MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS Dhaka ready to face new challenges

Projecting its success in achieving key Millennium Development Goals (MDG), Bangladesh will announce its full commitment to meet the new targets to be set up by the United Nations in its current general assembly (UNGA).

“We’ve achieved many major MDG targets and are well on track to meet the others. We’re now committed to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030,” Planning Commission (General Economics Division) Member Dr Shamsul Alam told The Daily Star yesterday on the eve of launching the latest status report on Bangladesh’s progress towards meeting MDG goals.

Bangladesh publishes today the eighth edition of its MDG Progress Report in the terminal year of MDG, set by the United Nations in 2000. It comes at a time when the UN is set to adopt Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as the post-MDG global development agenda with a 15-year (2016-2030) implementation period.

The UN summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda will be held on September 25-27 in New York.

A draft document titled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” shows that under the SDG, 17 goals might be set for countries of the world to be achieved by 2030.

The first two proposed goals are: 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere and 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Talking exclusively to The Daily Star, Dr Shamsul Alam said: “If Bangladesh’s track record in achieving MDG milestones is something to go by, we’ll fare well in implementing the upcoming SDG as well.”

Bangladesh is one of the forerunners in achieving the number one Millennium Development Goal — reducing extreme poverty rates by a half in between 1990 and 2015. In fact, Bangladesh received special honours from the UN for halving the number of people in extreme poverty (from 58 percent to 29 percent) over a couple of years ahead of 2015.

Bangladesh will be able to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, the expected terminal year for the SDG, hoped Shamsul, who oversees the General Economics Division, the key body keeping a constant track of MDG and post-MDG developments.

Extreme poverty widely refers to earning below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day.

According to the summary of the “Millennium Development Goals: Bangladesh Progress Report 2015”, the country has made remarkable progresses in poverty alleviation, ensuring food security, primary school enrollment, gender parity in primary and secondary-level education, lowering infant and under-five mortality rate and maternal mortality rate, improving immunisation coverage and reducing communicable diseases.

Shamsul, also a senior secretary, clarified saying: “You just can’t simply claim that we’ve achieved all eight MDGs as each of these goals has several targets set under them. But definitely we’ve met many of these goals and targets.”

Planning Commission sources said there are MDG indicators where Bangladesh is still progressing towards meeting the targets by the end of 2015 whereas the eighth edition of MDG progress report will capture the progress achieved up to late last year or early this year.

Source: The Daily Star

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