• Progress

    Posted by Laura

    21 August, 2012

    Seeing progress is a fantastic thing. Whether it is the clock in an exam ticking ever closer to the start of holidays, or finally seeing your hard work pay off, as you get better at a sport, or cards, or knitting, or skipping, progress is always really encouraging.

    I’m not really one for numbers. I never quite managed to get my times tables down pat (much to the chagrin of my father), and stuck to General Maths in Year 12, but even I have been astounded by the latest report from the United Nations. The 2012 Millennium Development Goal Report is the compilation of key indicators and data, which provide an assessment on how the world is going with reaching the targets.

    As we know, the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and halving poverty –  2015 – is getting really close. 

    The good news?

    Extreme poverty is falling. The proportion of people living on les than US$1.25 fell from 47% in 1990 to 24% in 2008 – that’s a reduction of over 400 million people. 400 million people who are living above the extreme poverty line – still incredibly poor, but better able to meet their basic needs. The world has halved the proportion of people without access to clean water. Boys and girls across the world are both being educated at the same rate in primary schools. Deaths from malaria are on the decline. More and more children are surviving past the age of five

    The bad news?

    Not all the goals are being met. While some parts of the world are doing really well – even exceeding the targets set, others are falling way behind. The global economic crisis slowed down growth, but even without that, some countries are going to really struggle to meet their targets. Close to 850 million people are hungry, and many more are vulnerable to food price rises. The number of people living in slums is increasing. 2.5 billion people still don’t have access to reliable and effective sanitation. And regionally, our neighbours in Oceania are some of the most off track to reach the MDG targets.

    To find out more, you can check out the 2012 Report here – it’s an easy read, and provides helpful information about how the world is going in reaching the MDGs.

    As Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN said, "As the 2015 deadline is fast approaching, we must be united and steadfast in our resolve to accelerate progress and achieve the MDGs."

    We have a unique opportunity at Voices for Justice this year, to put the plight of the world's poor on the agenda of our politicians and leaders. The MDGs have brought about huge, and tangible changes in the lives of billions of people – let’s finish the race well! 

    Laura Scott is the 2012 Political Engagement Intern at Micah Challenge.