Making Decisions, Planning the Future, Defining Goals….

The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) has an aim which is to encourage development by improving social and economic conditions in the world’s poorest countries. This document originated from the Millennium Declaration produced by United Nations.The current world situation and the goals for 2015 is shown in the link below

The report is organized in 8 goals which are the detailed in the following video

There are lots of recent develop projects that United Nations has according to different dates for this year. There is one which analyzes the current situation in the Third World: “Allow the poor to define their future” by Olav Kjorven.


The particular case of Southern Asia….

In Southern Asia a shortage of quality food and poor feeding practices, combined with inadequate sanitation, has contributed to making underweight prevalence among children the highest in the world.

In that region, between 1995 and 2009, no meaningful improvement was seen among children in the poorest households, while underweight prevalence among children from the richest 20 per cent of households decreased by almost one third. Children living in rural areas of developing regions are twice as likely to be underweight as are their urban counterparts.

An analysis of trends over the period 1995-2008 for three countries in Southern Asia shows that improvements in sanitation disproportionately benefited the better off, while sanitation coverage for the poorest 40 per cent of households hardly increased. Although gaps in sanitation coverage between urban and rural areas are narrowing, rural populations remain at a distinct disadvantage in a number of regions.

It is important to highlight that the proportion of people living on less than $ 1.25 a day have decreased from 1990 to 2009 but it is still high: 40% considering India, and approximately 30% if we exclude that country.

Employment to population ratio has increased comparing the data in 2000 and the ones in 2010. There is a progress in reducing vulnerable employment but it stalled following the economic crisis affecting this region in 2008 and 2009.


There is an interesting graph that shows the proportion of children under five who are underweight, comparing the numbers between 1990 and 2009 (in percentage). Here, it is highlighted the enormous difference between Southern Asia and the rest of the countries in the world. It is important to observe that it is more or less the 40% of the children who are underweight in this region of the planet. Also, in Southern Asia, there is a lack of flush toilets and other forms of improved sanitation. Nearly half the population practices open defecation, resulting in repeated bouts of diarrheal disease in children, contributing to the high prevalence of under-nutrition.

In Southern Asia, progress in combating child undernutrition is bypassing the poorest, as it is showed in this graph. There was no meaningful improvement among children in the poorest households in the period between 1995 and 2009, while underweight prevalence among children from the richest 20% of households decreased by almost a third.  

In terms of education, there is an important improvement in net enrolment ratio in primary education, achieving 91% for 2009 (20 points more if we compare it with the data in 1990). In Southern Asia the 24% of children by region is out of school, more or less 16 million. Being female, poor and living in a country affected by conflict, are three of the most pervasive factors keeping children out of school. But it is important to know that the youth literacy rate in these countries has increased from 60% to 80% in 2009, which is a step forward in education issues, however still 65 million of all illiterate youth live in Southern Asia.

Below it is the link to a web page that show us the education in South Asia, with data, briefs, projects and publications.,,contentMDK:21473403~pagePK:146736~piPK:146830~theSitePK:223547,00.html

The situation of women in these countries highlights the actual difference between genders, but also in Southern Asia we can see the greatest improvement, through the proportion of women in paid employment. The proportion of seats held by women in single or lower houses of national parliaments shows a huge difference, it is increased from 7% to the 18% in eleven years.

The important objective of reducing the child mortality is an important issue to be aware about. There has been an important reduction (from 122 to 69 deaths per 1000 live births in the 1990-2009 period) in Southern Asia, almost 50%. But also we have to concern that in these countries, over half of the childhood deaths occur in the first 28 days after birth, pointing this to the need for better post-natal care. Related with this, under-nutrition is an underlying cause of a third of these deaths. Special efforts to fight pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria could save lots of children. Moreover it is important to notice that children in rural areas, and children from the poorest households, are more at risk of dying. The estimated children deaths due to measles between 1999-2008 highlight a strong descend in the region of analysis.

Furthermore, related with child mortality it is important to consider the maternal health (pregnancy remains a major health risk), because in Southern Asia it has been a huge decrease of maternal deaths per 100000 live births between 1990 (590) to 230 in 2008, which is still a high value in terms of maternal deaths, because the vast majority of these deaths are avoidable. Related with the progresses of Southern Asia in terms of maternal care, there is an increase in deliveries attended by health personnel (which guarantees more success and security for the mother during the birth) but it is still not enough (almost 50%). It is a fact that more or less 70% of pregnant women are offered at least minimal care.

There is an important reduction in adolescent pregnancies in Southern Asia comparing the data from 1990 (89 out of 1000 births) and the one in 2009 (53 out of 1000 births). And there is an increase in the use of methods of contraception among women married or in union.

The number of new HIV infections per year per 100 people aged 15-49 rates in 2009 in Southern Asia have decreased to 0.2, in comparison to 0.4 in 1990. Moreover, there is an improvement among the population infected who are receiving antiretroviral treatment, and also the number of tuberculosis cases has maintained constant (and the deaths have been reduced).

To ensure the environmental sustainability, we have to notice that the emissions of CO2 from 1990 to 2008 has increased in Southern Asia, as a consequence of the development they are experimented, being India the most important one (this country is included in the BRIC group). Also in this region, the water scarcity is approaching, but there are still lots of population who is not using an improved sanitation facility (only 36% in 2008).

Almost two thirds of the people who practice open sanitation reside in Southern Asia, and here the inequalities are higher, where an urban resident is 2.2 more likely to use an improved facility than a rural resident. This is because improved sanitation has failed to reach the poorest households in parts of these countries; this is why improvements in sanitation have disproportionately benefited the wealthy.

As a conclusion, it is necessary to highlight the importance of do things to develop this region and also to achieve and maintain the goals that the Millennium Development Report pretends to achieve for 2015.

Also, it is necessary to improve the facilities of the people who are living in Southern Asia to achieve the welfare they were supposed to have in this year, related this with more education, higher basic needs satisfied, better health care and improve the communications with the rest of the world among some countries.

In our vision, living in a developed country, it is easy to solve the problem, but we have to be concerned about the ways to do it, and the government help is also necessary (maintaining the 0.7 of the GDP for these countries, as an example).

There are lots of things we can do, and also the people living there need our help, so…why don’t we do anything? ….

As the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has said: Between now and 2015, we must make sure that promises made become promises kept. The consequences of doing otherwise are profound: death, illness and despair, needless suffering, lost opportunities for millions upon millions of people.  

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