Launched in Geneva, where the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) opened its
annual policy session on Monday, this years progress report on the eight
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) comes amid the drive to ratchet up
international support for development aid and debt relief and mounting
mobilization campaigns at the national level.
The MDGs were endorsed by world leaders at the 2000 summit in New York to
achieve, by 2015, a measurable improvement in combating such problems as high
infant and maternal mortality and lack of access to education and health care.
While highlight the MDG success stories in water access and schooling, the
new study, entitled the UN Millennium Development Report 2006, points out
that some of the goals, such as halving the percentage of the worlds
population who have no access to decent sanitation facilities, are unlikely to
be met without greatly accelerated efforts.
In most areas, progress is mixed, the report indicates. For example, the
effort to control infectious diseases has seen awareness and funding soar in the
battle against malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, while the number of TB and
HIV cases has risen as well.
Similarly, women and girls are benefiting from maternal health programmes and
equality initiatives in primary schools, work places and parliaments. At the
same time, the study notes that discriminatory practices persist across the
Along with some progress in the protection of natural resources, the study
finds that the question remains whether protective measures can take effect
swiftly enough to head off rapid climate change, runaway pollution and
exhaustion of fresh water sources.
The main objective commonly associated with the MDGs is the eradication of
extreme poverty, and the related target for cutting in half the proportion of
people in the developing world living on 1 a day or less.
As reported last year, the new study finds that the world is on track to meet
this target by 2015, primarily because of large gains in South and East Asia.
This huge victory is undercut by disturbingly slow progress in Latin America,
and by a rate of extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa that is stuck at around
44 per cent.
Progress in the eighth MDG, the strengthening of international partnership to
fight poverty, lends some hope in that area, however, the report says. Last year
Official Development Assistance (ODA) surpassed 100 billion for the first time
ever, though some of this included the write-off of debt.
The Millennium Development Goals Report 2006 is published by the ECOSOC
Statistics Division and includes contributions from statistical departments of
more than 20 UN funds, programmes and agencies and other international