Tuesday, 31 January 2017

The Next Millennium Development Goals

The process has already begun to create new global development goals beyond 2015. Some suggested continuing with the current MDGs and just recalibrating them. Table 1-3 lists alternative suggestions for future goals, given the change in landscape since 2000, including climate change concerns and economic shifts. A UN-appointed panel, the HighLevel Panel of Eminent Persons, developed one list. The other list was developed by looking at the last 15 years of UN summits and conferences and distilling the major themes, which resulted in overlap with previous MDGs (at least 6) and the development of 4 new ones: Protect 

Children’s Lives and Rights, Optimise the Health and Well-Being of the Ageing, Ensure Food and Water Security, and Create Universal Access to Communication and Information. 

There has been signifcant progress toward the MDGs as outlined in the previous sections. There was a decline in child mortality from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to almost half (48) in 2012, which means almost 18,000 fewer children are dying every day from preventable causes. But many of the goals were not fully achieved for all countries, and these disparities were highlighted in the previous sections as well. Within countries, the poorest continue to receive less than the rich and urban dwellers have better access to health care than rural populations. Gender discrimination and low education levels also contribute to inequities within countries, which are masked by countrywide statistics. Children of educated mothers are more likely to survive. In China and India, girls have a higher mortality rate than boys. These are some of the reasons why a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emerged in the post-2015 era—not to replace but to supplement and enlarge what began as the original MDGs. For instance, while child injury prevention did not make it into the MDGs, at least one injury-related health goal (traffc injury prevention) made it into the “zero” draft of the UN post-2015 SDGs (as of March 2015). 

Some countries have already made progress. While many of the inequity fndings suggest insurmountable odds, the experience in Brazil proves otherwise. There is a 5% annual reduction (ahead of target) in child deaths and a drop from 19.9% (1990) to 7.1% (2006) in stunting. This tremendous progress is attributed to a number of economic and health interventions accompanied by a committed political agenda, all of which will be woven into the new post-2015 SDGs, which will be fnalized by the UN General Assembly in 2015. 

Sustainable Development Goals

The SDGs will deepen and expand the MDGs because they will include social, environmental, and economic development goals; include goals focusing on all countries, not just developing countries; affect all aspects of public policy, not just those affecting children younger than 5; mobilize resources and global partnerships from all sections; and address health but also unemployment, inequality, hunger, agriculture, education, energy, climate change, ecosystems, and poverty. Governments around the world will have to recommit themselves in the post-2015 era, individually and through alliances, to continue working on decreasing  child mortality, poverty, maternal mortality, and injury and increasing education of women and children but also on more comprehensive goals focusing on overall outcomes from people and societies. Health systems and ecosystems must be improved to effectively implement effective policies, programs, and environments across the continuum of maternal, newborn, and pediatric care, in concert with an agenda that is universal, integrated, and transformational. Achieving safe, healthy, and educated children will be an outgrowth of these SDGs that emphasize well-being and sustainability for all countries. 

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