Progress Toward Meeting MDG Targets Slow in Some Areas
Progress toward meeting some key targets in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals -- which include curbing the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria -- has been slow, according to reviews of U.N. documents and interviews with officials conducted halfway to the MDG deadline of 2015, the AP/Straits Times reports. "We are slow" and progress has been "too little, generally," U.N. General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said, adding, "Whether the glass is half empty or half full ... depends from which angle you regard it."
According to the AP/Times, there has been some progress with farming, education, economic and health programs in places such as Africa, Haiti, Nepal and Vietnam. However, some diplomats and officials say that for all eight MDG targets to be met, the pace of progress must be drastically improved. "We're achieving them in some countries, middle-income countries, but we're not achieving them in Africa," British U.N. Ambassador John Sawers said. He added, "And at the present rate of progress, we will not have achieved them by 2015."
According to the AP/Times, progress toward meeting the MDGs is hindered by high energy and food prices, low food stocks, increasing costs from droughts and floods related to climate change, and the faltering world economy. "The stakes are high because maintaining strong economic growth ... is essential to generating the necessary resources to achieve" the MDGs, according to documents from Kerim's office.
Kerim said that although the challenge of meeting MDG targets is large, it still is "doable." He added, "We say we have three million more children survive every year. But then we say, on the other hand, we still have 72 million children still not in school. We say there are two million people now who receive AIDS treatment. Then we say half of the developing world lacks basic sanitation, which is again a gate for diseases." Kerim at the beginning of April is convening the 192-nation General Assembly to examine ways of reaching the MDGs by the 2015 deadline. The MDGs were "adopted by all the world leaders, so there cannot be an excuse," he said, adding, "We are not an institute. We are not here to offer people studies. Studies they have more than enough of. We are here to give policy recommendations" (AP/Straits Times, 3/27).