The most vulnerable have been left behind.
This year, the UN Secretary General’s evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals focussed on the progress made in achieving certain targets. However, in his 2011 report – which focussed on the impact of the MDGS on the lives of people living in extreme poverty – Ban Ki-moon painted a bleaker picture:
Reaching out to the poorest
“On the one hand, it is clear that the MDGs have made a tremendous difference… Despite the global economic downturn and the food and energy crises, we are on track to meet the MDG targets for poverty-reduction. At the same time, progress has been uneven. The poorest of the poor are being left behind. We need to reach out and lift them into our lifeboat. Now is the time for equity, inclusion, sustainability and women’s empowerment.”
Benefits unevenly shared
“We have success stories to point to, to build on and to scale up. But achieving all the MDGs will require extra effort. Even where we have seen rapid growth… progress is not universal, nor are the benefits evenly shared. Stubbornly high unemployment persists in rich and poor countries alike. And in many cases, the wealth gap is widening between the prosperous and the marginalized and between urban and rural. Gender parity in primary and secondary education is still beyond reach in many regions. Moreover, enrolment disparities are notable between girls from wealthy families and girls from poorer families.”
Domino effect of deprivations
“We face a similar situation with child mortality. There are huge differences in survival rates between children with educated mothers and those with unschooled mothers. We must protect against the domino effect in which one early deprivation leads to another, and another, and another. Let us also look at the post-2015 picture. When the MDGs were first articulated, we knew that achieving them would, in a sense, be only half the job. We knew that too many men, women and children would go largely untouched by even our best efforts. That is why we are already working with all our partners to sustain the momentum and to carry on with an ambitious post-2015 development agenda.”
Taken from an address given by Ban Ki-moon on 7 July 2011 to the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations in Geneva.