Water and Slums Bright Spots in MDGs
- An annual report card on the ambitious U.N.-led initiative known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) says that in three areas – poverty, slums and water – the goals have been met ahead of the 2015 deadline, but persistent gaps remain, notably in the critical area of maternal health.
The report , released Monday, also says that the ongoing financial crisis has undermined progress on many of the goals.
“Some of the biggest challenges are the most difficult ones. It doesn’t mean we should give up,” Jomo Kwame Sundaram, former U.N. assistant secretary general for economic development, told IPS.
Based on data compiled by over 25 U.N. and international agencies, the report presents a complex and sometimes contradictory picture.
“I’m a little sceptical about how reliable our information is. For example, how do we understand a situation where poverty seems to be going down but hunger seems to be going up?” said Sundaram.
The official poverty line, as set by the World Bank, is one dollar a day. This decision was “arbitrary” and “convenient”, he said.
“A dollar a day might be enough for food in India but a dollar a day may not be good enough in Brazil,” he added.
Francesca Perucci, chief of the U.N.’s statistics planning and development section, told IPS, “Some developing countries, because of scarce resources, still face some challenges in ensuring that effective data collection programmes are conducted regularly and rely heavily on surveys sponsored and/or carried out by international organisations.”