A number of new figures and reports suggest that large strides are being made in reducing poverty but European aid commitments have started to fall, while the World Food Programme has been cutting refugee rations in half, due to funding shortfalls. A new UN report examines innovative ways to increase development financing, while a UK think-tank asks whether aid agencies need to adapt or become obsolete.
African economies ...and children are growing. Under-5 mortality has dropped rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa over the last 20 years and several African countries are now among the fastest growing in the world.
The proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day is now less than half what it was in 1990, estimates the UN in a new report. Access to safe water has improved and the proportion of urban residents in developing countries living in slums has dropped. Primary school enrolment has increased in sub-Saharan Africa (to 76%) and, worldwide, there are now as many girls attending as boys.
However, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that there is no cause for complacency as we approach 2015 -- the target date for the UN Millennium Development Goals:
“Projections indicate that in 2015 more than 600 million people worldwide will still lack access to safe drinking water, almost one billion will be living on an income of less than $1.25 per day, mothers will continue to die needlessly in childbirth, and children will suffer and die from preventable diseases. Hunger remains a global challenge, and ensuring that all children are able to complete primary education remains a fundamental, but unfulfilled, target that has an impact on all the other goals. Lack of safe sanitation is hampering progress in health and nutrition … and greenhouse gas emissions continue to pose a major threat to people and ecosystems.”