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Millennium Development Goals at a Glance: Manipur and Beyond

In 2000, several leaders from across the world came together, believing a collective effort can change the world for good—and thus heralded the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). A total of 189 countries have pledged to free the world from hunger and diseases.

The goals comprise eight main targets (see the screen grab) covering a range of issues from eradicating poverty and hunger to ensuring environmental sustainability within the stipulated time of 2015. It is no wonder then how it has been hailed as the most successful global anti-poverty campaign. It has been delivering results and additionally, the leaders have started looking beyond the deadline and making targets that could possibly change the way how we think about development in days to come. Behind the action plan there was a belief: Assuring economic prosperity and the well-being of people is essential to bring lasting international peace and security.

The facts and figures show, without telling: one of the targets include reducing the proportion of people suffering from hunger into half. Official estimates show the number of undernourished people decreased from 23.2 per cent in 1990–1992 to 14.9 per cent in 2010–2012. This is quite an achievement, though we know fully the caveat—simply put, across the globe, 870 million people or one in eight people are still going hungry. (We Can End Poverty, un.org/millenniumgoals/index.shtml)

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, which is responsible for data collection and information analysis, are meticulous in its calculation. The result lies in the details as well. Here are a few significant records:
  • Income rose to $1.40 from $0.47 a day among the 915 farmers, mostly women, in 15 villages in the Krakor district reached by the Food and Agriculture Organization’s training project on literacy, gender awareness, health and nutrition and natural resource management.
  • In South Asia, the proportion of undernourished people has fallen from 26.8 per cent to 17.6 per cent during the past two decades, though this is insufficient to meet the MDG target.
  • Eastern Asia met the target of reducing by two-thirds the mortality rate for children under five ahead of the deadline, with the mortality rate dropping by 69 per cent—from 48 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 15 in 2011.
  • South-Eastern Asia is the only developing region that reached the hunger reduction target ahead of the 2015 deadline.
  • Around the globe, poverty rates have been halved, and about 700 million fewer people lived in conditions of extreme poverty in 2010 than in 1990.
Resources galore, the collective efforts have made the goals realistic as much as it is effective. Released earlier in July, the MDG Report 2013 (Read the report compiled on a PDF. http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Resources/Static/Products/Progress2013/English2013.pdf) illustrates immaculately with clarity the various contributions from the international community, civil society and the private sector. A development agenda to succeed the MDG is in the pipeline. It’s going to be the same contributors plus a host of new development experts. 


Twist in the Tale: Observations from a Convention

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Text source: E-pao and the Sangai Express
The People's Convention on Millennium Development Goals in Manipur was held on 18 October 2012 at Lamyanba Snglen, Imphal, organised by the Community Network on Empowerment (CoNE), Human Rights Alert (HRA), Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR), Sustainable Livelihood Forum Manpur (SLFM) and United Voluntary Youth Council (UVYC)]
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Here's a brief
Prof Amar Yumnam, the Dean of Social Sciences, Manipur University highlighted how the values of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature and responsibility inform the MDGs…He emphasised how the issues of Legitimate Politics, Security, Justice, Employment and Communities capacity to generate revenue are going to be key concepts in shaping up the post-2015 development agenda of the world.

Four expert panelists from various networks presented their experiences in the field on the situation of the MDGs. Meihoubam Rakesh, Director, HRLN (Manipur) mentioned that the Government of Indian has taken up several flagship programmes, including MGNREGS, NRHM, Indira Awaz Yojana and others to realise the first two goals of eradicating poverty and ensuring proper medical facilities to women and children. He also presented graphically how…the funds are utilized in creating private assets instead of benefiting the public. He added the funds were drawn in the name of beneficiaries without their knowledge using fake documents and forged signatures.

Manipur in black
Image: CC-by-sa PlaneMad/Wikimedia Common

Mr. Pradeep Keisham, convenor, MACR listed out the various legislations and schemes mean for children since 2000 and highlighted how the benefits of such laws hardly reached the children. He articulated how in the existing education system many children have been trafficked in the name of providing free and better education in other states. He also suggested for the establishment of the Manipur State Child Rights Commission.

Mr. R.K. Nolinikanta, president of CoNE pointed out even though Manipur constitutes only 0.2% of India's populations it bears the burden of supporting 8% of people living with HIV in the country. Through an action research conducted specially for this convention he pointed out challenges faced by the people living with HIV to access proper treatment.

Ms. Mesiah Devi, State coordinator of SLFM presented the difficulties of the people both in the hills and valley of Manipur to access the PDS items on the basis of their public hearing conducted recently and also presented the recommendation issued by the Commission of Right to Food to the Government of Manipur after the public hearing. She also pointed mourned the fact that the recommendations remained unimplemented till date.

Activists from Tamenglong, Ukhrul as well from the transgender community and other interest groups also presented their concerns with the non-realization of the MDGs. The convention concluded with a commitment from the Centre for Manipur Studies, Manipur University to come out with an annual Manipur Development Report…to…overcome the developmental challenges in Manipur.

Watch this space...More reports to follow.


Further Reading

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013
http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Resources/Static/Products/Progress2013/English2013.pdf

We Can End Poverty — Millennium Development Goals and Beyond 2015
http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/index.shtml

The Official Millennium Development Goals Indicators
http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Default.aspx

India, UNDP and the Millennium Development Goal
http://www.undp.org/content/india/en/home/countryinfo/

The Millennium Development Goals and Local Processes
http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/9291IIED.pdf

On Manipur


Image from Find Icons
The World Today
Text source:
MILLENNIUM CAMPAIGN
Voices Against Poverty
www.millenniumcampaign.org

-----     TRADE     -----

•    The United Nations estimates that unfair trade rules deny poor countries $700 billion every year. Less than 0.01% of this could save the sight of 30 million people.(Source: ChristianAid)
•    International trade is worth $10 million a minute. 70% of this is controlled by multinational corporations. (Source: ChristianAid)
•    The poorest 49 countries make up 10% of the world’s population but account for only 0.4% of world trade. Their share has halved since 1980. (Source: ChristianAid)
•    World trade robs poor countries of £1.3 billion a day – 14 times what they get in aid. (Source: CAFOD, 2003)
•    The prices of many poor countries’ key exports are at a 150-year low.(Source: ChristianAid)
•    It’s estimated that rich countries are gaining $141.8 billion per year in trade and Africa is $2.6 billion per year worse off. (Source: ChristianAid)
•    Rich countries spend $100 billion a year to protect their markets with tariffs, quotas and subsidies – this is twice as much as they provide in aid for developing countries.(Source: Oxfam)
•    Current trade rules force Mexican farmers who live on a dollar a day to compete with American farmers receiving subsidies of more than US$20,000 a year.(Source: ChristianAid)
•    The average cow in the EU receives more than $2 a day in subsidies, whilst more than 3 billion people in developing countries are struggling to survive on less than this. (Source: Cafod)
•    The EU gives $86.8 billion a year to its farmers in subsidies. Just $5 billion could help give everyone in the world access to safe water and sanitation.
•    On average, coffee farmers are getting $1 a kilogram while consumers are paying about $15 – a markup of 1500%. (Source: Oxfam)

Image from Vector for Free
-----     AID     -----

•    In 1970, 22 of the world’s richest countries pledged to spend 0.7% of their national income on aid. 34 years later, only 5 countries have kept that promise. The UK hasn’t. (Source: Save The Children)
•    In 2002/3 the UK spent just 0.3% of national income on aid. If the UK met the 0.7% target by 2008, an extra 1.5 million people could beat poverty that year. (Source: Save The Children)
•    To achieve 0.7%, the UK needs to increase its aid budget by £3 billion. It sounds huge, but it is possible – the UK government found £5.5 billion to fund the ‘war on terror’. (Source: The Guardian)

-----     DEBT     -----

•    7 million children die each year as a result of the debt crisis. (Source: JDC, 2001)
•    For every £1 in grant aid to developing countries, more than £13 comes back in debt repayments. (Source: World Health Report 2000)
•    Every year Sub-Saharan Africa, the poorest region of the world, spends $14.5 billion repaying debts to the world’s rich countries and international institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. (Source: DATA)
•    If we are to reach the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people living on less than one dollar a day by 2015, we must cancel all the debts of the poorest countries. (Source: Jubilee Debt Campaign)
•    More than 85% of the debt owed by the world’s poorest countries has yet to be cancelled. (Source: Cafod)
•    Debt cancellation needed by the world’s poor: US$ 300bn. Debt relief promised by creditors so far: US$ 110bn. Debt cancellation delivered by July 2003: US$ 36bn.(Source: Cafod)
•    Spread over ten years the cost to the UK taxpayer of cancelling £1.3bn debt is £171m a year or £2.85 per UK citizen per year – the price of a pint. (Source: WDM)
•    Spread over 20 years, the cost of cancelling the debts of the 52 Jubilee 2000 countries is only one penny a day for each person in the industrialised world.(Source: World Centric)
•    Ethiopia, a country with one of the highest mortality rates in the world, the $197m spent on servicing the national debt in 2001 could have fully financed provision of a basic package of health care for mothers and children. (Source: Oxfam)
•    The money spent on debt repayments could provide water for around 1.3 billion people. (Source: WaterAid)




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