The International Day of the Girl Child earlier this month was an opportunity to remind ourselves that girls are among the primary victims of violence, and that they continue to, in many countries, have limited education and employment opportunities.
This year’s report card on where the world, the regions, and the developing countries are with regard to attaining the various Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), shows quite a diverse picture. As the Global Monitoring Report 2013 points out, progress toward the MDGs has not been universal and there are many poor countries that are still very far away from the targets where we want them to be by 2015.
If we take a look at progress towards attainment of the MDGs, we can conclude that four out of 21 targets have been met by 2010, well ahead of the 2015 deadline. Note that even though there are 8 Goals, there are 21 targets and about 56 indicators through which the world tries to monitor their progress.
Last year, we sought inputs from the CSO/NGO community to strengthen the Global Monitoring Report (GMR) with stories that had a qualitative character of how people at community level had coped with the higher food prices due to recent food price spikes. The focus of the upcoming GMR, to be issued in April 2013, is on Rural-Urban Dynamics and the Millennium Development Goals. Clearly, domestic or in-country migration is a major contributing factor to urbanization. However, migrants’ expectations of better job opportunities or better quality and easier access to service delivery do not always materialize. Even though basic living standards, as measured by the MDGs, are often better in urban areas than in rural areas, this cannot be generalized for all residents of urban areas. Rural-urban migrants are quite often the ones who face a more challenging environment, particularly when expectations of finding a job are not fulfilled. Ensuring access to basic services, such as those defined by the MDGs, for everyone living in urban areas is one of the major challenges governments and citizens alike face during the urbanization process. GMR 2013 has set itself the task of bringing together a body of knowledge on this subject, i.e. how to make urbanization work for all.
Excerpt from Global Monitoring Report 2012.
Undernourishment measures the availability of food to meet people’s basic energy needs. The MDGs call for cutting the proportion of undernourished people in half, but few countries will reach that target by 2015. Rising agricultural production has kept ahead of population growth, but rising food prices and the diversion of food crops to fuel production have reversed the declining rate of undernourishment since 2004–06. The FAO estimates that in 2008 there were 739 million people without adequate daily food intake. More
High food prices, especially when they have increased suddenly and unexpectedly, have been found to hurt many poor people around the world. The Global Monitoring Report 2012: Food Prices, Nutrition, and the Millennium Development Goals (GMR) finds that the food price shock that peaked in early 2011 pushed nearly 50 million people into poverty. On one level, this is not surprising—the poorest people, after all, spend nearly all of their income on food. But on further reflection, this result is not so obvious— three quarters of the world’s poor are rural and the majority of them depend on farming for their livelihoods. The problem is that—unlike farmers in rich countries—many poor farmers in developing countries don’t produce enough food to meet their families’ needs. These net buyers of food are hurt by higher food prices even though they are farmers.
How are communities around the world coping with the higher and more volatile food prices? What is the impact on poverty, or on nutritional outcomes? And, how should policymakers respond to such price spikes that can eat away at already-tight budgetary resources?
These are only some of the questions that a key World Bank-IMF report is delving into as it provides an annual assessment on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as the challenges which developing countries face in achieving them.
The World Bank recently launched its ‘Education Strategy 2020’ which focuses on achieving ‘learning for all’ over the next decade. The strategy emphasizes looking beyond inputs (classrooms, teacher training, textbooks, computers) to outputs such as cognitive skills and skills for critical thinking (read Elizabeth Kings’ post on this). The strategy emphasizes this approach through the slogan ‘invest early, invest smartly, invest for all.’