Reflection on the mid-point on the Minimalist/Millennium Development Goals
Source: Ghana Civil Society Resource Center
There’s been a real flurry of activity around the Millennium Goals mid point this past week. Some of it has focused on the way we can push governments to meet the goals, some on appraising the governments’ performance, some rallying the public and informing people of the goals, some critically discussing their meaning and focus.
While it seems to be widely agreed by civil society organisations that the MDGs are not the p ana cea to solve the world's problems, there does appear to be a strong body of opinion that they have provided a framework for development and negotiations and monitoring of their governments’ performance against these commitments. Indeed, even if they were met, the Goals would still not avoid an enormous number of deaths as they only look to halve infant mortality for example. Who decides what half lives? Equally, the aim of putting more Northern donor money into the South will not solve the problems as there needs to be significant work in tackling corruption, strengthening democracies and increasing transparency and accountability of governments to their people, both in the South and the North.
By coming out in such numbers on July 7th (a mid-point of MDG commitments till 2015) – 70 cities hosted events of one kind or another - members of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) showed there is motivation to push governments to achieve MDG targets. Recognising that some progress has been made in some countries, most people are still sorely disappointed with the poor performance of states that signed the Millennium Declaration and made promises to their citizens. Millions of impoverished people continue to live in socially dismal and sub-human conditions without solution or hope. Most countries in the South lag far behind their targets and Northern countries have largely failed to fulfill their promises with regard to aid, trade and debt cancellations. In Africa, for example, 13 African countries (mostly in North Africa) can achieve or come close to the MDGs by 2015 if they continue at the current pace. The remaining African countries have not made any progress in gender equality and women's empowerment, and tens of millions of citizens around the world are still living in an ocean of poverty.
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