At the Millennium Summit of September 2000, the largest gathering of world leaders in history adopted the UN Millennium declarations, committing their nations to new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty setting out a series of time bound, and quantified targets with a deadline of 2015, that have become known as the Millennium Development Goals. These goals address poverty in its many dimensions- income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter and exclusion while promoting gender equality, education and environmental sustainability. They are also basic human rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter and security. |
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) were originally development by the organization of Economic cooperation and Development (OECD) and were highlighted out of the eight chapters of United Nation Millennium Declaration, signed in September 2000 by 189 world leaders. There are internationally agreed framework of eight goals, eighteen targets and forty eight technical indicators to measure the progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. These indicators have since been adopted by a consensus of experts from United Nations, IMF, OECD and the World Bank.
Since the Government of Nepal endorsed the Millennium Declaration, Nepal has been committed to achieve the MDGS. As a primary medium- term strategy and implementation for reaching MDGs, the country’s Tenth Plan/Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (2002/03-2006/07) had incorporated the MDGs in to its strategies framework and had highlighted the importance of improving the monitoring mechanism (NPC, 2002/2004). The current interim plan has also incorporated the MDGs in to its strategic framework (The world Bank, 2007).
In this paper, there will be two parts. The first part will be about goals and targets of MDGs and second part will be about Nepal’s progress on MDGs and its challenges to achieve the goals. Only Goal 1(Eradicate Poverty and Hunger) will be discussed because this goal is most important for the developing countries like Nepal where majority of population is suffering from poverty and hunger.
Goals and Targets
There are eight goals, eighteen targets and forty eight indicators of MDGs. The goals and targets of MDGs are as follows (www.mgds.com).
Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
Target 1: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day.
Target 2: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
Goal 2: Achieve universal Primary Education.
Target 3: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.
Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women.
Target 4:Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015.
Goal 4: Reduce child Mortality
Target 5: Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the underfive mortality rate.
Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health.
Target 6: Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio.
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
Target 7: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Target 8: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse.
Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability.
Target 9: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources.
Target 10: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Target 11: Have achieved by 2020 a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development.
Target 12: Develop further an open, rule based and predictable, nondiscriminatory trading and financial system (includes a commitment to good governance, development, and poverty reduction nationally and internationally).
Target 13: Address the special needs of the least Developed countries (Includes tariff-and quota free access for Least Developed Countries, and exports, enhanced programme of debt relief for heavely indebted countries and cancellation of official bilateral debt, and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction).
Target 14: Address the special needs of Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (through the programme of Action for sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and 22nd General Assembly provisions).
Target 15: Deal comprehensively with the debt problem of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term.
Target 16: In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth
Target 17: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs on a sustainable basis (WHO)
Target 18: In cooperation with private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, specially information and communications technologies.
The higher growth rate of 1990s could not continue with the start of new millennium due to the rapid decrease in growth of the non agriculture sector, and modest growth of the agriculture sector, owing to the existing conflict in the country, among other factors. Therefore, Nepal’s principal challenge is to increase sectoral and overall growth rate. The decrease in incidence of poverty can not be sustained if political stability and rule of law are not maintained in Nepal.
The week implementation of policies and programmes is a great challenge. There is also need to improve goverence to promote accountability and transparency.
Given the widespread rural poverty in Nepal, non- improving agricultural productivity, and massive food deficit in parts of the country, the goal halving hunger affected people between 1990 and 2015 will be daunting task.
The political instability, week implementation of targeted food assistance programmes and projects, low productivity of agricultural sector and low income are also challenges to meet the target of reducing people from hunger according MDG in Nepal.
Based on the findings of the MDG Needs Assessment Study, the total financial resource needs for 2005 (at 2004 prices) estimated for achieving Goal 1 is Rs. 19.796 billion, which will go up to Rs. 30.561 billion in 2010, and to Rs. 42.625 billion in 2015.
Nepal’s progress in Target 1 (reducing poverty by 50 percentage) seems good but target 2 (halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger) seems unlikely that Nepal will achieve. In order to achieve the Target 2, there should a focus on addressing the root causes of food insecurity, considering its three components: production access and utilisation. The achievement of broad-based growth, mainly through agriculture, is vital to achieve the target of achieving the target of reducing hunger.
The rapid population growth, lower agricultural productivity and lack of transport facilities are main causes of food shortage in Nepal. To overcome these problems the focus on population control, raising agricultural productivity and infrastructural development is necessary. Nepal can not achieve the MDGS by its own resources. It requires more foreign aid than it is obtaining now. The MDGs Needs Assessment Report published towards the end of 2006 estimates that attainment of MDGs requires development funds of $ 12.6 billion over the period to 2015, more than double the level of current aid. Moreover, successful implementation of peace agreement, political stability and good governance are also important factors to achieve MDGs by Nepal.