In the world there are a lot of people living in inequality and dangerously out of balance. There are 1.1 billion people living on less than one dollar a day. Over 67 million children could not access primary education. There are 7.6 million children under 5 years of age died in 2010 nearly 21,000 a day or 900 every hour. About 800 women die from pregnancy or child related complications every day. Over 40 million people are suffering HIV/ AIDS. These records show us that our world is in danger situation. Every year billions of people death because of hunger and lack of health care. Billions of people are facing poverty and have a little opportunity to develop their life. How can international development help? For the first time in world history the global community established the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000. The eight international development goals are aiming to free humanity from extreme poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease by 2015. As the result of Millennium Development Goals many countries have promoted their standard of living and developed their countries. But there are still some countries which are suffering lack of education, health care, gender inequality and so on. Why have these MDGs been successful in some countries and less successful in other countries? In this essay I am going to describe the MDGs, and explain why some countries have been more successful and others less successful in achieving these goals with a focus on Vietnam and Ethiopia.
What are the challenges of International Development in this age of globalization and what are Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)? Never before in the history have the leaders of so many nations come together in a single assembly. On September 6, 2000 189 nations made a promise in New York to free people to free humanity from extreme poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease by 2015 (The UN Millennium Declaration, 2010). This pledge became the eight Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals are a chance to improve our world and promote our standard of living. This is a unique opportunity and therefore a unique responsibility. Without the support of us, the people, and the governments, these goals will never be met by one country alone. What are the MDGs? There are eight MDGs. Goal 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Goal 2. Achieve universal primary education. Goal 3. Promote gender equality and empower women. Goal 4. Reduce child mortality. Goal 5. Improve mental health. Goal 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Goal 7. Ensure environmental sustainability. Goal 8. Develop a global partnership.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been the most successful global anti-poverty push in history (MDGs report, 2013). Many countries have made measureable improvements on MDGs. They reduced poverty, hunger, health, education and other social issue. These are some achievements of MDGs. In Brazil, 12.2 million people have been lifted out of poverty (USAID, 2011). They reduced malnutrition, increase school enrolment and increase medical care. In Ethiopia, there are now three million more children in school than in 2000. Between 1995 and 2010, the share of women in parliament on a global level increased from 11% to 19%. In Tanzania, the infant mortality rate dropped by 21% between 1998 and 2011. In Peru, the maternal mortality rate fell by 44% between 2000 and 2009. Nigeria has almost eradicated polio, reducing the number of cases by 98% between 2009 and 2010 (MDGs report, 2013). The HIV rate has also fallen among pregnant young women aged 15-24 from 5.8% in 2001 to 4.2 in 2008 (MDGs report, 2013). According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF between 1990 and 2010 more than 2.1 billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources (MDGs report, 2013).
In 1990, there were more than 1.2 billion people about 28 percent of the developing world's population lived in extreme poverty. In 2001, the proportion of extreme poverty fell to 21 percent in developing world. From 1990 to 2001 the rates of poverty fell rapidly in much of Asia and there are less successful in some countries such as Latin America, Northern Africa and Western Asia. But in sub-Saharan Arica, which has the highest poor rates in the world, millions more fell deep into poverty. There are millions of hungry people in the world. Now hunger is a tragic reality and kills more people every year than AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.
Viet Nam made the most impressive progress on MDGs especially in reducing poverty. The Viet Nam poverty rate has been reduced by more than two-thirds, from 24.9 percent in 1993 to 6.9 percent in 2008 (United Nations, Viet Nam, 2010) because the government of Viet Nam has always been committed to pro-poor economic growth and poverty reduction as one of its top priorities. As the result poverty reduction has been one of the most significant achievements in Viet Nam since the 1990s. Here are three main points that Viet Nam achieved on MDG 1. (1) Reduce half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day. (2) Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people. (3) Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
The Viet Nam country respect principles of human dignity, equality and equal rights for all human being. They all respect the basic human rights of freedom, regardless of races, gender, language or religions. Over the past decades ago, Viet Nam realized the basic principle of freedom and equality. People have responded enthusiastically to contribute a democratic, equal and civilized society. Viet Nam is giving special attention to poor people, disabled, war victims, homeless and children to provide them with the support and protection. The government has encouraged participating in development and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in developing the social welfare system (Viet Nam achieving the Millennium Development Goals, 2005). It actively promotes international cooperation to take advantage of bilateral and multilateral humanitarian aid, including from NGOs to develop the economy, social welfare, culture and meet humanitarian needs.
Comprehensive economic has been very successful and helped Viet Nam to gradually escape from its economic difficulties and connect into the global economy. They increased investments from their domestic sources, with gross investment rising to 38% of GDP in 2004 (Luong, 2005). As a result of their high level investment and economic growth employment opportunities have grown a lot. In 1992, Hunger Eradication and Poverty Reduction (HEPR) emerged with the Hunger Eradication and Poverty Reduction and Job Creation Program (HEPRJC). The programs provided small loans to household projects which created employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people (estimated to have accounted for 22% of total employment growth) (Luong, 2005). The program concentrated on building basic infrastructure (electricity, rural irrigation projects and market places) for the poor communes. In addition, the program provided support to agricultural and forestry extension. The government carried out social protection policies for the poor such as free medical examination and treatment, support to education of children from poor households, support to improve housing conditions and access to clean water.
A lot of countries developed and made significant progress on MDGs. But why is Africa still falling behind in development? According to the UN 2010 report, Ethiopia is one of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa where little progress has been made in reducing extreme poverty and not expected to achieve the MDG poverty reduction target. Annually 500 thousand women die when giving birth or during pregnancy. In Africa's Sub-Saharan region 1 in 16 women die in these conditions. 3,000 children are dying from Malaria each day, One every 30 seconds. 200 million people in chronic hunger (Millennium promises, 2010). 1/3 Africa's population has no access to safe water. Is it because of the Africa government, climate or their leaders?
In Ethiopia there are over 80 million people, it is the second most populous country in Africa. Around 80 percent of the Ethiopia population is living in the rural areas depending on small scale rain-fed agriculture for their livelihood. With an estimated 80 percent of population living under a dollar a day, Ethiopia is one of the least developed and poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ethiopia is beset with a range of serious development challenges including: rapid population growth, high level of poverty, low capacity including skilled human resources to sustain the economic growth (S. Binyam, 2013). Ethiopia has still low levels of income and they are facing challenges of inflation, high unemployment, narrow modern industrial sector base and sustaining the macroeconomic stability (Binyam, 2013). The education in Ethiopia faces major challenges: low quality of education, limited resources, average pupil-teacher ratio, distance from schools, large class-sizes, shortage of teaching materials and discouraging teaching-learning process (Binyam, 2013). There needs to be a balanced development across all tiers of the education system, curriculum development and expansion in supply of trained teachers.
Corruption is also one of the problems that hinder development and the eradication extreme poverty in Ethiopia. According to Transparency International Ethiopia has one of the highest corruptions rates in Africa and ranked 113 out of 176 countries in 2012 (Van der Wolf, 2013). According to Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia, 2010: developmental aid goes to ruling party members and the disadvantaged and poor people are not benefiting from the development effort of the country (Binyam, 2013). Lack of good governance and the absence of fair play for all citizens and development partners are major problems of the country. The overall absence of democratic system, good governance and lack of equal participation of all citizens are hindering the development of the country and the country's progress toward the MDG targets (Binyam, 2013). As the result of these problems Ethiopia will be one of those countries which will not meet the MDG targets by 2015 (Binyam, 2013).
In conclusion, as the result of MDGs commitment with a set deadline of 2015 many developing countries could reduce extreme poverty, hunger, illiteracy and diseases and promoted their standard of living. Especially the rates of extreme poverty fell rapidly in much of Asia in 1990 to 2000. Some countries like Viet Nam achieved the MDGs significantly because they have good governance, good cooperation with all citizens and government, good policy making and effective use of aid. But like Ethiopia, Africa is falling behind and millions fell more deeply into poverty because of their lack of good governance and ownership among community, policy making, ineffective use of aid and lack of coordination among development partners. So, we should develop effective mechanism of using aid and coordination among development partners to achieve MDGs. Therefore we should change our country political system: inclusive government equal participation and governance. We should have gender equality. We should change our bad governance into good governance and effective government system.
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