Report Provides Snapshot of Developing Countries’ Progress on 3 MDGs

Progress of the international community in meeting the U.N. Millennium Development Goals has become one of today’s most debated topics as the 2015 deadline draws near.

Ahead of the September U.N summit to review the eight goals, a new MDG report card gives a snapshot of developing countries’ progress on halving poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.

Most countries are making progress on several key indicators for these three goals, according to a study conducted by the Overseas Development Institute, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and U.N. Millennium Campaign.

Extreme poverty in the developing world has significantly fallen since the 1990s, the report says. The top 10 countries making progress toward MDG 1’s target of halving poverty by 2010 are Tajikistan, Gambia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ecuador, Thailand, Vietnam, Costa Rica, China and Pakistan. The report, however, warns that there are some countries such as Nigeria and Zimbabwe where the number of people living in extreme poverty has risen since the 1990s.

Progress is more mixed on the first goal’s target of halving the number of hungry people around the world. Only approximately half of developing countries have posted progress in reducing undernourishment, while 75 percent have reduced malnutrition rates among their under-5 population groups. In most countries, progress is small and disparities are great, the report explains.

On MDG 4, the report says under-5 mortality rate fell 30 percent between 1990 and 2007. Approximately 95 percent of developing countries have improved their child survival rates, it adds. These countries are led by Thailand, Peru, Vietnam, the Maldives, Turkey and Indonesia.

On the fifth MDG, which targets improved maternal health, the report notes that there is little reliable and updated information to base findings on. The report mainly used data provided by qualified health professionals as basis for its findings.

Access to maternal health services has increased in approximately 80 percent of developing countries, according to the report. However, it points out that overall progress on maternal mortality is widely varied.

The ODI report is part of a larger project reviewing development progress over the last 20 years. The project is expected to produce a detailed MDG report that will be presented during the U.N. summit in September.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.