Time to come out of climate change politics

The seventh Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is to ensure environmental sustainability. Under MDG-7, it was targeted that the principles of sustainable development would be integrated into country policies and programmes to reverse the loss of environmental resources. But, UNDP’s MDG report, 2010 is telling a different story about the efforts of environmental sustainability. Global deforestation is slowing, but continues at a high rate in many countries. Over the last decade, about 13 million hectares of forest worldwide were converted to other uses or lost through natural causes each year.

Crisis of HIV and Malaria

The sixth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases by 2015. But, UNDP’s MDG report, 2010 is showing very slow pace of progress on the front of combating HIV/AIDS. The report cites, “new infections have peaked, the number of people living with the virus is still rising, largely due to the life-sustaining impact of antiretroviral therapy. An estimated 33.4 million people were living with HIV in 2008.”

Maternal health: Crucial yet ignored

In 2000, UNDP and a number of countries were ready to improve maternal health and reduce maternal mortality ratio by three quarters by 2015. This became Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number five. After ten year, even UNDP, the agency which launched MDG and which keeps track on it globally, has no clear data on the progress at this front. Its recent MDG report, 2010 cites, “Preliminary data show signs of progress, with some countries achieving significant declines in maternal mortality ratios. However, the rate of reduction is still well short of the 5.5 percent annual decline needed to meet the MDG target.”

Child mortality reduction still a distant dream

The fourth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is to reduce the mortality rate among children under five by two third, between 1990 and 2015. But, after keeping the pace of progress in mind, this goal looks quite difficult to be achieved in coming five years. Many countries still have unacceptable high levels of child mortality and have made little or no progress in recent years. Among the 67 countries with high child mortality rates (defined as 40 or more deaths per 1,000 live births), only 10 are on track to meet the MDG target on child survival.

Gender parity unlikely for India

The third Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is to promote gender equality and empower women by 2015. In 2000, at the time of announcement of MDG, UNDP set the target under this goal ‘to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary level education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015. But, after ten years this goal is unlikely to be achieved by 2015. Education is not the only front where the other half of the population is facing gender disparity. In fact, at each and every level women feel spurned and despised.

Education is not for all

The second Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is, “to ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling.” This was supposed to be done by 2015. But, MDG report, 2010, released by UNDP, tells a different story. The report says, “Enrolment in primary education has continued to rise, reaching 89 per cent in the developing world. But, the pace of progress is insufficient to ensure that, by 2015, all girls and boys complete a full course of primary schooling.” It seems much more true to the context of India.

Poverty reduction remains sluggish

The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) were set by United Nations (UN) and adopted by world leaders in the year 2000. These goals were to halve the proportion of poverty and hunger, to achieve universal primary education, to promote gender equality, to reduce child mortality, to improve maternal health, to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, to ensure environmental sustainability and to develop a global partnership for development. These goals were set to be achieved by 2015. There are just five years left and almost every country is finding it difficult to achieve the first goal.

Myth called Mega cities

There is a plan to build five new mega cities all along the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). These cities will be developed in Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra with the help of private players. It may be possible that these new cities will create some new jobs and attract huge investments and because of this these mega cities will contribute in the country’s GDP. But what about the basic amenities needed in a city? Not a single metro city of India can claim that they are not facing power crunch and water shortage.

Dilemma of the Dollar Dreams

A larger section of youths is of the view that they can’t get better opportunity here. So, they love to move to western countries. This phenomenon of ‘Brain Drain’ is taking place in almost every field. Engineers, Doctors and Management graduates are leading the chart. But, this approach of Indian Youth can’t be justified. In 1969 UNESCO defined brain drain as, ‘an abnormal form of scientific exchange between countries, characterised by a one- way flow in favour of the most highly developed countries’. Almost four decades later, the definition of brain drain has not changed at least in context of India.

Dilly-dallying over Anderson extradition

After too much dilly-dallying over the extradition of Warren Anderson, the former Union Carbide head accused of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak, the Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has given its nod for his repatriation. Now, this matter will go to the Cabinet. After getting cabinet’s green signal the External Affairs Ministry will initiate the process of extraditing Anderson. But, some social activists are still not satisfied with government’s go-slow strategy over the issue.