President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 2000 to help reduce global poverty, improve global access to healthcare, education and Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) services, might have made a greater impact, but these are not actually felt or visible as a result of the lack adequate data.
Delivering the Keynote address at the High Level Segment of the Annual Ministerial Review of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Thursday, President Sirleaf said, though the MDGs made a lot of progress, the lack of capacities and accurate measurements for progress are serious issues in assessing the real impacts of the MDGs in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) such as Liberia.
According to a dispatch from the US, the President spoke on the theme, “Implementing a Post-2015 Development Agenda That Works for the LDCs.”
She also pointed out that due to the lack of consultations during the early years of implementation of the MDGs, most of the LDCs did not take ownership of the global objectives nor did they believe it to be solutions to their problems.
“Moreover, by utilizing a uniformed set of targets, the methodology overlooked differences in country conditions and capacities, leading to challenges in assessing progress made by respective countries,” she said.
Nevertheless, President Sirleaf indicated that the MDGs framework became an important tool for improving human development, especially in the LDCs; adding that significant progress has been achieved globally in addressing poverty, malnutrition and communicable diseases, as well as in human development indicators such as education and health.
She stressed that when the MDGs was launched in 2000, Liberia was still mired in conflict with no knowledge and participation in its formulation.
However, she noted that since 2006, Liberia has made significant progress especially in education, gender equality and women empowerment, HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases as well as resource management.
“These have enabled Liberia to attract investment and promote sustained and inclusive growth aimed at raising people’s well-being and expectations,” she said.
President Sirlreaf however emphasized that the Ebola outbreak exacerbated Liberia’s economic growth decline, and its transformation which was already being affected by decline in the country’s main exports of rubber and iron ore.
She said the experience of Liberia and its neighbors with the Ebola virus disease highlighted the fact that while all countries are at risk of such outbreaks, the LDCs are particularly vulnerable to public health emergencies, with severe impacts on the lives, livelihoods and the economies of these countries.
She reiterated that Liberia’s experience suggests the fundamental importance of infrastructure and essential skills development, as well as training to strengthen the capacities of LDCs to respond to public health challenges and emergencies, and to mitigate shocks to health systems.
Liberia currently serves as a member of the Global Coordination Bureau of the LDCs within the United Nations.
The MDGs are eight international development goals that were established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. It was adopted by the United Nations Millennium Declaration. It rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty by establishing measurable, universally-agreed objectives for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; preventing deadly, but treatable disease, and expanding educational opportunities to all children, among other development imperatives.
The MDGs came to an end this year; though with a lot of progress, much still need to be done, especially in the Least Development Countries. It is shortly to be replaced with another global development agenda that is being prepared by the UN.