Need to strengthen Global Partnership

  Tracking MDG-8

Himanshu Shekhar

The eighth and last Millennium Development Goal (MDG-8) is to create a global partnership for development. Under this goal, it was decided in 2000 to address the special needs of the least developed countries, landlocked countries and small island developing states. A lot has been done in this direction since 2000 but a lot needs to be done to achieve the target by 2015. Even, UNDP’s MDG report, 2010 is not showing very encouraging picture of progress at this front. The main problem is that most of the developed countries are unable to fulfill their commitments of providing financial assistance to less developed and under developed nations.

According to MDG report, 2010, “In 2009, net disbursements of official development assistance (ODA) amounted to $119.6 billion, or 0.31 per cent of the combined national income of developed countries. In real terms, this is a slight increase (of 0.7 per cent) compared to 2008 even though, measured in current US dollars, ODA fell by over 2 per cent—from $122.3 billion in 2008.” In fact, this goal is of immense importance because the other seven goals are dependent on eighth one. Money is required to make any kind of progress to achieve each goal.

Almost every developed nation loves to speak a lot in any global conference to achieve. They love to say repeatedly that they are ready to fulfill their commitment of financial assistance. At the Gleneagles Group of Eight (G-8) Summit and the UN World Summit in 2005, donors committed to increase their aid. Many of these pledges were made in terms of a share of gross national income (GNI). Based on expectations of future GNI, these pledges, combined with other commitments, would have lifted total ODA from $80 billion in 2004 to $130 billion in 2010 (at constant 2004 prices). But, this is yet to be achieved.

Developed nations are attributing global slowdown of 2008-09 for not achieving this target. It is said that the economic slowdown has put pressure on government budgets in the developed countries. It is pertinent to mention that some large donors have reduced or postponed the pledges they made for 2010 in the name of recession. On the basis of current 2010 budget proposals, as well as the lower GNI forecasts, total ODA for 2010 is projected to be $108 billion (at 2004 prices).

The shortfall in aid is affecting many under developed areas. Africa is feeling the betrayal by developed countries, who did not fulfil their commitments. At the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, G-8 members projected that their commitments, combined with those of other donors, would double ODA to Africa by 2010. According to preliminary data, the bilateral ODA to Africa as a whole rose by 3 percent in real terms. For sub-Saharan Africa, bilateral aid increased by 5.1 per cent in real terms over 2008. It is estimated that Africa will receive only about $11 billion out of the $25 billion increase envisaged at Gleneagles.

It is worth mentioning that aid remains well below the United Nations target of 0.7 percent of gross national income for most donors. According to report, in 2009, the only countries to reach or exceed the target were Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. The largest donors by volume in 2009 were the United States, followed by France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan. But, these developed countries are far from the committed financial assistance, keeping the 0.7 percent of GNI in mind. A number of countries including Austria, Portugal, Greece and Italy are far behind the target set by UN.

If these countries persist with not fulfilling their commitments of financial assistance then it would be quite difficult to achieve MDG by 2015. Only five years are left and it seems that the world is yet to realize the importance of MDG. Achieving these goals will definitely make a big difference but the kind of commitment, which is required to make this dream come true is lacking. This is high time to strengthen the global partnership to achieve these goals by 2015.

This is the last article of a series on MDG.  You can also read previous posts here-

Time to come out of climate change politics

Crisis of HIV and Malaria

Maternal health: Crucial yet ignored

Child mortality reduction still a distant dream

Gender parity unlikely for India

Education is not for all

Poverty reduction remains sluggish

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