NEW YORK/ GENEVA/ HONG KONG, 5 April 2013 – Twelve years ago, world leaders gathered and drew up a blueprint for a better future: the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in an aim to achieve eight priorities including “eradicating extreme hunger and poverty”, and “reducing child mortality”. The Goals once looked too ambitious, but thanks to the international efforts, remarkable results were achieved in the last dozen years. Still, the progress is uneven and many countries are being left behind that have been unable to reach none of the Goals.
Today marks the 1,000 days prior to the deadline of MDGs, UNICEF urges international communities to keep up the efforts and accelerate the actions to end the disparities, to ensure every child has the opportunity to survive and thrive, and a child-friendly, sustainable environment for all children.
In the Millennium Summit at United Nations held in September 2000, world leaders set a series of time-bound targets – that have become known as the MDGs – with a deadline of 2015. The eight goals include halve the extreme poverty, combating HIV/AIDS, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and ensuring environmental sustainability, etc. (See Appendix)
“Reducing child mortality and combating HIV/AIDS are in sight,”says UNICEF
|Thanks to the worldwide contributions, UNICEF made considerable progress to reach the Goals. The global number of under five deaths has fallen from around 12 million in 1990 to 6.9 million in 2011; 14,000 more children’s lives are saved every day than was the case in 1990, meaning achieving the Goal 4, to reduce under-five child mortality by two-thirds, is within our grasp.
The end of HIV is also in sight. With simpler drug regimens and the success of preventing mother-to-child transmission programmes, the new infections among infants by 2015 may reach zero.
Remarkable achievements in eradication of poverty, education and gender equality
According to The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012, preliminary estimates indicate the global poverty rate fell in 2010 to less than half the 1990 rate, which means the poverty reduction target may be achieved well ahead of 2015; In the developing regions, the net enrolment rate for children of primary school age rose from 82 to 90 per cent between 1999 and 2010, almost achieving the goal of universal primary education. Meanwhile, the world has first achieved parity in primary education between girls and boys in 2010.
|1,000 days marks the vital moment
However, nearly half of the population in developing regions—2.5 billion—still lacks access to improved sanitation facilities. By 2015, the world will have reached only 67 per cent coverage, well short of the 75 per cent needed to achieve the MDG target. The mark at 850 million living in hunger in the world in the 2006/2008 period—15.5 per cent of the world population is set, while close to one third of children in Southern Asia were underweight in 2010.
|The absolute number of urban populations living in slums has continued to grow from a 1990 baseline of 650 million, with an estimated 863 million people now live in slum conditions. Poorer children are almost three times as likely to be underweight as are children in the wealthiest.
During the 1,000 days until the end of 2015, much can be achieved if governments, civil society, the private sector and the international community accelerate action to end the disparities that leave children out and work together to ensure every last child has the opportunity to survive and thrive.
Although some see the Goals are lofty promises and too ambitious, they help set global and national priorities, mobilise action, and achieve remarkable results. Children are at the heart of sustainable development; they are particularly vulnerable to poverty, climate-related disastersand environmental pollution. The future of our children depends on urgent, effective and coordinated actions to move to a child-friendly, sustainable environment.
Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations said in a video webcast on the UN MDGs website, to call for international community to take four steps to accelerate action and keep the promise, including 1) scale up success through strategic, targeted investments in health, and empower women and girls through education; 2) focus on the poorest and most vulnerable regions; 3) keep financial promises and encourage more pledges despite difficult times, 4) re-energise the global movement from governments to the grassroots.
Millennium Development Goals
|Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty
||Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 a day and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger|
|Achieve universal primary education
||Ensure that children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling|
|Promote gender equality and empower women
||Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, and in all levels of education|
|Reduce child mortality
||Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate|
|Improve maternal mortality
||Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
Achieve universal access to reproductive health
|Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
||Have halted and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, and achieve universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it
Reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
|Ensure environmental sustainability
||Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources
Reduce biodiversity loss
Halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
|Global partnership for development
||Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system
Address the special needs of least developed countries
– End –