The report presents the yearly assessment of global progress towards the MDGs, highlighting several milestones – three important MDG targets have been met well ahead of the target date of 2015. The report says that meeting the remaining targets, while challenging, remain possible – but only if Governments do not waiver from their commitments made over a decade ago.
Based on a master set of data compiled by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on MDG indicators led by DESA’s Statistics Division, the 2012 report outlines gains in poverty reduction and access to safe drinking water, and an improvement in the lives of slums dwellers in urban areas. The report also highlights important gains towards gender parity in primary education, a decline in levels of child mortality, a downward trend of tuberculosis and global malaria deaths and an expansion of treatment for HIV sufferers.
For the first time since records on poverty began, the number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen in every developing region, including sub-Saharan Africa. Preliminary estimates indicate that the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 per day fell in 2010 to less than half the 1990 rate and during the same period over two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources. The share of slum dwellers in urban areas declined from 39 per cent in 2000 to 33 per cent in 2012, improving the lives of at least 100 million people.
A lot has been achieved and significant strides have been made, however some impediments to reaching all the MDGs by 2015 remain. The 2012 report spells out that recent natural disasters and the global financial crisis has slowed progress and that inequality remains. A particular area of concern includes the slow decrease in levels of vulnerable employment, defined as the share of unpaid family workers and own-account workers in total employment.
Lastly, and perhaps most concerning is the fact that hunger remains a global challenge. The most recent FAO estimate of undernourishment set the mark at 850 million living in hunger in the world in the 2006/08 period, 15.5 per cent of the world population. Additionally, progress has also been slow in reducing child under-nutrition, with close to a third of children in Southern Asia deemed underweight in 2010.