Achieving the MDGs
EU action plan for reducing poverty
On 21/04/2010 the European Commission has adopted an ambitious action plan for EU action to speed up progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) . In 2009, the EU aid level has slightly decreased and amounted €49bn. This corresponds to 0.42% of EU GNI, making the EU still far from meeting the intermediate collective target of 056% GNI by 2010, before reaching 0.7% EU GNI by 2015. The EU remains the most generous global donor, providing more than half of global aid.
The Commission proposes to Member States a number of actions in support of MDGs. They aim at increasing the level of aid while making aid more efficient and focused on those countries and sectors most in need. The action plan sets out a possible EU position ahead of the UN Summit on the MDGs in September 2010.
What exactly would change?
Who would benefit and how?
What are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)?
8 concrete goalsset by the UN in 2000 to eradicate global poverty by 2015 and save millions of lives:
- halve the number of people suffering from extreme poverty/hunger
- achieve universal primary education
- promote gender equality/empower women
- reduce child mortality
- improve maternal health
- combat disease (HIV/AIDS, malaria, etc.)
- ensure environmental sustainability
- develop a global partnership for development
What progress has been made on the MDGs?
- MDG 1 – still within reach on current projections. In 1990–2005, the number of people suffering from extreme poverty fell from 1.8bn to 1.4bn, although strong regional disparities remain.
- MDG 2 – enrolment in primary education rose from 83 to 88% in 2000-07. Major breakthroughs in sub-Saharan Africa (up 15 percentage points) and Southern Asia (up 11 pp).
- MDG 4 – deaths among children under 5 down from 12.6m in 1990 to 8.8m in 2008, despite population growth (under-5 mortality rate fell from 93 deaths per 1 000 live births in 1990 to 65 in 2008).
- MDG 6 – coverage rates for insecticide-treated bed nets to counter malaria have tripled since 2000. Measles deaths fell by over 60% in 2000-05 (and by nearly 75% in Africa — from an estimated 506 000 to 126 000).
- MDG 7 – access tocleaner drinking waterup from 77% in 1990 to 87% today (and over 90% projected for 2015 on current trends).
Which areas need to be improved?
- some regions and countries are faring much worse than others (Sub-Saharan Africa and fragile states have made least progress).
- the food, fuel and financial crises have thrown millions back into poverty, risking all the progress made so far.
- the goals that are most off track are child/maternal health and sanitation, causing millions of avoidable deaths.
By individual goal:
- MDG 1 – in 2009, the number of chronically hungry people topped 1bn, with at least another 2bn undernourished (highest rates in South Asia, especially India).
MDG 2 – large gaps still remain in access to education and completion rates, with significant inequalities based on gender, ethnicity, income, language or disabilities.
72m children of primary school age were not in school in 2007 (70% of these were in sub-Saharan Africa or South and West Asia).
- MDG 5 – little improvement in maternal mortality since 1990, with still 450 deaths per 100 000 live births in developing regions in 2005 (85% in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia).
MDG 6 – despite the overall drop in the number of new infections, the total number of people living with HIV (33.4m) continues to grow (partly due to longer survival through more widespread anti-retroviral treatment).
Sub-Saharan Africa remains the worst affected region (71% of all new HIV infections in 2008).
MDG 7 – in 1990-2006, the number of people without improved sanitationfell by only 8%, to over 2.5bn.
On current progress, the MDG sanitation target will be missed for over 700m people. Lowest coverage in sub-Saharan Africa – only 31% have improved sanitation, up just 5 % since 1990.
What is the EU doing to help developing countries reach the MDGs?
MDG 1 – poverty and hunger
- aid and other support for national poverty reduction strategies
- growing aid to small farmers (central role for agriculture)
- plan to improve global food security (to be launched in 2010)
- help to create jobs, improve competitiveness and develop regional markets (through sustainable growth that protects social/welfare standards).
MDG 2 – primary education
- EU is main donor to international Education for all initiative
- EU development policysupports:
- - education policyin 140 developing countries
- - free and mandatory access to primary education
- - right to education for girls and the most vulnerable
- - better quality education
MDG 3 – gender equality/empowering women
EU actionin developing countries aims to:
- improve access to all levels of education
- support economic emancipation
- improve access to political life
- fight violence towards women
MDG 4 – child mortality
Major investment to help developing countries:
- consolidate their health systems
- develop universal access to care
- train qualified staff.
MDG 5 – maternal health
- help to increase the percentage of deliveries assisted by qualified health staff
- finance for campaigns on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
MDG 6 – diseases
- biggest contributor to the Global Fund
- help to improve national capacities
- supplies essential medication (accessible for all)
- builds clinics and laboratories
- trains caretakers and medical staff
- improves access to care
- improves sanitary education
- boosts participation by local communities.
MDG 7 – environment
Helps developing countries better manage and protect their resources by:
- preserving their biodiversity, forests, fishing resources, , energy
- fighting climate changeand natural disasters
- developing a scientific and technological base
MDG 8 – global partnership
- EU is World's biggest development aid donor (56% of total)
- open market for products from less advanced countries, under trade agreementsdesigned to favour their development