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Interregional cooperation to strengthen social inclusion, gender equality and health promotion in the Millennium Development Goal process

Background:

A wide range of economic, social and environmental factors affect the health, gender equality and participation of socially vulnerable groups in society. The Millennium Development Goals need to be complemented with targets and indicators that are more reflective of region-specific issues and emerging trends relating to these groups. Socially vulnerable groups need to be more fully included in the mainstream development process. The concerns of vulnerable women, the elderly and young people at risk of non-communicable diseases are not adequately addressed by the Millennium Development Goals.

Data on social exclusion and its gender dimension in some developing countries and their impact on achievement of the Millennium Development Goals are scarce or of variable quality. While the regional commissions are working with the member countries on the Millennium Development Goals, their progress with respect to different Goals varies considerably. ECLAC, for example, has developed additional Millennium Development Goal targets and indicators. ECA has drawn from the ECLAC experience to work on strengthening policy capacity to meet the Millennium Development Goals. In the light of this experience, the regional commissions have agreed that there is substantial value in building an interregional network for region-specific knowledge management in relation to the Millennium Development Goals, focusing on the development of additional targets and indicators to strengthen policies and programmes with specific reference to excluded and socially vulnerable groups.

This project will focus on increasing the capacity of senior Government officials in five regions to identify gaps and hurdles in achieving the internationally agreed goals regarding health, gender equality, population and development and socially vulnerable groups. The project will be executed by ESCAP, with the collaboration of ECA, the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), ECLAC and ESCWA.

Objective:

To increase the capacity of Governments in the five regions to promote the social inclusion of vulnerable groups, gender equality and health dimensions in national development plans.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Increased region-specific targets and indicators pertaining to health, gender equality, population and development and socially vulnerable groups are identified and/or developed, facilitating the formulation of more comprehensive development strategies in the context and spirit of the Millennium Development Goals
  • A stronger foundation for knowledge management in five regions is established through sharing, collecting and analysing information and data for identifying or developing additional region-specific Millennium Development Goal targets and indicators.

Implementation status:

The project aimed to strengthen the capacity of countries in the African (ECA), European (ECE), Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Asian and Pacific (ESCAP), and the Western Asian (ESCWA) regions to promote social inclusion, gender equality and health promotion in national development plans. Each Regional Commission pursued this objective to help countries design and implement policies in these three thematic areas through substantive analysis, the identification of indicators to monitor and measure policy progress, and the regional exchange of knowledge through online knowledge products. Overall, the project contributed to highlighting the structural barriers to social inclusion, gender equality and health promotion for disadvantaged and excluded groups and policy measures needed to combat these barriers. In particular, it made contributions to exploring the concept and triggers of social exclusion; identifying policy gaps and options to empower disadvantaged and excluded groups as an integral feature of national development plans; identifying indicators to help combat social exclusion, gender inequality and health inequalities in order to strengthen the monitoring of policies and progress in these three thematic areas; as well as examining how to strengthen gender and economy, the removal of health inequities and promotion of health in later life.