ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is unlikely to meet seven out of eight Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015, said a report released by the Planning Commission on Friday. The vital goals include ‘universal primary education’, ’eradication poverty and hunger’ and ‘reduction in child mortality’.
The Pakistan Millennium Development Goal Report (PMDGR), launched at the Planning Commission on Friday, provides a keen analysis of the present status and challenges towards achieving the MDGs.
The PMDGR 2010 is a part of the MDG monitoring and evaluating process that launched its fourth report in the series. It was produced by the Planning Commission of the Government of Pakistan and was launched by the Centre for Poverty & Social Policy Development (CPRSPD), Planning Commission, and Government of Pakistan.
According to the report, the goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger might seem like a challenge as there is high growth, low inflation and lack of jobs. The goal to achieve universal primary education’ is also unlikely to be met by the targeted year even if there is a sharp turn in the economic activity or government spending for education.
The goal focuses on primary enrolment, completion from grade 1-5 and increase in literacy rate.
There are proper steps that need to be taken for the goal to “Promoting Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment”, and the progress is slow and might not be able to meet the target by 2015.
Although Pakistan has managed to achieve its only goal of ‘Ensuring Environmental Sustainability’ due to the country being one of the largest users of CNG in the world, environment related issues such as provision of clean water still remain a challenge.
There will be several challenges that Pakistan will have to cope with in order to meet the MDGs by 2015. However, the devastating floods that have adversely affected the overall economy of country and the remaining seven goals seem like a struggle as the country faces the largest catastrophe in history.
With Pakistan’s external debt liabilities reaching $55 billion, there is danger that the country might fall into a huge debt trap as foreign borrowings are used for budgetary support and productive purposes.
Aid has been crucial in achieving many of its development goals and MDGs. The manner of aid distribution with its conditionality has also caused problems. However, trade had now replaced aid as a means to development and Pakistan’s desire for greater market access is largely supply constrained. Ashraf M Hayat, Secretary, Planning and Development Division said, “The report has significant importance as the only monitoring tool for measuring Pakistan’s performance in achieving MDGs. However, there is a need allow free access to their markets; transfer of new technologies; and provide favourable terms of trade.”
Of the challenges and constraints that came forward from the report, the Pakistan government needs to respond to initiatives from abroad and how it attracts foreign assistance.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2010.