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Millennium Development Goals

Volume 450: debated on Friday 20 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent progress has been made on meeting the Millennium Development Goals; and if he will make a statement. (95064)

The world is on track to meet the poverty reduction and hunger goal. The most recent official data at global level show that between 1990 and 2002, the percentage of people living on less than $1 a day in the developing world dropped from 28 to 19 per cent. However, progress across regions varies. The proportion of people in Asia living on less than $1 a day dropped by nearly a quarter of a billion over that period. In sub-Saharan Africa, the goal is seriously off track, and although the poverty rate did not increase, the number of people living in extreme poverty increased by 140 million.

Progress towards the other seven Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is assessed using data up to between 2003 and 2005 depending on the goals. Progress towards these goals varies. For example, reducing child mortality is on track in Latin America, South East Asia and North Africa, and slightly off track in most other regions. There is less progress towards goal 6 (combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases), which is seriously off track for at least one of the targets in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Oceania and the Commonwealth of Independent States both in Europe and Asia. Progress towards environmental sustainability is mixed, with most regions off track for some targets and on track for others. On current rates of progress, sub-Saharan Africa will not meet any of the goals by 2015.

The recently published 2006 UN Millennium Development Goals Report, which can be found on http://unstats.un.org/unsd/mdg/default.aspx, gives a comprehensive account of progress to date on each of the goals, and how great an effort remains necessary if they are to be met. DFID's 2006 Departmental Report includes an annex on UK progress towards MDG8. A copy of the report is available in the House of Commons Library.

Because the situation worsened in Africa, the UK has placed Africa at the forefront of our campaign for more and better aid. Of the 25 key countries on which DFID focuses its work, 16 are in Africa. The recent White Paper indicates what DFID sets out to do with respect to governance, basic services, climate change and the international system, which would all help make further progress towards meeting the MDGs.