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International Assistance

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent progress has been made in meeting the millennium goals. (145769)

Progress towards the millennium development goals (MDGs) is reported on officially by the UN and varies across goals and targets and across regions.

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 itself did not increase, the number of people living in extreme poverty increased by 140 million.

Progress towards the other seven millennium development goals (MDGs) goals also 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): this goal is seriously off track for at least one of its composing targets in most regions (including 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 UK has placed Africa at the forefront of our campaign for more and better aid. Out of the 25 key countries on which DFID focuses its work, 16 are in Africa. The 2006 White Paper sets out DFID’s future work on governance, basic services, climate change, the international system, and fragile states, which will all help make further progress towards meeting the MDGs.

The 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. The report is about to be updated by the UN this summer.

DFID’s 2007 annual report “Development on the Record”, which was recently published includes an annex on progress towards all goals including UK progress towards MDG 8. A copy of the report is available in the Library of the House.