Hope and Healing

Who are left out of the Millennium Development Goals?

November 24, 2010General

Last week I was at a conference that was examining the progress the world has made towards the UN Millennium Development Goals. The interesting thing is that although they are 10 years into a 15 year target date – most people don’t even know about these goals. I bet most Canadians don’t even know these goals exist.

There are 8 millennium development goals set by the world through the UN to be achieved by 2015. Briefly they are the following:

  • Goal 1 – eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Goal 2 – achieve universal primary education
  • Goal 3 – promote gender equality and empower women
  • Goal 4 – reduce child mortality rate
  • Goal 5 – improve maternal health
  • Goal 6 – combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Goal 7 – ensure environmental sustainability
  • Goal 8 – develop a global partnership for development

Each of these goals has targets set with responsibility assigned for each country. There were pledges of money from donor countries which were needed to achieve these targets. Two thirds of the way through the time (10 years into a 15 year target) the results are not close to where they should be. The conference I was at was bringing organizations together with representatives of UN agencies to report on progress and plan how to do better.

I will only highlight one learning from this conference – and for cbm Canada this is significant. A study of results to date in these goals show that even where a country has made progress on the macro picture (reduced overall poverty, increased overall education, or reduced child mortality rate) this has had a negative effect on the most marginalized in that country. In order to get to the targets overall, most countries have chosen to ignore those who are the most poor, the hardest to reach, the most difficult with whom to work.  It is easier to raise overall statistics by ignoring the weakest. Countries are rewarded for achieving overall statistics, not reaching down to those that are the most vulnerable.

As always the case, the most vulnerable in all societies are people with disabilities. In the name of progress, development, and equality the system is set up in ways to once again exclude people with disabilities. What a shame.