Remember the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs)? We are approaching the halfway point marking the 15-year effort toward eradicating poverty, and improving livelihoods and sustainability. Taking stock of progress in reaching these targets
could not come at a better time.
The Global Monitoring Report 2007 annually reviews progress on the MDG targets and highlights emerging priorities on achieving them. This year’s report focuses on gender equity and fragile states. According to the report, progress is evident, but it is clear there is much more work to be done, specifically in harmonizing aid and “translating good intent into viable outcomes on the ground.” It also says that promoting gender equity and empowerment of women can be a conduit to achieve targets for universal primary education, improved child mortality rates and maternal health, and reduced HIV/AIDS transmission—each an MDG in its own right. Similar themes are voiced—albeit with an emphasis on health disparities—in Save the Children’s latest report State of the World’s Mothers: Saving the Lives of Children Under 5.
One of the most interesting resources in tracking progress is The World Bank Group’s Online Atlas of the Millennium Development Goals, which maps each of the eight MDGs by country. The atlas is an easily digestible interface with visually stimulating functions that complement narrative progress reports.
Together, these reports provide a sobering snapshot of what still needs to be done. Indeed, others sources point to the lack of quality data for indicators within the MDGs, which makes tracking progress and assessing success extremely difficult. The Global Monitoring Report doesn’t mince words when it says that “[s]even years after the Millennium Summit at which the MDGs were adopted, there is yet to be a single country case where aid is being scaled up to support achieving the MDG agenda.” Continuing with the MDG development framework is important, but failing to scale up support and harmonize donor effort could further stall progress and “jeopardize the credibility of the program itself.”