Progress on Millennium Development Goals heading in the right direction

from Australian Agency for International Development
Published on 05 Jul 2013 View Original

Melissa Parke, Minister for International Development, has welcomed the United Nations report showing that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are making good progress.

Released by the United Nations Secretary General in Geneva, the Millennium Development Goals Report 2013 says that some of the MDGs are already met, and many other targets are within reach by the 2015 deadline.

MDGs that have already been achieved include:

  • halving extreme poverty (MDG 1)

  • improving access to safe drinking water, and improving the lives of slum dwellers (MDG 7)

  • achieving gender parity in primary schools (MDG 3), although the proportion of girls in school varies between countries.

'The Report confirms that the MDGs have guided the most successful anti-poverty effort in history,' Ms Parke said.

'Australia is committed to the successful achievement of the MDGs by 2015 and to the consideration in due course of a coordinated approach to further development objectives.'

Australia has helped countries to make progress against the MDGs. In 2012 in Papua New Guinea, Australia supported immunisation for over 500,000 children for measles and polio, and over 1.2 million women for tetanus.

In 2012 in Afghanistan, Australian support has helped 39 per cent of births to be attended by skilled attendants, compared to 24 per cent in 2007; and contributed to a three‐fold increase in the proportion of functioning primary health care facilities with skilled female health workers.

In Indonesia, more than 2000 new junior secondary schools have been built or renovated, creating places for 330,000 more children between 2006 and 2011.

'Despite the progress in some areas, there is still more to be done. That is why the 2013-14 Budget allocated $390 million toward the accelerated achievement of the MDG targets.' Ms Parke said.

'The report shows that more action is needed in many areas, including on decreasing child and maternal mortality, improving access to sanitation and primary education, combating HIV, and improving environmental sustainability.'

Within our Asia-Pacific region, progress has been made across a number of MDGs. South Asia has joined East and Southeast Asia to now be on track to halving extreme poverty by 2015.

The situation in the Pacific has improved overall, although only the Cook Islands and Niue are on track to meet all the MDGS. PNG is not on track to meet any of the MDGs, which only highlights the magnitude of the challenge in that country and in our region.

'Accelerated efforts are required in the Pacific if targets are to be met. The Australian Government’s increased budgetary commitment to foreign aid will improve our critical work to target poverty and hunger, education, and maternal health in the Asia-Pacific region,' Ms Parke said.

Media contact: Ronald Mizen 0409 447 025