Poverty Reduces Drastically - UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Ghana, Ms Christine Evans-klock has disclosed that poverty has declined by more than half globally since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs). According to her, the number of people now living in “extreme poverty” has fallen from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 836 million in 2015 adding “the MDGs have been the most successful anti-poverty movement in history. “They proved that setting goals and sticking to them could lift millions of people out of poverty, empower women and girls and improve health and well-being. They decreased misery and made it possible for millions to lead better lives,” she pointed out. The MDGs, she added, were intended to be mutually reinforcing in tackling poverty, getting children into schools, improve sanitation and addressing the healthcare imperatives to reduce maternal and child mortality and HIV infection. Ms Evans-Klock –who is also the United Nations Resident Coordinator for the country said this Tuesday during the Ghana 2015 MDGs report launch in Accra. She mentioned that over 6.2 million malaria deaths were averted between 2000 and 2015, whilst tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis and treatment interventions saved an estimated 37 million lives between 2000 and 2013. Ms Evans-Klock continued that worldwide, 2.1 billion people had gained access to improved sanitation and the proportion of people practicing open defecation has fallen almost by half since 1990. Despite these successes, she noted however that progress had been uneven across region and countries “leaving significant gaps.” She said conflicts remained the biggest threat to human development, with fragile and conflict-affected countries typically experiencing the highest rates of poverty. She decried the continuous existence of gender inequality saying women continue to face discrimination in access to “work, economic assets and participation” in business and public decision making. Touching on the yet to be adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Ms Evans-Klock said the SDGs were as result of the successes gained during the implantation of the MDGs as well as the lessons learnt from the disappointments. The SDGs she claimed would bring about more ambitious developmental agenda that will spur economic growth and decent jobs characterized by improved infrastructure and cities, speed up industrialization, slow down climate change and secure access to justice for all. Ms Evans-Klock, therefore, maintained that: “If we thought the 8 Millennium Development Goals were ambitious, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are transformative …determinedly, purposefully, unrelentingly transformative” to improve lives now and for generations to come. That was the goal she declared. Dr. William Baah-Boateng from the University of Ghana, Legon said the report sought to capture Ghana’s progress towards the attainment of the MDGs as of 2014. He said in his overview of the report that globally, progress towards the eight MDGs is measured on the basis of 21 targets and 60 official indicators but Ghana on her part looked at a more nationally relevant set of 17 targets and 36 indicators. The report was as a result of collaboration between the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It has four pages –the introduction which gives a background to the MDGs, the chapter two which discusses progress at global and national levels –three analyses progress towards the goals and related indicators and four which concludes the report with a summary of progress and the outlook for the post 2015 Development Agenda. According to the report Ghana’s progress towards the MDGs has been impressive. The targets of halving extreme poverty (MDG1A) –the proportion of people below the national poverty line (MDG1B); and halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water (MDG7B) were attained by 2010, well ahead of time it added. Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, the Director General of the NDPC said the report was in line with the previous six biennial reports, which examined progress made since 2000, towards all the goals and their targets. He further added that it would serve as the forerunner to the adoption of and implementation of the next global development agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).