The MDGs are a list of eight development objectives to which the international community agreed in 2000. They are:
•Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
•Achieve universal primary education
•Promote gender equality and empower women
•Reduce child mortality
•Improve maternal health
•Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
•Ensure environmental sustainability
•Develop a global partnership for development
According to the MDGs Report 2011 which was published on Thursday, the region has made some progress in the first six goals, but is lagging in others.
The proportion of people in the region whose income is less than $1 a day moved from 29 per cent in 1990 to 26 per cent in 2005. The target is to halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion so defined.
“Robust growth in the first half of the decade reduced the number of people in developing countries living on less than $1.25 a day from about 1.8 billion in 1990 to 1.4 billion in 2005. At the same time, the corresponding poverty rate dropped from 46 per cent to 27 per cent,” the report said.
Despite these declines, current trends suggest that the momentum of growth in the developing world remains strong enough to sustain the progress needed to reach the global poverty-reduction target. Based on recently updated projections from the World Bank, the overall poverty rate is still expected to fall below 15 per cent by 2015, indicating that the Millennium Development Goal target can be met.”
The report found that nearly a quarter of children under age five in the developing world remain undernourished, but the proportion of those residing in Latin America and the Caribbean who were underweight in 2009 was four per cent, compared to 10 per cent in 1990.
On the subject of education, Sub-Saharan Africa was found to have the best record for improvement in primary school enrolment. For the 2008/2009 school year, he Caribbean region had a 95 per cent enrolment rate at the primary level, as against 93 per cent ten years prior.
Youth literacy in the region also improved, moving from 92 per cent in 1990 to 97 in 2009.
“Worldwide, the literacy rate of youth (aged 15 to 24) increased from 83 per cent to 89 per cent between 1990 and 2009. Southern Asia and Northern Africa chalked up the most progress, with increases of 20 and 19 percentage points, respectively. Sub-Saharan Africa showed significant improvement as well — a rise of seven percentage points. Still, it remains the region with the lowest youth literacy rate (72 per cent in 2009). In spite of overall progress, 127 million young people lacked basic reading and writing skills in 2009. Nearly 90 per cent of all illiterate youth live in just two regions: Southern Asia (65 million) and sub-Saharan Africa (47 million),” the report said.
On the subject of gender equality, the gender parity index for gross enrolment ratio in primary, secondary and tertiary level institutions for the years 1998/1999 and 2008/2009 was 97 for both sexes; 107 for girls and 108 boys; and 117 for girls and 126 for boys, respectively.
“Wide gaps remain in women’s access to paid work in at least half of all regions,” the document said. “Worldwide, the share of women in non-agricultural paid employment increased from 35 per cent in 1990 to almost 40 per cent in 2009. Progress has slowed in recent years, however, due to the financial and economic crisis of 2008-2009.”
As for the of seats held by women in single or lower houses of national parliaments, the region improved, moving from 15 per cent in 2000 to 23 per cent this year, 2011.
“Representation by women in parliament is at an all-time high, but falls shamefully short of parity.”
Latin American and the Caribbean has also made some progress in addressing the under five mortality rate. The figure per 1,000 live births in 1990 was 52, compared to 23 in 2009.
The maternal mortality rate has also reflected some decline, moving from 320 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990, to 230 in 2000 and 170 in 2008.
However, the report said gains made in the Caribbean to reduce adolescent pregnancies during the 1990s have stalled. The number of births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 moved from 81 in 1990 to 77 in 2000, then to 69 in 2008.
This might be related to contraceptive use in the region, where, according to the report, there is a high unmet need for the commodity and inadequate family planning. The proportion of women who have an unmet need for family planning among women aged 15-49 who are married or in a union, has barely budged over the years, coming in at 19.5 per cent in 1990, 20.4 per cent in 2000 and 20.2 per cent in 2008.
New HIV infections are in general decline, led by sub-Saharan Africa. In Latin America and the Caribbean the number of new HIV infections per year per 100 people aged 15-49, was 0.09 per cent in 2001 compared to 0.08 per cent in 2009.
Treatment for HIV and AIDS has expanded quickly in the region, jumping to 38 per cent 2009, from five per cent in 2004. However, it was not good enough to meet the 2010 target for universal access.
The world is likely to surpass the drinking water target, the 2011 report said, “though more than one in 10 people may still be without access in 2015. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the proportion of the population using piped water on premises was 72 per cent in 1990 and 84 per cent in 2008. The proportion using improved sources in the same years was 13 per cent and nine per cent; while 15 per cent used unimproved sources in 1990 compared to seven per cent in 2008.
“The world is far from meeting the sanitation target. In fact, at the current rate of progress, it will take until 2049 to provide 77 per cent of the global population with flush toilets and other forms of improved sanitation. Almost half the population of developing regions and some 2.6 billion people globally were not using an improved form of sanitation in 2008,” the document said, pointing out that over 2.6 billion people still lack flush toilets and other forms of improved sanitation.
Regarding national debt, the region’s external debt service payments as a proportion of export revenues was drastically reduced from 21.8 per cent in 2000 to 6.8 in 2008 and moved marginally upward in 2009 to 7.2 per cent.
And in spite of the economic downturn global greenhouse gas emissions continue to climb. The region accounted for 1.7 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2008, up from 1 billion metric tonnes in 1990.
The MDGs are measured through 21 targets and 60 official indicators.