Global Monitoring Report 2011

Progress toward the 2015 Millennium Development Goals

World Bank and International Monetary Fund – Released April 15, 2011

(Summary courtesy of Jean Fort, Founding Director of Women Empowerment International)

Overview Two-thirds of developing countries are on track or close to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, only four years away.  Developing countries will likely achieve the MDGs for gender parity in primary and secondary education and for access to safe drinking water, and will be very close on hunger and on primary education completion.  But progress is too slow and targets may be missed on others. Among developing countries, 45 per cent are far from meeting the target on access to sanitation; 39 per cent and 38 per cent are far from the maternal and child mortality targets, respectively.

Among developing countries that are falling short, half are close to getting on track.  For those countries that are on track, or close to it, solid economic growth and good policies and institutions have been the key factors in their success.  With improved policies and faster growth, many countries that are close to becoming on track could still achieve the targets in 2015 or soon after.


Poverty – On the whole, progress has been made in the fight against poverty.  Based on current economic projections, the world remains on track to reduce by half the number of people living in extreme poverty.  The number of people living on less than $1.25 a day is projected to be 883 million in 2015, compared with 1.4 billion in 2005 and 1.8 billion in 1990.  Much of this progress reflects rapid growth in China and India.  While poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa has fallen steeply with the acceleration of growth since 2000, the region has fallen behind and is not on track to meet the poverty reduction goal.

  • 55 percent of developing countries (47 countries) are on target
  • 25 percent (21 countries) are close to being on target
  • 20 percent (17 countries) are far behind the target

But no data on 14 African countries!

Among the low-income countries, six countries have achieved or are on target to halve extreme poverty:  Cambodia, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Mauritania.

The 17 countries far behind the target are:  Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, & Columbia; Mali, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Nigeria; Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Yemen, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.

While wealthier economies are still recovering from The Great Recession, the growth rates of economies of most developing countries have returned or improved.  Although the recent crisis set back progress, many low-income countries that had strong macroeconomic policies were able to soften the impact of the crisis with active tax and spending policies.


International Development Assistance – Governments and international institutions cooperated in coping with The Great Recession by maintaining aid and boosting emergency financial resources—although, of course, the aid is never enough.  Developing countries are also benefiting from new donors and from a sharp rise in donations from the private sector in advanced countries.  This growing assistance from new donors—many in the developing world—will not compensate for a significant future fall in aid from traditional donors, particularly if they pursue different development priorities and practices.


Maternal Health – lags the most of all the MDGs.  Only 2% of low-income countries, 20% of lower-middle-income countries, and 50% of upper-middle income countries are projected to achieve the two goals of reducing the maternal mortality ratio by 75% and achieving universal access to reproductive health.


Child Mortality – lags the second most of all the MDGs.  Of the estimated 10.5 million child deaths annually, the vast majority are from preventable and treatable diseases and conditions, including low dietary energy consumption (underweight), unsafe drinking water and the lack of basic sanitation (diarrhea), and indoor air pollution related to solid fuel use for cooking and heating (pneumonia).


Health and Education – To better understand results on the ground, the report presents findings and lessons from impact evaluations in health and education. Such evaluations often show development assistance for health and education has risen to unprecedented levels in volume, but has not generated the expected improvements in outcomes.


The Future

International Cooperation – Regaining momentum toward achieving the MDGs will require international cooperation on three fronts.  First, low income countries in particular will need a strong and stable global economic environment in which to continue growing.  Second, actions are needed to help low income countries achieve and sustain more rapid economic growth and restore their policy buffers.  Third, fragile states lag the furthest behind in reaching the MDGs and require additional support, to help in building institutions and moving toward a virtuous circle of development, peace, and security.

Socially Excluded Groups – In some countries, it will be important to focus on support for the world’s socially excluded groups, including indigenous people as well as ethnic and linguistic minorities.  Most MDG indicators among these groups are far worse than in the general population, especially in terms of income poverty.  For example, most countries in Latin America with sizable indigenous populations show almost no poverty reduction for those groups.

Price Increases – Rising demand for food, water, and modern energy is putting pressure on scarce natural resources.  This is increasing the prices of (especially) food and energy.  And it is hurting poor people in importing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia whose governments are unable to guarantee affordable prices when global prices increase.


Parallel report from UNESCO, EFA Global Monitoring Report 2011, The Hidden Crisis:  Armed Conflict and Education.   Armed conflict is robbing 28 million children of an education by exposing them to widespread rape and other sexual violence, targeted attacks on schools and other human rights abuses.  The reports calls for a major overall in aid to education in conflicted-affected countries.