Millennium Development GoalsMore talk waiting for action [Archives:2003/688/Front Page]

November 24 2003

Nadia Al-Saqqaf
Three years ago international leaders set 2015 as a target date to eradicate global challenges trapping a majority of the world in hardship and death.
And a two-day workshop held in Washington, D.C. Nov. 19 and 20 has built on that ambitious set of goals that were set in the UN Millennium Declaration in 2000.
The recent workshop, organized by UNDP and the World Bank, focused on gender equality and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
It also involved aid representatives in Yemen, via video conference from the World Bank's Sana'a office.
The Washington workshop attempted to find how gender specific actions can be integrated MDG policies.
Part of the solution will be to promote coordination among development agencies in their efforts to integrate gender issues into the MDGs.
The objective of the workshop was also to evaluate progress in gender issues in a number of countries, and to find ways of integrating gender in all the other goals.
In addition to Yemen, Turkey participated in the workshop through the video conference.
Development activists taking part included Abdo Seif, of the Poverty Alleviation Team at the UNDP, Hooria Mashoor deputy chair of the Women National Committee, Majda Elsanousi Programme coordinator in Oxfam and Thabet Baggash health officer in Oxfam.
The Yemeni group noted that common mistake of intellectualizing developing world challenges, and not taking action.
This was the observation also of World Bank president James Wolfensohn. He said we can win the technical battle and figure out policies to integrate gender, but all this can not be transferred into reality without resources. It is with money that programs can be implemented.
Still, Wolfensohn pointed that the World Bank would take a progressive stand in women's empowerment in the coming 12 months.
The International Monetary Fund does not clearly state gender issues in its agendas and programs, but the IMF comes to rescue in the times of economic crises, and this indirectly supports women.
However, these goals could be seen as an opportunity to start a more direct approach towards the gender issues the question is how to strengthen the analysis to prove a gender focus in promoting economies.
The Millennium Development Goals are the global community's shared vision for development. But some believe it is quite unlikely that the goals are achievablein a country such as Yemen.
Poverty, gender, politics, health are all challenges noted in the MDGs that need to be addressed. Are the millennium development goals really the solution? The answer to this question remains to be seen.
Following are the eight goals that were set in 2000,
1- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Halve the number of people living on less than one dollar a day around the world by 2015
2- Achieve universal primary education. Ensure that all boys and girls complete primary school by 2015
3- Promote gender equality and empower women. To eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005 and at all levels by 2015
4- Reduce child mortality by 2/3rds among children under five years of age by 2015
5- Improve maternal health. Reduce the ratio of women dying in child birth by 2/3rds by 2015
6- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and the incidence of malaria and other diseases by 2015.
7- Ensure environmental sustainability. Use principles of sustainable developments so as by 2015 to half the proportion of people without safe water, to improve the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.
8- Develop a global partnership for development. To achieve an open trading and financial system where the government is committed to development and poverty reduction, and to reach a partnership between poor and rich countries to deal with debts and develop work for youth as well as essential medicines for the needy in poor countries.