Millennium Development Goals

The aim of this post is to make a review on the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report, which member statutes have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. From 1990 to 2011, the United Nations have published several documents evaluating the progress made by each area on achieving the goals. In this post I specially comment on how the region of Eastern Asia (including China and Mongolia) is achieving the goals.

GOAL 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The target is to halve the proportion of people whose income is
less than $1 a day, between 1990 and 2015. One of the greatest MDG successes in Asia has been on poverty reduction, as the proportion of people living on less than $1,25 a day has decreased from 60% in 1990 to 16% in 2005. One more target was to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger between 1990 and 2015. In china, the proportion of undernourished population between 2005 and 2007 was moderately high, with an undernourishment of 15 and 24 %. In order to meet the goal, this proportion should decrease.

Another target was to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people, but the economic recovery has failed to translate it into employment opportunities and progress in reducing vulnerable employment stalled following the economic crisis

GOAL 2: Achieve universal primary education. Target: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.  Charts shows that eastern Asia had an enrolment ratio in primary education of 95% in 1998/1999 and 96% in 1998/1999 and 2008/200. Even though the percentage hasn´t increase that much, the enrolment ratio in 1998/1999 was the same as in developed regions.

Statistics shows that being poor, female or living in a conflict zone increases the probability that a child will be out of school. Refugee children face steep barriers to getting an education. So this might the point where we should start solving the problem.

GOAL 3: Promote gender equality and empower women. The target here is to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education and in all levels of education no later than 2015, preferably by 2005. During the last years, we realise that girls are gaining ground when it comes to education, but unequal access persists in many region. Eastern Asia is exceptional as girls slightly outnumber boys in primary school. In secondary and tertiary education, in the course 1998/1999, the number of boys enrolled used to be higher than the girls, but 10 years later, the number of girls was much higher, reaching numbers of 106 and 103 (for secondary and tertiary education respectively).

But this gender equality doesn´t happened in the parliament: though representation by women in parliament is at an all-time high, it´s shamefully short of parity. In Eastern Asia there was a 19,9% in 2000 of seats held by woman in single or lower houses of national parliaments, proportion which was almost the same in 2011.  Despite growing numbers of women parliamentarians in other regions, the target of equal participation of women and men in politics is still far away, as we can`t appreciate a big progress.

GOAL 4: Reduce child mortality. One of the targets to achieve this goal is to reduce by two thirds, the under-five mortality rate between 1990 and 2015, by taking action to address the leading causes of death. The under-five mortality rate (deaths per 1.000 live births) was 45 in 1990 and 19 in 2009. It has decrease by 58 per cent but still is higher than de target for 2015.

Children who are poor and hardest to reach still have lack of access to the lifesaving measles vaccine. This expanded coverage of immunization against measles is an important indicator for child survival, and statistics shows that proportion of children who receive at least one dose of measles vaccine has increase from 84% in 2000 to 94% in 2009.


GOAL 5: Improve maternal health. The target was to reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio between 1990 and 2015. Despite the progress, pregnancy remains a major health risk for women in several regions, as studies shows that Eastern Asia had 110 maternal deaths per 100.000 live births in 1990, 63 in 2000 and 41 in 2008.  Even though the number of deaths has decrease, Eastern Asia still doesn´t reach the target. However, more can and must be done to save women`s and her family`s future. In order to reduce the mother´s mortality, it was necessary to increase the skilled attendance at birth, and Eastern Asia is doing well in this target as proportion of deliveries attended by skilled health personnel, around 1990 was of 94% , and around 2009 it increased to 99%. The presence of a trained health-care worker during delivery is crucial in reducing maternal deaths, as he can intervent to prevent and manage life-threatening complications.

The video shows U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon talking about Women Status:

Imagen de previsualización de YouTube

GOAL 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. The target here is to have halted and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015. Eastern Asia is doing well in this target, as the the HIV incident rate (Number of new HIV infections per year per 100 people) has remain very low in Eastern Asia with a value of 0,1%. In order to combat the diseases, another target was to achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it: treatment for HIV and AIDS has expanded quickly, but not fast enough to meet the 2010 target for universal access.  The proportion of population living with HIV who was receiving antiretroviral treatment in Eastern Asia was 6% in 2004 and 23% in 2009.

Another target was to achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all who need it: treatment for HIV and AIDS has expanded quickly, but not fast enough to meet the 2010 target for universal access as the proportion of population living with HIV who are receiving antiretroviral treatment was 6% in 2004 and it moved to 23% in 2009. Even though the number of population with HIV/ AIDS in China is not very high, the proportion of people receiving treatment should be much higher, as an antiretroviral therapy and interventions can prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. But it´s also true that progress is being made in reducing the risk of HIV in newborns as the proportion of women receiving antiretroviral drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV has developed from 3% in 2004 to 25% in 2009.

Not only HIV should be combat, but also malaria and other major diseases should be halted by 2015 and begun to reverse incidence. The incidence of tuberculosis, prevalence and mortality are also declining, as the number of tuberculosis deaths per 100.000 population has to decrease from 37 in 1990 to 12 in 2009, bringing the MDG target within sight.

GOAL 7: Ensure environmental sustainability. One of the targets was to integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources. Despite the downturn in economic activity, global greenhouse gas emissions continue their ascent, as the emissions of carbon dioxide in 1990 were 3,0 billions of metric tons and 7,7 billions in 2008 in Eastern Asia


GOAL 6: Develop a global partnership for development.

All this results suggest that much more can be done in the Eastern region in order to achieve the goals.  Effective policies and programmes should be integrate to speed up the progress in reaching the various MDG targets


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