World Vision warns final MDG report will confirm worst fears
• MDGs have been ineffective in fragile and conflict-affected environments
• Because of that, 1.5 billion people have missed out on more than a decade of concerted international action on poverty reduction
• The Syrian crisis has impacted neighbouring countries’ ability to meet targets
The final Millennium Development Goals (MDG) progress report (due 6 July) will confirm what many already know: children and their families in fragile states largely did not benefit from the 15 year global initiative to reduce poverty, aid agency World Vision revealed today.
“It became apparent early on the MDGs just weren’t relevant in fragile states and there needed to be greater emphasis on inclusive governance, justice and peace. Many nations simply weren’t set up for success,” says Chris Derksen-Hiebert, World Vision’s Director of Public Policy. “For instance, while globally there are 173 million fewer people suffering from chronic hunger, many fragile or conflict-affected countries have recorded increases.”
Among those who won't meet the goal focused on eradicating extreme poverty and hunger is South Sudan where a quarter of a million children are currently at risk of malnutrition. The civil war has caused severe food shortages with the UNDP lamenting the massive level of poverty and deplorable human development situation there.
“The report will also likely highlight the fact we live in an increasingly borderless world and countries that may have been on track to meet the MDGs have been thrown off course by conflict and fragility elsewhere,” says Marc-Andre Hensel, World Vision Lebanon’s Integrated Programmes Director.
“For instance, more than 1.1 million Syrians are now living as refugees here in Lebanon; putting huge strain on infrastructure, healthcare and the school system. Inevitably, this will have a direct impact on Lebanon’s ability to meet the MDGs,” he says.
In the southern hemisphere, Papua New Guinea, also considered a fragile state, has amongst the worst maternal and child mortality rates (MDGs 4 & 5) in the world.
“The Pacific presents a human development challenge that often goes unnoticed. One in 16 children born there won’t make it to their fifth birthday. Of those who do survive, 50 per cent will be stunted,” says Nancy Waites, World Vision’s Advocacy Manager for Pacific Timor Leste.
Gaps in the MDG architecture should not take away from the progress that has been made though. The number of people living in extreme poverty has been reduced by 700 million people and preventable child deaths have been cut in half.
“The MDGs made the world focus on poverty reduction in a way we’ve never seen before,” says Chris Derksen-Hiebert. “However, we must take the lessons we’ve learnt over the past 15 years and stop at nothing to ensure the new Sustainable Development Goals reach the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children in the hardest places to live. Millions of lives depend on it.”
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