Pakistan is falling short of almost all its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), says a latest report of the Commonwealth Foundation.
The national report based on the assessment of 30 NGOs of Pakistan, reviews the progress of the country towards these targets.
Pakistan’s civil society organisations have agreed that it is not possible to achieve the MDGs by the 2015 deadline.
The country has committed to 37 indicators out of 48, relating to eradication of poverty, maternal health, HIV, access to primary education, gender disparity and others. However, according to the report, only four of these goals are being followed.
“The government is not serious about achieving the goals,” said Pakistan NGO Forum’s Professor Ismail, who was among those who gave their recommendations on the progress last December when all the NGOs had a national consultation.
Talking to The Express Tribune, he said the schemes such as Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) were introduced to eradicate poverty but were not dedicated to achieve these goals.
“Pakistani authorities are always very quick to sign on these indicators and vow to achieve them, but later on fail to show political will into accomplishing them.”
In their report, the civil society organisations assess that Pakistan will have to establish new internal resource mobilisation efforts, and divert additional resources to meet MDG goals.
Institutional weakness in its response to the MDGs, financing shortfalls and the international community’s failure to fulfill its commitments led to the failure of achieving the targets, the report says.
Organisations feel that the country’s progress has been halted due to food and fuel crisis, natural disasters, militancy.
Poverty and hunger
The civil society organisations believe that significant progress has been made to eradicate poverty but target is unlikely to be achieved. Social activists feel that food inflation is reversing steps taken to eradicate poverty, and the poverty headcount ratio which was 17.2 in 2007-08 according to the national poverty survey, might have increased.
According to the civil society, there has been regression and there is no possibility to achieve the target which was to enable girls and boys to complete a course of their primary schooling by 2015.
According to the government, literacy rate has risen from 35% in 1990/1991 to 58% in 2008/9, but this falls short of MDG target of 88% by 2015.
The Gender Parity Index for primary and secondary education stands at 0.84 and 0.80 respectively showing little change from rates of 0.82 and 0.75 in 2001/02. The civil society feels that the target of meeting gender parity in primary and secondary education could not be met by 2015.
The mortality rate of under five year children has declined from 124 death per 1,000 live births in 1990s to 87 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010. Commenting on this target, social activists feel that they have mixed opinions but the goal is not on track for achievement.
The maternal mortality rate has continued to decline from 533 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990-91 to 260 deaths in 2010; however the civil society organisations feel it is higher than the target, stating that there has been progress but it is not sufficient.
HIV-AIDS, other diseases
The report points to a limited progress and says that some groups are vulnerable, and infections in injecting drug users have doubled from 10.8% in 2005-06 to 20.8% in 2008-09. Malaria is the second most prevalent disease in the country.
The reviewers feel that lack of data made analysis difficult but there has been some progress. According to them, there is conflicting data whether forest cover is increasing or decreasing. Pakistan still lags behind in providing clean drinking water and sanitation.
Global partnership for development
The civil society organisations say that this goal is not on track for achievement. Aid in Pakistan has increased sharply from 126% to US $ 1.4 billion in 2010. Meanwhile, its share in the global market has declined by more than a third to 0.13% in 2009 as compared to 0.21% in 1999.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2013.
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