGs should also be addressed as a matter of urgency to ensure that the 2015 deadline is adhered to.

“The summit is expected to undertake a comprehensive review of successes, best practices and lessons learned, obstacles and gaps, challenges and opportunities, leading to concrete strategies for action,” the UN said in a statement.

The UN said if the MDGs are to be achieved by 2015, not only must the level of financial investment be increased but innovative programmes and policies aimed at overall development and economic and social transformation must be rapidly scaled up and replicated.

“The MDGs are achievable, but there is clearly an urgent to address challenges, acknowledge failures and come together to overcome the obstacles to their achievement,” the UN added.

The global community adopted the MDGs at the 2000 Millennium Summit held at the UN headquarters in New York.

World countries agreed on eight goals, which seek to reduce poverty, hunger, disease, maternal and child deaths and other ills by 2015.

A recent progress report by the UN reveals that major success has been recorded in combating extreme poverty and hunger, improving school enrolment and child health, expanding access to clean water and access to HIV treatment and controlling malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases.

This has happened in some of the developing countries in Africa, demonstrating that the MDGs are indeed achievable with the right policies, adequate levels of investment, and international support.

The African Union at its recent summit in Kampala, Uganda adopted the theme “Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa” inline with the MDG goal, which aims to make child-bearing safer for women and improve healthcare.

Speaking ahead of the MDG summit, UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon has said despite the challenges being faced by most countries in implementing the goals, stakeholders should continue to working together to improve the welfare of the people.

“Our world possesses the knowledge and the resources to achieve the MDGs,” he said.

“We must not fail the billions who look to the international community to fulfill the promise of the Millennium Declaration for a better world. Let us meet at the Summit to keep the promise.”

The MDGs summit is scheduled for 20-22 September at the UN headquarters in New York, and would be preceded by a number of other related events and conferences. World leaders are expected to attend the meeting together with development partners and civil society. SADC Today

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