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Mixed results for Pacific MDG targets: Report

Mixed results for Pacific MDG targets: Report

(25 November 2004, SUVA) - Some progress, but the worsening status on some of the set targets for Pacific countries demonstrate the need for greater effort in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a recently released report has found.

The Pacific Islands Regional Millennium Development Goals Report, compiled by the Pacific Community (SPC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) agencies, reviews the state of development in the Pacific Islands against the MDGs and their associated indicators and targets.

“The report demonstrates that substantial progress has been made against certain indicators and that the region will meet some MDG targets…the progress that has been made toward some development goals clearly illustrates that the efforts by the region’s people, governments and development partners have resulted in positive outcomes,” the Report states.

However the Report also highlights real dangers of falling far short on some targets.

“Slow progress, (and in some cases a worsening of status) with regard to certain indicators, demonstrates that greater efforts will need to be made if the Pacific is to achieve the MDGs. Indeed, in some sectors – in particular health – there is a real risk that some of the region’s gains could be reversed.”

The report represents the regions official report on the MDGs that would be presented to the United Nations Secretary-General’s 2005 global progress report on implementing the MDGs.

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The eight Millennium Development Goals have associated targets and measurable indicators that countries have agreed to achieve by 2015. The goals are: eradicate extreme hunger and poverty, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development.

Among some of the main findings of the Pacific Islands Regional Millennium Development Goals Report are:

Poverty and hardship are a growing and significant concern Primary school enrolment is relatively high compared to other regions, but countries with significant population growth will face demands in meeting the demand for education. There is a need across the region to address the quality of education Although some progress has been made, much remains to be done in the area of gender equality and the empowerment of women Infant and child mortality are declining in the Pacific, but significant disparities remain within the region. The MDG target can be achieved if there is significant emphasis on meeting basic health care needs The region has made good progress towards reducing maternal mortality, but continued progress will require targeted intervention, based on maternal health indicators that have been modified so as to be relevant to the Pacific

HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and non-communicable diseases are serious and growing problems that need to be more comprehensively addressed and monitored The prospects for achieving environmental sustainability are unclear, due to a lack of reliable data and monitoring mechanisms relating both to the state of the environment and to progress in meeting environmental goals, and The special needs and characteristics of the region mean that most Pacific Island countries will require increases in and better targeting of official development assistance if they are to meet the goals and targets.

Copies of the report are available from the SPC website: http://www.spc.int/mdgs

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