Lilia Ovcharova Presents Achievements of UN Millennium Development Goals
Lilia Ovcharova, the Director of the Institute for Social Development Studies, presented a special report at the UN House in Moscow on the achievements of the UN Millennium Development Goals. Under the auspices of the United Nations, the leaders of 174 nations signed the document at the start of the 21st century, thereby setting important goals for the entire world. This year, experts presented the results of the project at UN headquarters in New York City and around the world.
The document covers eight problem areas facing the modern world, including income poverty, disease, hunger, gender inequality, the environment, education, and lack of adequate shelter, and aims to forge global partnership in accomplishing development goals.
Considerable progress was made in all eight regions. The main goal – lowering the number of people living in extreme poverty – was exceeded, and the number of such people has fallen threefold around the world. Other successful areas included access to education and resolving issues of gender inequality.
‘These goals were accepted as an ideology, but various mechanisms were also developed to help achieve the goals. Developed countries were required to allocate 0.7% of GDP to finance programmes for these purposes,’ Ovcharova explains.
At the same time, however, systemic problems arose along the way, and the current political situation has had an effect as well, at times even undermining the progress already achieved.
‘Many countries are currently torn by war and internal civil conflicts, which has led to the rapid deterioration of living conditions and the highest number of refugees and internally displaced persons in the world since WWII – up to 60 million people,’ she adds. The countries affected by the conflicts typically have the highest poverty levels, and conflict has caused an average 42,000 per day to become forcibly displaced persons seeking protection, half of whom are children. This figure is nearly four times higher than the 2010 level of 11,000.
Countries have also been unable to overcome country, settlement, gender, and income inequality as concerns access to basic services. Under-five mortality in the poorest households is nearly double that of the richest, and the likelihood that a child will not have access to elementary education is four times higher for poorer households than for the richest. In addition, risks are higher for poor women, as the maternal mortality rate in developing regions is 14 times higher than in developed ones.
One systemic problem is the slight contradiction that exists between the goals of lowering poverty and achieving sustainable environmental development. Currently, the poorest countries are solving their problems by increasing the use of natural resources, which can only harm the environment.
This will all be taken into account during the development of a proposal for Sustainable Development Goals at a summit in New York this September.
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