Pakistan makes progress on Millennium Development Goals
Islamabad—Pakistan has shown consistent progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and is ramping up efforts to achieve targets set for Universal Primary Education and Net Primary Enrolment Ratio, says a report by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform (MPDR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The fifth National MDG report adds that a recent enrolment drive in the country is a concerted attempt by government to try to achieve these targets.
The report, launched in Islamabad by the MPDR and UNDP, assesses MDG achievements, and looks at what must be done to meet targets.
The MDGs are a set of 8 goals adopted by 189 countries, including Pakistan in 2000 and to be achieved by 2015. The MDGs provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions.
The report also provides a perspective on the post-2015 development agenda for Pakistan. For the first time, this MDGs report includes a review of what is being done at the sub-national and district level, and trends emerging in those regions.
UNDP Pakistan is also preparing an Internet MDG Monitor to more widely deliver up-to-date information on the country’s MDG progress.
Pakistan’s government has adopted 16 targets and 41 indicators against which progress is measured and reported. According to the report, the country is likely to attain ten of the indicators, while progress on several others indicates that additional and more focussed efforts are needed to meet targets.
Professor Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister of Planning, Development and Reform, Government of Pakistan, underlined the importance of the MDGs report, stating that it takes stock of national milestones and successful policies, programmes, and initiatives.
He added that it provides a robust fact base and repository of data to allow for the formulation of informed and evidence based policies across the country.
While the country is lagging on most MDG targets and faces a host of challenges impacting the pace of progress, Professor Iqbal said, the government is committed to work toward the achievement of MDGs, and investing in its people.
Ms. Marriyum Aurangzeb, Parliamentary Secretary for Interior and Narcotics Control and Convener of the Parliamentary Task Force on MDGs described the importance of credible, authentic, and comparable data, which plays a critical role in tracking, monitoring, and evaluating social sector reforms to inform policy making.
Mr. Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary General and the new UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific said that despite the setbacks Pakistan has encountered -- natural disasters, a deteriorating law and order situation and the global financial crisis – it has still made progress on some MDG indicators.
He said Pakistan can learn by sharing experiences with countries in South Asia who are further along in meeting their MDG targets.
He pointed to four lessons from other countries in South Asia on accelerating progress toward achieving the MDGs: 1) social policies are as important as economic policies; 2) investing in women and girls has multiple, strong benefits for all MDGs; 3) public sector expenditure on the social sector is important, especially spending on education, and 4) governance issues at the country level can be a major constraint.
He said, “In the post 18th Constitutional Amendment environment, it is important to create synergies and close linkages between national and sub-national policies and strategies. In view of its work and strong partnerships with Pakistan, UNDP will be happy to strengthen mechanisms for coordination and collaboration between institutions in the public and private sectors.”
He also commended the efforts of the MPDR in prioritising some of these issues in the Vision 2025 and the 11th Five Year Plan, and creating synergies between policies and strategies at the national and sub-national levels.