What Will It Take to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals? - An International Assessment

31 Dec 2011


Based on a review of 50 country studies, this Assessment finds that the resources and know-how necessary to achieve the MDGs exist. Acceleration of progress over the next five years will need to focus on continuing proven strategies, policies and interventions and making a radical break with those that do not work. There have been noticeable reductions in poverty globally.

Significant improvements have been made in enrolment and gender parity in schools. Progress is evident in reducing child and maternal mortality; increasing HIV treatments and ensuring environmental sustainability. While there are welcome developments in the global partnership, where some countries have met their commitments, others can do more.

At the same time that the share of poor people is declining, the absolute number of the poor in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa is increasing. Countries that achieved rapid reductions in income poverty are not necessarily making the same progress in gender equality and environmental sustainability. Lack of progress in reducing HIV is curtailing improvements in both maternal and child mortality. Moreover, attention to the quality of education and health services may have suffered in the rush to extend coverage.

MDG progress is also threatened by the combination of high food prices and the impact of the international financial and economic crisis. Economic growth declined in many countries, along with a reduction in foreign direct investment, remittances, as well as a fall in exports and tourist numbers, which led to significant job losses. Sustained poverty and hunger reduction is at risk because of vulnerability to climate change, particularly in the area of agricultural production.

Weak institutional capacity in conflict and postconflict environments slows MDG progress. Rapid urbanization and growth in slum dwellings are putting pressure on social services.

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