Tuesday, September 14, 2010

RP to gear up for new development goals

By Iris C. Gonzales
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Countries including the Philippines are expected to gear up for new development goals, dubbed as Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Plus during the upcoming United Nations Review Summit on MDGs on Sept. 21, said UN resident coordinator in the Philippines Jacqui Badcock.

In a recent interview with The Star, Badcock said what may come out during the summit is a discussion on the so-called MDGs Plus.

“There’s still a lot to do. I suspect there’ll be a huge focus on the goals that we are struggling to achieve,” Badcock said.

The eight MDGs are a set of specific and time-bound development goals committed by the governments to be achieved by 2015, using 1990 data as baseline.

The eight goals are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and women empowerment, reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat diseases; ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development.

Badcock said that there are still problems by most countries around the globe in achieving the goals on maternal health, education and poverty.

“There is a question mark on maternal health and whether we’ll achieve education. And then we know that (achieving the goal on) poverty is on the borderline. We hope we’ll achieve it. The one on hunger is the hardest one for so many countries,” Badcock said.

She noted that malnutrition is still prevalent in so many countries.

“I imagine that what will come out on the summit is the need to focus even more on some MDGs,” she said.

She said the country’s efforts in achieving the MDGs needs improvement but she expressed optimism that the Aquino administration would be working on that.

Last week, the Philippine government launched its latest report on the MDGs, with officials noting that the country is likely to miss three of the eight development goals.

Of the eight goals, the report said that the government should improve its focus on reducing poverty, improving education and achieving maternal health.

It should also focus on improving the performance of boys in basic education as well as on reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the country.

On the other hand, the report said the country has high probabilities of meeting the targets of reducing child mortality; promoting women empowerment, reversing the incidence of malaria and tuberculosis and providing access to sanitary facilities, which according to the report has already been surpassed.

Nevertheless, the government said, it should exert all that it can to realize the MDGs within the next five years.

“The economy needs to attract local and foreign investments to spur economic growth. To do this, physical infrastructure has to be improved, water and power have to be made available at competitive rates and more transparent systems in doing business need to be established,” the MDG report said.

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