progress of teh MDGs
The countdown has begun: there are less than 500 days until the December 31, 2015 deadline for the eight Millennium Development Goals to be accomplished. But before global leaders can agree upon a new set of goals to take up after 2015, the progress of the MDGs must first be analyzed.

Organized by The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, the 2014 Partners Forum met from June 30 to July 1 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss the various successes and failures on the achievement of the MDGs.

The eight MDGs were created by the U.N. in 2000 with the purpose of alleviating global poverty by 2015. Since the issue of global poverty is such a complicated and multi-layered issue, the MDGs focus on addressing both health and societal concerns.

As 14 years have now passed and the deadline is quickly approaching, about 800 representatives from health, gender and development, nutrition, education, private and public communities attended the 2014 Partners Forum to outline the progress that remains to be seen by the end of next year. As the PMNCH Chair and African Ambassador for A Promised Renewed, Graça Machel, said, “We have 500 days, every day counts, every action counts and every life counts.”

The 2014 Partners Forum also released long-awaited reports focusing on the fourth and fifth MDGs of improving maternal and newborn health. The World Health Assembly’s “Every Newborn Action Plan” and the “Success Factors for Women’s and Children’s Health Report” both provided information on the progress made towards these two goals, but also gave statistics proving that maternal and child mortality rates are still too high.

Many agree that the MDGs have had mixed results since the success rate of each goal varies according to a specific region or country. At the Beijing+20 Conference held at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, the Executive Director of the U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, called the progress of the MDGs a “mixed bag” since the results have been so inconsistent. According to Mlambo-Ngcuka, education “is probably the closest thing the world has to a silver bullet.”

Countries that are finding it more difficult to achieve these goals are now looking to countries that have made significant progress in the fight against global poverty since 2000. According to the 2014 Success Factors for Women’s and Children’s Health report, Peru, Egypt, Nepal, Vietnam, China, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Lao PDR, Bangladesh and Cambodia are the top ten countries that have not only progressed, but are also on-track to achieving the fourth and fifth MDGs.

Although the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals will not be agreed upon until later this year, this new set of goals is expected to both revise and expand on the current MDGs to continue the fight against global poverty. Despite the various setbacks countries and regions have faced in achieving the MDGs, the fact that some progress has been recognized proves that establishing an official list of goals is an effective way to alleviate global poverty.

-Meghan Orner

Sources: The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health 1, The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health 2, SpyGhana.com, Global Post
Photo: GBCHealth