Can the Millennium Development Goals be attained

Can the Millennium Development Goals be attained

The millennium development goals (MDGs) are global development goals expected to be achieved by the year 2015. The goals have been embraced by the 193 member states of the United Nations (U.N.) and an estimate of 23 international organizations (Melamed et al, 2010: 2). The MDG goals are eight and include doing away with severe hunger and poverty, gender equality promotion and empowerment of women, fighting disease epidemics and reducing child mortality rates. Improvement of maternal health, achievement of universal primary education, promotion of environmental sustainability and development of a global partnership for development are the other goals in the MDGs. MDGs aim to encourage development through the improvement of economic and social conditions in the poorest countries in the universe. These goals came about from the Millennium Declaration that was produced by the U.N. in the declaration it is asserted that every person is entitled to the right to dignity, equality, freedom, and basic standards of living such as freedom from violence and hunger (Melamed et al, 2010:3). These ideas got implemented through the MDGs which set targets and indicators aimed at eradicating poverty and the other objectives by the end of the fifteen year timeline set.
The millennium development goals can be achieved once the various challenges threatening to derail efforts to realize these goals are addressed. Unresponsive institutions and poor implementation is one challenge that is faced in the pursuit of these goals. An example is the weak growth and unequal distribution of income in Benin which greatly constrains the eradication of extreme hunger and poverty (United Nations Development Programme, 2010:10). Lack of capacity is another challenge whereby service delivery has been hindered by capacity restraints. Administrative shortages and lack of professional personnel are sample capacity restraints. The areas most affected by capacity restraints are rural areas because of the poor infrastructure and related facilities. Inadequate resources cannot be overlooked as a challenge since lack of finances hampers the efforts aimed at realizing the MDGs. This is especially made worse by the global food and financial crises being experienced therefore leaving many nations straining to maintain their commitment to the goals and preventing the reversal of successes focused on attaining the Millennium goals. Mali is an example of a nation facing this challenge as the anaemic mobilization of funding is constraining their progress despite the public commitment shown by donor countries (United Nations Development Programme, 2010:12).
Inadequate infrastructure cuts across many nations especially developing ones whereby scenarios such as the lack of infrastructure to enable distribution of education services to everybody are observed. Social attitudes arising mostly from individual cultures greatly influence the efforts aimed at attaining the MDGs. Cambodia is a nation with significant optimism in its ability to realize the MDGs (United Nation Development Programme, 2010:15). However the culture in the country encourages traditional gender roles, continues to practice violence against women even with the legislative intervention present and low nutritional rates are apparent in women as a result of the prevailing social attitudes. Vulnerable groups such as orphans, the elderly and disabled persons face disproportionate poverty. The high rate of inactivity of disabled persons in Serbia for instance reduces their rate of unemployment. This in turn continues to promote poverty since without employment the disabled persons continue to sink in poverty. Poor data and monitoring mechanisms have also hindered some countries from reaching the MDGs targets. The fact that since the 1996 Independent Household Survey no new information on income and consumption had been collected hampered measurement in 2009.
There are those challenges that are related to conflict and disaster. Those countries that are affected by conflict and fragility have a long way to go before attaining the MDGs compared to other nations. In order for the MDGs to be achieved effectively, peace, security, and low disaster risk are necessary. The Central African Republic for instance is behind on the Global Partnership for Development Goal due to the withdrawal of some organizations and development partners owing to the Military and political crisis that has been in the nation for the past two decades. The delivery of services is also disrupted in crises since the infrastructure is destroyed and damaged and scarce resources are diverted from being invested in social services.
In addition to conflict and disaster related challenges there are new and emerging challenges especially the unprecedented global events that arose in the late 21st Century first decade years. Food prices especially staple foods rose sharply in 2007 and consequentially decelerated the progress of the MDGs (United Nations Development Programme, 2010:14). In some nations children have been forced to discontinue schooling so that they can work and help provide income for food and other basic necessities. The Global financial crisis is also another new challenge that the MDGs have had to counter. A specific event was the 2008 autumn breakdown of sub-prime mortgages in America as well as other risky and complex credit products in the whole world which brought the economy of the world to a near collapse. Although the financial crisis was contained, many nations’ economies were changed greatly and pulled them back by a great margin (Singer, 2008:469). Climate change is also a recent challenge for the MDGs. Dating from the mid-20th century global temperatures have been gradually on the increase due to the concentration of greenhouse gases. Weather patterns, for instance, droughts and flooding have changed. The developing countries are expected to be affected most because they do not have the social, financial, and technological resources to adapt to the climate change.
The challenges evaluated need to be first eliminated first in order for the Millennium Development Goals to be attained. New drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics should be introduced hence calling for a critical research agenda relating to the MDGs. Resources are important as evidenced by the constraints arising from lack of them. Low income countries presently spend insufficiently on health yet they aim to achieve the health goals. Since the global estimates are available as to what is needed more aid should be provided to these countries. Aid should be doubled, annuals spending on HIV/AIDS should be increased, and donor spending on health should be increased fivefold. Use of long-term commitments from government donors in leveraging immediate and extra resources from private markets can be utilized by the proposed International Finance Facility (IFF) and help achieve the required increase (Singer, 2008:.475).
Reduction of trade barriers is also another key issue that policy makers need to consider (Haines and Cassels, 2004: 396). These barriers erected by wealthy nations disadvantage the developing countries as the exports from developing countries get rejected. Developing countries should also improve their efforts and change the social attitudes of nationals. The policies that policy makers should be monitored to ensure they are effectively implemented. These policies should themselves address the challenges that have been seen to decelerate the realization of the MDGs. Turning to proxy indicators for instance jobs, education and literacy are sample solutions offered in the challenge of poor data and monitoring mechanisms. Weight and growth assessments are policies that some countries have incorporated in order to watch malnutrition levels. Education and training programmes would work best to solve the lack of capacity in some countries. Focusing on the hard-to-get regions is also another policy that would ensure the rural areas which are most affected by capacity constraints are not overlooked. Social attitudes are hard to change but legislative action, awareness, and education programmes, workshops training women on vocational and entrepreneurship skills and many more initiatives aimed at changing the way locals regard women would go a long way in changing existent negative attitudes in the society (United Nations, 2010: 6).
In conclusion, the millennium development goals are goals that once realized would eradicate most difficult conditions experienced by people and improve standards of living for every individual in the worlds. There are various challenges that the MDGs have faced in the past, presently face, and are expected to face in the future. Lack of capacity resources and infrastructure are examples of the challenges that developing countries face. There are those challenges that are related to conflict and disaster. These challenges have already affected the country that was plagued by the crisis and continue to affect the country for some time longer before the nation can recover fully. There are also new and emerging challenges that are being experienced in present times such as global financial crises, climate change, and increase in food prices (United Nations, 2010: 6). Some measures can be used to counter these challenges. Monitoring of policies to ensure they are implemented effectively can be applied. Policies such as focusing on hard-to-get regions would ensure rural areas are prioritized. Advocating for increased aid to developing countries would help reduce the financial problem and inadequate resources issue. The poor data and monitoring mechanisms issue can be addressed by innovation such as use of proxy indicators. The millennium development goals can be achieved through the elimination or reduction of the various challenges and introduction of new policies that adjust to the changing world in terms of technology and climate.

Reference List
Haines, A & Cassels, A. 2004. Can The Millennium Development Goals Be Attained? British Medical Journal, 329 (7462): 394-397
Melamed, C., Higgins, K & Sumner, A. 2010. Economic growth and the MDGs. Overseas Development Institute. Retrieved December 2, 2011 from: http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/details.asp?id=4892&title=millennium-development-goals-equitable-growth-policy-brief
Singer, M. 2008. Drugs and development: The global impact of drug use and trafficking on social and economic development. International Journal of Drug Policy 19 (6):467-478
United Nations Development Programme. 2010. The path to achieving millennium development goals. New York: United Nations Development Programme.
United Nations. 2010. We can end poverty 2015.Retrieved December 2, 2011 from: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/bkgd.shtml

 

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