Ms Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, UN Resident Coordinator, on Tuesday said the global 2013 Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) report, has indicated substantial progress in poverty eradication, access to drinking water, malaria, global hunger and slum dwellers.
She said: “The rate of people living in extreme poverty has been halved, access to drinking water has been much improved, and significant gains have been made in the fight against malaria, global hunger and in reducing the proportion of slum dwellers in cities”.
She said throughout the life-cycle of the MDGs there had been remarkable improvements on the economic front, with rising trade and investment and a reduction in countries’ debt burden.
Ms Sandhu-Rojon, who said this at a press briefing in Accra on Ghana’s participation in the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly this year, said the unprecedented progress was driven by a combination of economic growth, government policies, civil society engagement and the global commitment to the MDGs.
The General Assembly session will be held from September 17 to October 4, 2013 on the theme: “The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage”.
Ghana’s delegation to the 68th Session of the General Assembly would be led by President John Dramani Mahama to engage in on-going deliberations on the UN Reform, which would include the reform of both the General Assembly and the Security Council.
The reform would revitalize and make the organization effective and efficient to address emerging challenges facing the international community in the 21st century.
Ms Sandhu-Rojon said despite those gains, there were still a number of challenges that needed to be addressed.
“What stands out is that, even where progress has been achieved, it is uneven, both among and within countries,” she said and stressed the need to pay urgent attention to bridge the continuing gaps on poverty, hunger, health, gender equality, water, sanitation and other issues after 2015.
She said the global post-2015 development agenda would, therefore, need to combine a focus on those remaining challenges while addressing the rising inequalities in both rich and poor countries, and other new challenges such as climate change which could lead to a dramatic reversal of hard won development gains.
She noted that both the global successes of the MDG agenda and its remaining challenges were very much reflected in the national situation Ghana was currently facing.
Ms Sandhu-Rojon said while Ghana had done well on MDG 1, where extreme poverty had been halved well ahead of 2015, and MDGs 2, 3 and 6, were potentially achievable, MDG 4 on child mortality, MDG 5 on maternal health and the sanitation aspect of MDG 7 were lagging.
“In addition, while some MDGs have indeed been achieved on average, wide regional and socio-economic disparities remain between regions and districts in the country. The three northern regions stand out as lagging behind on almost all MDG indicators.
“Another area of continuing concern is the consideration of gender disparity in MDG achievement in Ghana with men doing better than women across the MDGs,” she added.
There would be a high-level meeting at the General Assembly on disability and development on the theme: “The Way Forward: A Disability Inclusive Development Agenda towards 2015 and beyond.
The meeting will pay special attention to the needs of people with disabilities as they are often excluded from equitable access to education, employment, healthcare and social and legal support systems.